BARNES, John Thomas

Passed away peacefully in Mildura on November 2, 2020, aged 77 years.

Cherished husband of 52 years to Cheryl, loved father and father-in-law of Petrina and Damien; Tanya and Kim. Adored ‘Grandpa’ of Baden, Molly and Harry.

John was a loved son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend to many.

‘Lest we forget’

Funeral Notice

Due to the current restrictions a private service has been held.

A public telecast of John's memorial service is available to view via the link below:


  1. Uncle John, when I saw you last and we were discussing your health you said that there were too many more people left for you to torment. I guess that you have now fulfilled your quota.
    You can now rest peacefully. Even though our family was spread across this lovely country of ours we were always made welcome.
    My sincerest condolences to the girls, Aunty Cheryl, and my cousins Petrina and Tanya.
    Lots of love

    Liz Barnes November 6, 2020
  2. A Soldier Passed Today.

    The Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Association (Victoria) respectfully acknowledges the sad passing our member:

    WO2 John Thomas Barnes
    Vietnam. 14 May 1970 to 7 April 1971.

    To Cheryl, the family and extended family of John, please accept our sincere condolences.

    John is now Safe Behind the Wire.

    The AATTV byword in Vietnam used by the advisors was ‘Persevere.’

    Please let this be yours at this difficult time.

    Lest We Forget.

    Clarry Rule
    Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Association (Vic).

    Clarry Rule November 6, 2020
  3. You will surely be missed MATE. May your peace be everlasting. It has been a pleasure to meet you, as short a time as it has been. The calibre of our services is due to warriors like JOHN THOMAS BARNES. We salute you.

    DOC Anthony November 6, 2020
  4. Farewell John. You were a tireless worker for Veterans in and around your area. You will be missed by all who knew you. RIP

    David Keall November 6, 2020
  5. Well old mate it’s been a long time. 54 years ago we met at Puckapunyal chasing dots around a wall. How lucky we were, you an Infanteer and me a ” Bucket Head”. We were too good to leave, they kept us there to teach others to chase dots. We lost contact for many years but made up for it in Mildura. Golfing, watching State of Origin and of course pushing Baden around in a pram at the field days and getting bogged doing it. Sorry about that Baden.
    Rest in peace old mate and keep me in line up there.

    Stephen Bird November 6, 2020
  6. Cheryl, Petrina, Tanya and family.
    We are thinking of you at this time. Please accept our sincere condolences.

    Stephen, Nola, Jason & Justine November 6, 2020
  7. Sending condolences to Cheryl and Petrina and the biggest hugs to Tanya, Kim, Baden and Molly xx
    The Swains.

    Raelene Swain November 7, 2020
  8. Cheryl I am so sad to hear about the passing of John. I send my sincere condolences

    Barbara Gundry November 7, 2020
  9. In absentia, we pay our respects to John and offer sincere condolences to Cheryl, daughters Petrina, Tanya and families. John was most welcoming, entertaining and engaging in our family gatherings, both in Mildura and Geelong.

    David and Helen White November 7, 2020
  10. On behalf of all members of AATTV Association WA Branch we pass on our sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies to Cheryl, family and friends of John on this sad occasion of his passing. John was a stalwart member of the Vic Br of AATTV and he had a strong relationship with many a member of our Association. A fine soldier and warrior who served his country proudly. A great advocate for the rights of his fellow veterans and a tenacious fighter who would not let anything stand in his way. John will be sorely missed by us all. Rest easy old mate for your duty is now done.
    Rick Ryan, President.

    Rick Ryan November 7, 2020
  11. So sad to hear of your passing mate. I will miss those phone calls and the friendship we shared over all those years. Australia has lost one of its finest sons. A true warrior who served his country well. A tough and tenacious fighter when it came to veteran rights. A huge loss. Rest In Peace, mate.

    Rick Rya November 7, 2020
  12. Thank you for your service John.

    Your advice and guidance was always greatly appreciated over the years.

    My heartfelt condolences to Cheryl, Patrina & Tanya.

    Jane Cox November 7, 2020
  13. Sending my condolences and prayers to Cheryl and family.

