The story of Barry Minhinnik

Barry 1

In my day job, I have the great pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life. I  meet politicians, homeless, actors, addicted, famous football players, bankers, lawyers, street dwellers, eccentrics, people living with a mental illness and many more. I share their heartwarming and heart wrenching moments and stories. I met Barry a few weeks ago and want to share his story here.

Barry Minhinick has been living in the Kings Cross area in Sydney for more than 30 years. You will recognise him as the man with the bike packed to the rafters with ‘recycled treasure. He finds treasure all over the city, from Waterloo to Kings Cross and gives it away to mostly young people who he feels we have let down. ‘As a baby boomer, I have a concern that we have given our young people nothing. They move in a cycle of debt, to work, to debt and miss out on the fruits of life we experienced. I want to provide hope to this generation. I give what I have unconditionally and expect nothing in return as a way of creating community – even if it is just an exchange of hello‘. During our chat, Barry gave me a nice looking watch. It was a man’s watch but he said it was something dear to his heart and I happened to be the person he picked this watch up for.

If you have been to Kings Cross, you have probably driven by the beautiful garden Barry built that is at the end of Bayswater Road with recycled material. The intricate design was inspired by his journeys around the street to find material that had been left. In its day, it was an icon of Kings Cross and sadly it has now been shut down by Council. He spent 20 years living in Hensley Hall, next to the garden. It was once a boarding house, among other things and was falling down around Barry’s ears. He has fond memories of bringing his daughter up there and would open the door to homeless people every now and again.

Barry has tried most things in his life. He was a builder, a busker, an avid reader and lover of books, studied nutrition and attributes his life’s values to growing up in a good, strong family. His mother was Maori and father Chinese. He was adopted by the Maori’s and lived on a reservation in New Zealand with 11 adopted brothers and sisters.

barry 2After 20 years of living in Hensley Hall, he was evicted. There are matters surrounding his eviction but he didn’t elaborate. He was then homeless. He camped in an office space in Kings Cross and took the time to look around, ‘I had unshackled everything and started to observe what was around me. I saw the homeless, addicted, people trying to make it and my general feeling was that everyone was individualistic and very unfriendly. I came to Wayside for a shower and have been coming ever since. I like the respite, the ambience. I admire the volunteers and time, energy and love they give out. I want to be in this element.’

So if you ever pass through Kings Cross and see Barry riding his bike around he is definitely worth having a conversation with. He is a very interesting, passionate man who is giving back to the world through sharing his treasures.

This was his response to my article;,

Dear Anna,

Thanking so much for the down to earth interview with me the other day and I wish you all well for the tremendous challenges that one has to endure to build a more positive world where joy and loving unconditional kindness ignites that flame within, where beauty abides in a oneness of being, that humbly whispers its wisdom to the soul where life’s journey forever echoes … beyond timelessness . B….

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