Barnet Craig

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 25-9-1951

Date of death 21-10-2008

Please click here for photos of Craig Barnet.

Craig Barnet memories from his daughter Nicki

Craig Barnet was a loving father to Nicki and James and happily married to Maxine for 29 years.

Many consider him to be the best looking of the Barnet boys and by all accounts he was a bit of a catch back in the day! He loved Gawler and dedicated his life to making The Bunyip family newspaper a success until it was sold in 2003.

Craig had a passion for history and enjoyed a magical 50th birthday with close friends and family at Lochleven Castle in Scotland.

Together Maxine and Craig built their dream home in the middle of 14 acres on top of a hill at Evanston Heights above the Gawler Racecourse. It was a beautiful bluestone villa with a 500 metre driveway leading up to the house with views that stretched across Gawler and out to Adelaide. He used to walk down the driveway with his Jack russells to get the paper each morning, and wind down in the afternoons after work reading his books and listening to the 5aa sports show in the formal lounge as the afternoon sun streamed in.

Craig was a talented sportsman, businessman, wonderful company at a dinner party or bar, and a great dad and husband but sadly he battled “the black dog” for much of his adult life.

Nicki’s eulogy:

I found out the most horrifying news you could ever possibly hear when I was on the other side of the world. Reality didn’t really set in until I was clearing out the inbox of my phone at the London airport… and I started reading text messages from dad… LOVED YOUR REPORT, EVEN LIKED THE PORT GUERNSEY!... 9.9 OUT OF TEN…. EXCELLENT STORY..... If I heard from him after the news each night I knew I’d done a pretty good job at work that day.

It was then that I absolutely broke down and lost it. It hit me there would be no more text messages, no more advice on how to cope in the cut-throat world I was in, and no more unwavering support at whatever crazy idea I’d come up with that week.

The reason I wanted to become a journo in the first place is because of how proud I was of dad when I was growing up. There was nothing better than walking through the Bunyip knowing all the staff, and them knowing that I was Craig’s daughter. I loved running up the Bunyip stairs and looking at the funny photos behind dad’s desk. I loved looking through the book’s containing old copies of the Bunyip, I loved watching how fast dad typed, and I loved going into the Bunyip on weekends helping him develop photos the old fashioned way. There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a journalist like him, even if it wasn’t in newspapers.

Dad never pushed James or I into anything, I don’t think I’ve ever received a lecture about boys or alcohol or driving to fast… he’d just shudder at the thought of it all, and out of respect we’d try and do the right thing.

Although he never preached, dad chipped in with little bits of advice every now and then that looking back always ended up being spot on. He’d come up with thoughtful ways to help… even though at the time it didn’t seem like he was.

I’ll always remember the time he rang me out of the blue when I was at uni, and suggested that I start writing a column for the Bunyip about interesting old people that lived in Gawler. As you can imagine as a teenager it wasn’t the most enticing offer I’d ever had, infact I thought it sounded like a stuped idea, but I did it… and ended up with a great resume, and learnt a great deal about how to get good answers out of people.

There was never any praise or special treatment the times I did work at the Bunyip. I remember how furious I was when I turned up one day in short shorts that he didn’t think were appropriate. I was sent, begrudgingly, down the main street to buy a skirt…. Again, another annoying but important lesson.

James and I also have fond memories of heading to the football with dad when we were young. In between collecting empty cans and walking out to the quarter time huddles with dad, we’d drag anyone we could into the Gawler Central clubrooms to show them the picture of him on the wall. I was so proud… I didn’t know any one else who’s dad had their picture on the wall.

James says he used to gaze up at Dad’s A-grade best and fairest photo and dream that one-day he would achieve what dad had.

James and dad shared many similarities… When James was in high school, he was a lot smaller than the rest of the kids and was sometimes left out of football teams due to his size. Dad experienced the exact same treatment when he was growing up, and in James’s words, “was an unbelievable support” at the time, telling James to keep at it because his time would eventually come.

Once again dad’s advice proved spot on. Eventually James did catch up to the rest of the kids, and finished his high school years with a premiership for Gawler Centrals.

Another fond memory James has is when dad coached his Under 16 cricket team. Like me, he didn’t receive any special treatment, he just knew there was unconditional support. Of course, the team had an amazing year, winning the premiership… success seemed to follow dad wherever he went.

James also remembers a father/son footy trip when he was about 12 or 13. Everyone camped out in tents near a lake in Barmera…. That is everyone EXCEPT dad. In the morning when most people were grumbling about the uncomfortable night’s sleep they’d had, he emerged fresh and cleanly shaven from his hotel room across the road… Dad always did enjoy the finer things in life.

Even though I never played footy, it didn’t take long until I was beating dad on the tennis court. In the end he’d resort to pulling his shorts down and doing silly dances to try and put me off… once the laughter died down I’d still beat him.

He didn’t come to the tennis tournaments I played in because he just couldn’t bare to watch… it was to nerve racking for him sitting on the sidelines. He wouldn’t have been able to bare it if anyone happened to cheat or abuse his daughter… he was just too much of a big softy at heart.