    I got to know John when I worked at Karl Chehade then he was a customer at Nextra.

    Loved our little chats and he would always say I still havnt read the last Stamp Magazine that I got from you but I’ll take this one also and hopefully one day I’ll get to read it.

    Was very shocked and saddened when Cheryl told me that you weren’t well. May you rest in peace

    Carmel Cooper ( Nextra )

    Carmel Cooper November 7, 2020
  14. My heart is with you all on remembering John. The heart of a man who always showed us his kindness and his love. A true family man and a true friend to us all.
    I think of you all today as I remember all the good times had with our families together.
    John you were a great man and a great tributer to your country. All stories you would tell us and all the laughter we had will stay in my heart always.
    To Cheryl petrina Tanya and families I love you all and thinking of you always. Xoxoxoxoxo

    Nicole hardy November 7, 2020
  15. Thinking of you Cheryl at this sad time. RIP ‘Soldier’ John Barnes.

    Donald MacKellin November 7, 2020
  16. John Barnes. Your duty is done, you can stand down now.
    John will be remembered for his wealth of experience and knowledge and a valued member of the COM (Committee of Management) and Life Member within TPI Association Victoria Inc. notwithstanding, he was also a Director for Victoria TPI at the TPI Federation (National body) where he was focused on the betterment of services and assistance for all those who have served, War Widows and children/grandchildren. He demonstrated righteous indignation due to others. If it hadn’t been for his initial involvement and input, we, (TPI Vic) wouldn’t have turned the organisation around as it was heading for a disastrous end.
    John was a friend and mentor to me, and an inspiration to many.
    A dedicated warrior looking after his fellow TPI/EDA veterans, War Widows and their families.
    He steadfastly believed and held onto honesty, truth and integrity.
    A darn fine human being and soldier.
    Parallel to this, John was also a carer for his wife Cheryl, who has Parkinson’s disease.
    John will be remembered as a family man, an honest man and an honourable man. Not forgetting a loyal man who was still married to his only wife.
    Our deepest condolences to Cheryl, loved father and father-in-law of Petrina and Damien; Tanya and Kim. Adored ‘Grandpa’ of Baden, Molly and Harry. John was a loved son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend to many.
    Peter Holz
    State President TPI Victoria Inc.
    for TPI Victoria Committee and members.
    “Lest we Forget”

    Peter Holz November 8, 2020
  17. “A Soldier died today”

    John served in Vietnam with the Australian Army Training Team (AATTV) 14 May 70- 7 April 1971.
    John was awarded the US Bronze Star for Valour (with ‘V’ Device) and the US Commendation Medal for service as well as other unit citations awarded to AATTV.

    John also served with 3, 7, 9 Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, Armed Centre, HQ PNG, Army Reserve and Cadets.
    John saw Active service in Malaya, Malaysia, Borneo, South Vietnam as well as 2 tours of PNG.
    John had 20 years service in the Australian Regular Army and retired as a Warrant Officer Class 2 in 1981.
    After John’s Army service he was the School Marshall at Queens Anglican Grammar School Ballarat for 10 years.

    The service John has given to hundreds and hundreds of veterans and their families in Victoria and Queensland over the past 27 years has been nothing but outstanding.
    John was a delegate at all meetings of Qld TPI Association from 1994 to 2001, and President of Mildura TPI Social Club since 2002.
    John was a very valued and respected committee member of TPI Victoria, John knowledge and experience was called upon by all, he was always willing and prepared to share and help others, he was also a ex Director of the TPI Federation.of Australia.
    John was awarded Life membership of TPI Victoria on the 15th October 2020.

    John family and the Veteran Community have lost a great family man and a person who was always in there fighting for the rights and benefits of Veterans and their families.John Barnes was a great Australian who served his country on active service many times, John continued to serve his veteran mates and their families right to the end, a great Soldier and friend who will be sadly missed.

    Condolences to John wife Cheryl and daughters Trena, Tanya and extended families.

    Bill Williams
    for TPI Victoria Committee and Members.

