Profile of Barry G Thompson

Profile of Barry G Thompson

Information supplied by Leigh Thompson

Barrymore Gilbert THOMPSON born in Bairnsdale 15 June 1926 and died 4 November 1982 in Traralgon.

Barry was a builder.  In the 1960’s he was recruited to teach woodwork at Traralgon Technical School.  It was soon discovered that he was a whiz at Mathematics and English so he taught these subjects as well.  His interest in Science led to him teaching this as well as Physical Education.  He also took sport and frequently took students on cross country runs towards Tyers where he ran with the students and had a swim.

Barry tutored mathematics to Martin and several of his classmates on a regular basis mostly in 1959 and 1960.  He and Martin taught together at the Technical School.  There they built the Gymnasium (a varied Supa Welds shed) and demolished, transported and re-erected surplus buildings donated by the Australian Paper Mill.

Barry competed socially as a runner and was only occasionally competitive when running with Keith Tomholts father (Alan), on the track at the Traralgon showground’s and in an occasional short road race.  Barry’s sports portfolio in chronological order was: boxing, football, table tennis, tennis, athletics, distance running, cycling.  He once ran about the first 20 miles of a marathon.

The founding member of the Traralgon Harriers, the late Barry Thompson was responsible for the inaugural and subsequent Traralgon Marathons from 1968 and over the next ten years or so.

Respected Harrier member Bruce Salisbury said, “The club was formed in 1967, and was affiliated with the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association the same year.”

As other clubs in Gippsland faded over the years, the Harriers became a regional club by default.  Members now live anywhere within a 50 kilometres radius of Traralgon, and beyond.

Bruce said, “The Thompson family was heavily involved in its formation, with Barry Thompson becoming the first secretary. “

 “Barry, his wife Daphne, daughter Dale and sons Martin and Leigh were central to the club over many years.”

 “The club ran all distances, from sprints to marathons, and was also involved in field games. The focus then shifted, with the club now being a distance running club,” he said.

From a base of little or no female participation in the early days, the Harriers now have an even mix of men and women runners, of all ages.  As an ex Harriers’ president Carol Summersgill explains, “We are a family club.”

Barry enjoyed nothing more than to encourage athletes of all levels to achieve their personal goals, particularly over the challenging marathon distance.  Barry would get out of his car and jog with anyone who he thought was flagging and with his many and varied pearls of wisdom would encourage them to continue.  Whether you ran 5 hours or 2 hours 10 mins, Barry would always applaud your performance and respect your resolve to achieve your best.  The Thompson family commissioned a local artist to create the BG Thompson memorial marathon trophy which is a highly sought after award.

Profile of Daphne Thompson

Information supplied by Leigh Thompson

Daphne May ALLEN born 23 October 1919 Bathurst NSW and died 8 April 1989 in Bairnsdale.

Daphne was a good runner at school (sprints) and also played some tennis and from 1950 onwards.  Her older brother had had a futile attempt at Emile Zatopek’s 5000 m record.  In the early 1960’s Barry was a volunteer gymnastics instructor for the Police Boys club while Daphne was closely involved with playing and organising table tennis.  Daphne started teaching at Traralgon High School (THS) in 1958 on the proviso that she could attend the Victorian Country Week Table Tennis Championships each year.  Every Friday, THS had electives activities over the last two 40 minute periods following the afternoon recess.  Daphne ended up initiating a table tennis activity which soon became the largest activity (nearly 200 students) with students heading down to the Showgrounds Table Tennis pavilion as soon as afternoon recess started and for those who could, staying on till well after school had finished.  She mainly taught Geography and History initially then later Science, Physical Education and English. She took Sport activities especially Athletics, Table Tennis, Tennis, Hockey and more.

Daphne was always keen on athletics and attended the 1956 Olympic Games as a spectator with Martin her son.

At Traralgon High School she screened the films of each Olympic Games thereafter enthusing many students.

Daphne started the TWAC Traralgon Women’s Athletic / alongside the Harriers Club and was the Secretary for some time of the Traralgon Harriers.

Daphne was always there for the regular Thursday night runs (no matter what the weather was like) to collect a fee from each of the runners (in the mid 1980’s the fee was $2).  This commitment created an accumulation of funds which gave the club a solid financial basis, providing funds to draw on to build our new clubrooms and still left enough funds for the club to be in a very sound financial positon.  Recognising Daphne Thompson in the Traralgon Harriers historical highlights is most appropriate as she was our first Life Member


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