I think this is part of the reason why life was sometimes a struggle for him… when you are a kind, and generous and sensitive person, you think more deeply about things. The cruel things that people do, the injustice in the world grates on you a little more, and it’s harder to shrug it off and forget about it.

When I asked Murray my boyfriend if there’s anything he’d like to add about dad, he said simply Craig was a second father. Dad introduced him to the “finer things in life”… red wine, olives, art and he was working on the history. He also went to more of Murray’s football matches than I’ve ever been to.

Dad’s quirky sense of humour was also unique.… I still laugh about the time he put on his most serious voice, and told a friend of mine who was sleeping over one Saturday night “Make sure you’re up bright and early for Church tomorrow morning…” the shocked look on her face was priceless… she just didn’t know dad well enough.

I loved it when dad dropped by and visited the house we are renovating in Adelaide. We’d always have something new to show him and he’d just stand back admiring whatever recent work Murray had done… the water feature, the chandeliers, the fireplace… He was so impressed…. perhaps it was because his handyman skills weren’t up the top of his list of talents.

Sadly I wont be able to tell dad about the trouble I found myself in after a visit to an Amsterdam coffee shop… I wont get the chance to tell him how much I loved Paris. He wont role his eyes when he finds out we didn’t visit all the castles in Scotland he loves so much.

Worst still he wont be there on my wedding day… whenever that may be.

But James and I love dad as much as ever, we’ll just have to be a little stronger now.

Eulogy - CRAIG BARNET - 25/9/1951 to 21/10/2008 by Robert Laidlaw

Craig led a simple life, but enjoyed introducing complications. He was a man who could be a mystery to some, but down deep he was a loyal friend to many, and a friend who I was proud to have.

One of my treasured memories of Craig was in 2005, when I was part of a selection panel for the Gawler football team of the century, and he was not only nominated by the Gawler Central representative, but given the nod on a half back flank by the committee.

Craig himself would shy away from being considered in even the top 50 footballers in Gawler, but one of the criteria for this team was for players to be selected by position, and at half back, Craig was the man.

On reflection, Craig's selection in this team is a good analogy of his life. While politicians, business leaders, doctors and various service providers gain renown for their contributions to the community, as a local journalist and walking history encyclopedia of Gawler, he was the best man for the job.

I remember the first time I met Craig. It was in 1993 when I approached him about writing an article about Central District Football Club's season. He encouraged it and asked if I could write a weekly report on the Bulldogs’ games the following season, which to this day I continue to do.

Over the years he would encourage, challenge and nurture me as a sports writer, and on reflection was probably the biggest influence in my development as a journalist. He was a mentor to not only me but others, and the funny thing is you don't really realise it, as in that regard, he was a quiet achiever.

Craig loved Gawler, he loved sport and he loved The Bunyip. After the Barnet family sold the paper in 2003, he remained a vital link between the community and The Bunyip through his Cit column.

Many people did not know who wrote Cit, which was the way Craig liked it. That mystique reflected a lot about his personality, as did the genuine concern for the town and its people he intertwined in the text on the back page. He was a huge supporter of the underdog, while also happy to knock a few tall poppies down to size.

Who here would squirm at some of Cit's ramblings, thinking 'I hope he is not talking about me or so and so?' And who had a chuckle, a tear in the eye or had the hackles raised on the back of their neck after reading something Cit had written?

I know there were some things he wrote that I agreed 100 per cent with, and then there were the things from left field, you know what I mean, those things which to this day I cannot understand how they managed to find the light of day in his column. Yes, Craig was a stirrer.

You knew Craig had affection for you when he bestowed a nickname on you, although most of the time they weren't the type to share with other people.

His for me was ‘Chopper’. Not after Robert 'Chopper' Handley, the former Bulldog player, but Mark 'Chopper' Read, the criminal with short back and sides, and oops, too much ear taken off. You can bet I never quite cut my hair that short again.

I think the day we became even closer was when it was discovered his great, great grandfather, William Barnet (the first), arrived on the boat the Omega in 1852, and on the same voyage the Shearer family, which included David and John – famed faming implement makers, with another brother, William, who is my great, great grandfather on mum's side of the family.

Every week when Craig came into write his column at The Bunyip, I always received a visit, and if I did not have at least a 15-minute conversation about footy with him, the day could be considered wasted. He gave me more tips on stories than I care to remember. He truly had his finger on the pulse of Gawler sport.

There are other speakers who have, and will, cover many of the other aspects of Craig's life, which also affected and influenced me, and I have been heartened by the attendance here today, which honours a great friend of Gawler's, who can now be remembered fondly with several other important local newspaper men of days gone by, like Doctor Nott, George Loyau, E.H. Coombe, and his own flesh and blood, William Barnet, who founded The Bunyip in 1863.

A throwback to former days in the town, Craig upheld the true beliefs and spirit of the Gawler Humbug Society, which instigated the very first edition of The Bunyip.

To Maxine, Nicki and James, To John, Anthony, Paul and their families, And Mrs. Barnet. Condolences

Goodbye my dear friend Craig, the memories you have filled us with will last a lifetime.

Memories of Barnet Craig

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