Barry Charles Dalton: a larger than life figure on and off the footy field

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Barry Charles Dalton (BCD), far right, with his brothers Don and Paddy. They were a famous footballing family - Paddy a Sandover Medallist.
Camera IconBarry Charles Dalton (BCD), far right, with his brothers Don and Paddy. They were a famous footballing family - Paddy a Sandover Medallist. Credit: Supplied

In the 1960s, Australian Rules football in WA was very competitive.

It was long before the establishment of the AFL, and competitions in Victoria, South Australia and here in the west saw some very talented people pull on the boots.

And it wasn’t just in the metro areas, either.

Many good footballers would travel through the regions and spend a bit of time living in country towns and lining up with the locals on a weekend.

Many of the readers will be familiar with the great Maurie Drennan.

Drennan travelled initially from the east with the famous Haydn Bunton Jr

to take part in what was then the Western Australian National Football League (WAFL).

For some reason, he was lured up to Geraldton where he had a massive impact on the game in the Great Northern National Football League (now the GNFL).

These achievements include coaching a number of clubs, coaching the region to its first country championship title in 1969, and setting up the initial Shark Pack Program to develop juniors.

There was another talented footballer that came here during that time that has also left a remarkable legacy.

He came from a famous football family (his brother Paddy won a Sandover Medal), making a huge impression in the local competition in 1962.

At the age of 21, he steered the Brigades club to a premiership at the Recreation Ground, where many say he dominated the Francis Street wing like no one before or since.

His name was Barry Charles Dalton, and he is my uncle.

Uncle Barry with his daughter Lara on his birthday.
Camera IconUncle Barry with his daughter Lara on his birthday. Credit: Supplied

Recently, Uncle Barry celebrated his 80th birthday with close family and friends at his daughter Lara’s home, which is only a stone’s throw from the Recreation Ground.

It was a joyous, yet simple occasion for the man who became known as just BCD.

For a lot of people, BCD was much more than a footballer. His flamboyant attributes on the field were equalled by his bigger-than- life persona off it.

Barry was also noted for his singing, often serenading friends at the drop of a hat, wearing colourful suits to grab attention — accompanied always with a laugh and a killer smile.

“There is my hand, and there is my heart,” he would say whenever you parted company after a great chat.

And this was more often than not coupled with a verse from the great Vera Lynn song book: “Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye, cheerio, here I go, on my way...”

Although the many well-versed songs and sayings of BCD were pitched around at the birthday party, none were from the man himself.

Twelve years ago, we lost part of Barry when he had a massive stroke.

The biggest thing the stroke took from us was his voice, and it broke all our hearts

Today, BCD cannot talk or sing, but he still has something special inside, signified by something he will never lose — that special sparkle in his eye.

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