    “Lest we Forget”

    Bill Williams November 8, 2020
  18. For more than 50 years John, you have been our dear friend. We remember the laughs and enjoyable days with you, your beautiful Cheryl and girls Petrina and Tanya, the story telling of our past Army experiences and the hopes that we had for the future.
    You had a heart of gold, always willing to help those who needed help or a spokesperson for their cause. We treasure our memories of you and will miss you dreadfully.

    Rest in Peace dear friend,
    With our love,
    Trudi & Terry

    Terry & Trudi Walters November 8, 2020
  19. Uncle John, May you now rest in forever peace. You and dad the oldest 2 brothers of 4, has now become one. You have said you and dad were both put on this earth to annoy as many as possible, well your job is now done. To my Aunty Cheryl and cousins Petrina and Tanya my most sincerest condolences. All the kids send their love and prayers for you all in this sad time. Uncle John you will be sadly missed and will be forever in our hearts.
    Lots of love

    Barb barnes November 8, 2020
  20. 15942 WO2 John Barnes AATTV
    A soldier and Adviser who Persevered!

    Cheryl, Petrina and Tanya and your families
    We haven’t met but I would like to add my deep sympathy and that of the whole of the AATTV Association nationally to those already posted here.

    In 2016 as I watched the bodies of all but one of our Team members, who had been buried overseas, being carried off the RAAF C 17s at Richmond, the lone piper leading the caskets played the lament “Going Home”. I later looked up the words of the lament and to this day I still find them comforting at times of great loss.

    “Going home, going home
    I’m just going home
    Quiet light, some still day
    I’m just going home

    It’s not far, just close by
    Through an open door
    Work all done, care laid by
    Going to fear no more

    Mother’s there expecting me
    Father’s waiting too
    Lots of folk gathered there
    All the friends I knew

    Nothing’s lost, all’s gain
    No more fret or pain
    No more stumbling on the way
    No more longing for the day
    All the friends I knew
    I’m just going home!”

    Perhaps these words can bring some comfort to you at this immensely sad time.

    Warmest regards
    Kerry Gallagher
    National President AATTV Association

    Kerry Gallagher November 8, 2020
  21. Such sad news, fond memories of hiding out with friends in Barnesy’s office at Ballarat Grammar School, always shared many funny stories to make our day. Thoughts and condolences to Cheryl and the Girls

    Anna Watson (Tunbridge)

    Anna Watson November 8, 2020
  22. Sad to hear of the passing of our dear Barnesy. Many a time spent in your office at BQAGS discussing everything. Love to Cheryl and the girls. He really was one of the best. Rest in peace Barnesy.

    Amanda Nunn November 8, 2020
  23. Thinking of the many fond memories of Barney’s as we took over his office during recess and lunchtimes. How lucky to have you as our Tutor Group Mentor.

    You encouraged us to be confident and follow our own individual paths.

    Thinking of Cheryl, Petrina, Tanya & your Family.

    Marion Bennett November 8, 2020
  24. So sad to hear of John’s passing.
    We met John and Cheryl after Mum & Dad moved to Mildura and we’re next door neighbours. Dad and John connected through their love of stamps and spent many hours together mulling over their collections.
    Always making us welcome we became part of the extended family.
    Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to Cheryl and her family at this difficult time.
    Linda, Les, Steven, Katie and Jarryd.

    Linda Groom November 9, 2020
  25. John you were a true gentleman, always thought of others before yourself. Condolences and love to Cheryl and family.
    Lest we forget
    Joan Potts

    Joan potts November 9, 2020
  26. Well done

    John Joseph Madden November 9, 2020
  27. Dear Cheryl; Petrina, Damien & Harry; Tanya, Kim, Baden & Molly,

    Thinking of you all at this time. May John Rest In Peace.

    Lots of Love,

    Shaun, Anna, Aston & Briony Kalms

    Shaun Kalms November 9, 2020
  28. Vale John Barnes. Sincere condolences to the family. A man who held his values for everyone to see. From President Michael & all members of the Wimmera TPI Social Club.

