Behind the Mic & Around the Square
2 great newsletters produced by Barry Wonson
Barry was first introduced to Square Dancing in 1967 by Bob & Shirley McInnes. At that time Barry was an Electrical
Apprentice at the Port Kembla Steelworks and Bob was his tradesman. Barry's first view of this activity was when he
was asked to take Bob & Shirley to a NSW SD Society Ball at Paddington. Barry spent the night listening to the great
callers and watching the dancers have so much fun, that he decided that he wanted to try this activity.
At that time there was no Square Dance Club in Wollongong, only Bob & Shirley dancing to tapes with a group of
friend at home and Corrimal Methodist Church. Barry jumped in and was hooked straight away, He even had his
first attempt at calling that same year at a special party night.
In 1968 Terry Dodd and Russ Eastment came down from Sydney and started a new club at Tarrawanna. Barry was
there from the first night. Later that year Ron Jones in Sydney ran a Callers Class.... naturally Barry was on board from the start. Barry called most weeks at Roy Etherington's Clempton Park Club in
Sydney…just a single Singing call, but the bug would not let go.
He started his first club The Star Twirlers in Wollongong the following year. This group transitioned into the
Whalin 8's. He also called in Sydney with Arthur Gates at his club in Sutherland.
In 1974 Barry started a new club in Sydney, in the southern suburb of Loftus. This new group was called the Red
Barons, and has been in operation ever since.
Of course Barry also loved to visit other groups, traveling to Victoria in 1973 for their State Convention. He met up with
many callers who have remained close friends ever since. National Conventions were a must, and in Adelaide he met
up with the Humphries clan from Melbourne. And of course not too long after married Sue Humphries. The Victorian
Callers Association at the time made him an honorary "Caller-In-Law"
Barry and Sue travelled to the USA in 1976 to attend the 25th National USA Convention in Anaheim, California. 40,000
dancers attended. At this Convention Barry and Sue met many callers who gave him the idea of travelling again to the USA just to call. Barry was invited to the USA to call a festival shortly afterwards, and made over 16 calling trips to the US. He called for many Clubs, Festivals and State Conventions during that time.
In 1990 he was asked to call in Germany and Sweden. This first trip was to be the first of 17 trips in 14 years to fulfill his calling dates all across Europe. He has called in England, Chanel Islands, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
New Zealand was always calling, and Barry was first engaged to call a Festival weekend there in 1984. He has lost
count of the number of times that he has called there.
In 2000 Barry decide to cut the overseas calling engagements in order to spend more time with his family. He is the
proud dad of Amerie (born in 1988) and Alessa (7 years later). He now also has an 8 year old grandson.
He still travels regularly in Australia and occasionally New Zealand for Festival Weekends.
Barry also published a widely read and respected Caller Note Service called FIGURING from 1977 until 1988. In 2016
he put pen to paper again and now publishes a monthly 40 page magazine for Callers titled "Behind The Mike". This is a free magazine, distributed via email to over 700 callers worldwide.
He has been actively involved in all aspects of Square Dancing over the years, not just as a caller and teacher, but in theadministrative side as well. He has been President of the NSW Callers Association, Education Officer for SARDANSW, Publicity Officer for SARDANSW, Program Manager at two National Conventions in NSW as well as 4 NSW State
Conventions. He is currently serving on the Board of the Australian Callers Federation (ACF) as Chairman, as well as
holding the positions of Registrar and State Coordinator.
In what little spare time he has, Barry is a keen Gamer….not the gambling type games, but solid Strategy Boardgames. He also served as President of the local University Guild Games Group for a number of years. He is still actively
involved in this group gaming every second Sunday, and at every other time when he can gather a group together.
All of the family are also very keen movie buffs. Barry has a large collection of over 6000 Blu Rays and DVDs. His love
of music is also still very strong as can be seen by his collection of over 6000 CDs.
Barry's life has always been a full one. In 1980 he went back to University as a mature age student and completed a
Bachelors Degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. He had previously studied at TAFE where he
completed his Engineering Certificate, which followed on after he had finished his apprenticeship as an Electrical
Barry now fills his time calling four nights a week, gaming, watching movies, reading (although nowadays only audio
books!!), writing, and spending quality time with his family.