House debates

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Statements by Members

Hines, Private John 'Barney'

1:30 pm

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

On Thursday, 19 September, the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Marie Bashir, delivered a special address dedicated to someone who was at risk of being forgotten, World War I digger Private John 'Barney' Hines. It was an honour to be present at the dedication held at Sydney's Rookwood Cemetery because Private Hines's colourful story had a strong connection to our local suburb, Mount Druitt.

Barney Hines was famous among his mates in the 45th Infantry Battalion for his quirks, larrikinism and constant mischief. He picked up a few nicknames during his travels, including 'wild eyes' and the 'souvenir king', derived from his penchant for collecting memorabilia from German soldiers captured in battle on the Western Front. Barney was immortalised in a Frank Hurley photo, sitting atop a pile of wartime loot gathered on the battlefield. This photo is considered one of the most famous pictures to come back from the Great War.

Besides nicknames, Barney developed a reputation of bravery and risking his life to save the lives of those wounded and stranded on the battlefield. Western Sydney became his home, and he saw out his days in an almost hermit existence in a calico humpy on the outskirts of Mount Druitt. His days ended as a pauper in 1958, at the age of 80, and he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave at Rookwood Cemetery.

Fortunately, his fellow servicemen wanted to right this wrong and they ensured that Private Hines's new resting place was properly dedicated. As much as Barney is now remembered in Rookwood, it is also important that here at parliament today we remember his sacrifices. Rest in peace, Barney.