    Bronwyn Krause November 9, 2020
  29. Dear Cheryl, Petrina, Tanya and families, sending my love to you all. John was like a second father to us in our younger years. He would tell us off just as much as our own dad did, and he endearingly often called us “little shits”. He would often send me a sympathy card when his team Carlton beat Collingwood.
    Love to you all,
    Heather Morley (Brown)

    Heather Morley November 9, 2020
  30. DAD

    He was known by so many names, but to us he was just
    Dad. This is about what kind of Dad he was

    He was the benchmark or measuring stick for many things in my life – both good and bad and why I am the wife, mother and friend to others that I am today

    I thought he was a normal Dad but as I got older I found out that had shown me many life skills that were invaluable

    He taught me how to

    • Swear in the middle of words – like Rock-bloody-hamton
    • How to use a saw and hammer a nail, and if you were going to build something you go all out
    • How to change my own tyre and clean out a radiator
    • Fix the unfixable – like my washing machine
    • Change a washer on the taps
    • Back a trailer – the old guys at the tip tell me I’m amazing
    • Tie ropes to make hanging plant pots – gave me the ability to do 4 and 5 strand braids
    • Put up a bivvy so I didn’t get wet and that wine cask bladders make great travel pillows
    • Kick a football
    • That trees were there to be climbed
    • Throw a javelin like a spear
    • Play pool and hustle for drinks

    Mostly he was a soft touch who developed a nervous reaction to his wallet whenever I was around

    In recent years. Dad would have jobs around the house I could to do for him

    The last day I saw him I was able to tell him that the list was complete, Tanya and I had grown up alright, he had done a good job and he could rest now

    I know every day that I will be able to do/ fix and endure anything thrown in my life path because of Dad

    Dad always said “Follow me men, I’m right behind you” – I know that still is and will always be true.

    Petrina Barnes November 9, 2020
  31. With much respect and condolences to Cheryl, Petrina, Tanya and their families. I knew John and liked him very much when I and my brothers and sister were at Grammar in Ballarat. Good man and he will be missed.
    Warmest regards Damian Platts, Qld
    on behalf of the Platts family

    Damian Platts November 11, 2020
  32. John Barnes was a man who if you met you would never forget, and that was my experience dating back to 1976 when John & I met at 1RVR in Moonee Ponds as Cadre Staff to the Army Reserve. John was a man of great wisdom and a true professional soldier who I’m proud to call a mate. To Cheryl and family I trust you are coping well with John’s passing and convey our deepest sympathies to you all.

    “Lest We Forget”

    Kevin & Helen Harrison

    P.S. Thank you Cheryl for the personal call, Helen & I took the opportunity to watch the service, a fitting farewell to a fine Australian Soldier.

    Kevin Harrison November 13, 2020
  33. Great Ballarat neighbour from years gone by. We remember the New Year’s Eve parties at the Barnes.
    Love and sympathy to Cheryl, Petrina, Tanya and their families.
    Vesna, Warwick and family

    Warwick Remington November 18, 2020
  34. I am not sure if it was John that we worked with in Aug/Sep 1970 in Quan Tri Province, but I think it was. My call sign was Thunder 33 and my wingman Thunder 26. We were a pair of White Team Loach pilots heading home to Camp Evans from a mission around Quan Tri when we overheard a callout for help from an Arvn group in heavy contact near the DMZ. We called the team and got hold of a cool sounding Aussie advisor talking through all kinds of rifle and other explosions. ” Auy roger 33, we are in a little s–t down here and will take any help you can give.” Just cool, calm, one of the most courageous individuals we had ever talked to while in a surrounded mode by enemy. We had two mini-guns, 2- m-60’s and numerous frags and willie peets. The best we could do was lay down 4000 rounds of mini-gun, and 1500 rounds of 60 along with about 30 frags and some M-79 rounds. We got hold of several Cobra units we knew to ask for help, while we were working out. We had to leave when we expended all we had, including our personal weapons. Between our two aircraft, I think we took 15 hits, the most during all our time as scouts in RVN. We never got to know if we did any good or not and we never heard how his team made out. I have reached out over the years trying to find out anything about the man in the unit we worked with because he was the coolest dude/hero that we had ever worked with in a surrounded type enemy situation. If it was you John, all I can say is that if you will protect all your loved ones from above like what we saw in RVN, they have nothing to fear! You were a true hero in our minds. TV/DM

    Terrance M Vraniak December 24, 2021