Thirroul Boy rescues Russian Defector and awarded MBE

Under construction


“Kerrie Note : Mum (Joan Lois Adams nee Callcott) always said she had a Tiernan-Callcott cousin up in Fanny Bay – she mentioned that he was up there in Darwin at the time of Cyclone Tracey on 24.12.1974.  John Barrie Tiernan was the eldest of Mum’s cousins on the Callcott-Tiernan-Farraher side. So he was the first one of the Tiernan’s I decided to look at when I had started doing the Callcott family history. Mum had him listed as John Barrie Tiernan – however I found it a little difficult to find information on him. It seems he went by Barrie Tiernan instead of John Tiernan, and sometimes it was spelled as Barry Tiernan. Bingo – and then I found out that Barrie Tiernan had been awarded an MBE in  1968 & was centrally involved in assisting Eva Petrova at Darwin Airport on April 19 1954, after her husband had defected.”

So who was John Barrie Tiernan aka Barrie Tiernan, and how did he fit into the Callcott family ?

Barrie’s mother, Marjorie Lou Callcott, was the eldest of the three children of Alf Callcott, and wife Lucy Midson. Marjorie was born on 4-10-1895 in Strathfield/Canterbury, before the family had moved to Thirroul in 1915, after her father Alf had retired from the NSW Railways. Lucy came from a very Protestant family, where her father was a Methodist Preacher in the Ryde area. Her home must have been quite political as well – her father and uncle were aldermen on the old Dundas Council. Later, her brother would become an alderman on Windsor Council.

Marjorie married John Tiernan, married in 1920 in either Bulli or Corrimal – John had been born on 20-01-1871 in Braidwood. Eldest son, John “Barrie” Tiernan, was born in Thirroul on 04-09-1921. He would live for 90 years, passing away on 4.8.2004. There would be two more boys in the family, Kevin Francis (born 1923 in Thirroul) , and David Geoffrey Tiernan (born 1933 in Thirroul), and later known as Geoffrey David O’Connor. Barrie’s mother Marjorie Tiernan appears to have lived there until at least 1968, before her passing in 1973. Father, John Tiernan, had died earlier in Glen Innes in 1952. Marjorie‘s sister Clarice Farraher would have two girls, Marie Winifred and Dorothy Clare Farraher. Russ Callcott, the younger brother of Marjorie and Clarice, would have five children, Ian McKenzie, Joan Lois, Enid Josephine, John Alfred and Joy. Presumably Barrie Tiernan, like his brothers and all his cousins, would have attended Thirroul Public School, probably in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

Barrie had enlisted in the RAAF and was a Sergeant by the time of first marriage, to Beryl Joyce McLeod in 1944, at Frankston Methodist Church. It would appear from Northern Territory records, that he was actually in the RAAF  Police, based Daly Waters, Batchelor, Darwin) –

    1. Life Member of Queensland Police Union.- refer     refer p73. To verify

Was Detective Sergeant of Fannie Bay NT and awarded MBE in 1968

Was part of the squad that trained police in NT in 1958 –

Helped rescue Eva Petrova in the Petrov Affair at Darwin in 1954

Petrov Affair at Darwin Airport (oral history interview held at State Library NSW)-

CPA Malaysians – defection controversy – they surrendered to him

He married (1) Beryl Joyce McLeod, married 28.10.1944 in Frankston Methodist, b. 18-05-1920 in Ariah Park.

He married (2) Margaret Rogers, married in St Andrews Uniting, Brisbane, b. 12-05-1931 in Buranda, QLD.  Margaret: nee Gayford-Pipe.

(A) Robyn Margaret Tiernan, (daughter of John Barrie Tiernan and Beryl Joyce McLeod) b. 17-10-1953 in Melbourne.  Adopted.

(B) John Michael Tiernan, (son of John Barrie Tiernan and Beryl Joyce McLeod) b. 17-10-1955 in Melbourne.  Adopted.

He married (1) Elizabeth Ann Nugent, b. 18-08-1953 in Albury.

He married (2) Jeanette Anne Fuller, married in Peewee Camp, East Point, Darwin, NT, b. 07-04-1964 in Boxcombe, Eng.

(1)  Benjamin John Tiernan, (son of John Michael Tiernan and Elizabeth Ann Nugent) b. 17-031976 in Boxhill, VIC.

(2)  Lisa Louise Tiernan, (daughter of John Michael Tiernan and Jeanette Anne Fuller) b. 21-02-1989 in Darwin.

(3)  Caitlin Rose Tiernan, (daughter of John Michael Tiernan and Jeanette Anne Fuller) b. 02-02-1994 in Darwin. Constable Tiernan 1951


About Kerrie Anne Christian

Interests - Travel, Photography, Developing Websites, Social Media, Writing, Local History, Researcher, Genealogy
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One Response to Thirroul Boy rescues Russian Defector and awarded MBE

  1. C Rogers says:

    In regards to John Barrie Tiernan’s date of death it is incorrect, the date and moth are right but he actually passed away in 2004 not 2011. I know this as I am one of his step-granddaughters. Just thought I would pass along the correction.

    Best regards,
    C Rogers

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