John Tarr (1923-2017), family man who served his country and community, passes away

John Newman Surridge TARR, late of Scalabrini Village Griffith, passed away peacefully, aged 93, on Thursday 18 May 2017 at Griffith St Vincent’s Community Hospital, after suffering a short time with oesophageal cancer.

John Tarr was actually born in Sydney on 19 November 1923 however his parents, George and Enid Tarr, were farming one of the first irrigation blocks at Hanwood – Farm 129. In 1929 the family moved to a dry area wheat farm named “Marathon” north of Barellan. His sister Patricia (Tish) and he attended a one teacher school called “Appendoon”. Times were pretty tough then when the seasons were hot and dry but there were great social occasions of tennis parties with friends in the district.  It was during these tennis parties that he met his future wife, although he did didn’t realise it at the time. 

John’s high school years were spent at Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Glenfield, Sydney from 1937 to 1939. He did not enjoy being away from home but loved his weekends with relatives at Dee Why where he developed the love of body surfing.

In 1939 George Tarr sold “Marathon” and bought “Brendon”, Warburn, which was part of Ballingal Station. John finished his Intermediate Certificate and came home to work on the farm. When he turned 18 he applied to join the RAAF however while waiting for his medical he received a call up for the army. He was posted to Signal Hill Battery on South head then he was released to join the RAAF in October 1942. At 19 years of age he was sent to Canada for Wireless Air Gunner training. He was then posted to various places in the UK until the war ended in February 1945.

He returned to the family farm in Griffith and applied unsuccessfully for a Soldier Settlement Block. So, he went into partnership with Maurie Morel and the Woods brothers (John and Bob) in a property on the Neimur River. With flood, droughts and rabbit plagues, it was a real battle.

John married Audrey Thompson in Sydney in 1951. By 1959 John and Audrey had four children. They returned to Griffith to work the family farm eventually buying “Brendon”. Their fifth son was born in Griffith. John and Audrey remained on “Brendon” until they retired to live in town in 2007. John maintained his interest in birds throughout his life and contributed to the Bird Atlas of Australia. He also enjoyed many 4WD camping trips around Australia with Audrey and friends. John was a very active member of Legacy.

John Tarr is survived by his wife Audrey, five children, Virginia, Geoffrey, Suzanne, John and Michael and their spouses, 13 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. He is predeceased by his sister Patricia, 1965.

Obituary written by family 

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