Former Goulburn man receives OAM

A man who has had a profound influence on music in this city and Australia has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an OAM in the General Division.

RECOGNITION: Former Goulburn man Michael Barkl has been awarded an OAM in the General Division for "service to the performing arts and music education.” Photo supplied.

RECOGNITION: Former Goulburn man Michael Barkl has been awarded an OAM in the General Division for "service to the performing arts and music education.” Photo supplied.

The citation for former Goulburn resident, Michael Barkl’s OAM reads: “For service to the performing arts and music education.”

Mr Barkl was the Head Teacher at Goulburn TAFE (then called Argyle College of TAFE), from 1992-2002 and a teacher of music there from 1987-1991.

He was also the Chair of the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium from 1998-2003.

During that time, as a result of the unique courses on offer, there was an influx of music students into Goulburn. 

“This Medal represents a diversity of activity over a long period. However, the part I am most proud of is my involvement as a pioneer of contemporary music education in the TAFE sector,” Mr Barkl said.

“For so long, it seems to me, TAFE has been the Cinderella of the education system, never invited to the ball, yet probably every family in Australia knows someone whose life has been renewed and recharged by studying in the TAFE system.”

Mr Barkl recalled his time in Goulburn fondly.

“The TAFE had a really great presence here then. There were a lot of musicians in the town who had come here especially to study music in the city,” he said. 

“In the early days of that music course they used to stream in from all over Australia because it was such a unique program. Quite a lot of those people have gone on to really great musical things elsewhere and it is nice to know that they have Goulburn running in their veins as well.

“I had a wonderful time there. It was a lovely place to have a family. The freedom my children had there as distinct from a place like Sydney was fantastic.” 

He said receiving the honour came as a ‘bit of a shock.” 

“It came as a bit of a shock. When you get a letter like that, you check to see whether you have opened someone else’s mail by mistake,” he joked. 

Mr Barkl is now based at Wollongong, but also teaches in Melbourne. He has been the Head Teacher of Digital Media and Music, Illawarra, since 2003, as well as a Curriculum Writer, 1992-2006, a composer, performer and author and an adjudicator at a range of events.

He has also been a chief examiner of Contemporary Popular Music, and Percussion with the Australian Music Examinations Board (NSW), since 2017 and an adviser since 1997.

He has been an Academic Board member of the Australian International Conservatorium and member of the Australian Society of Musicology and Composition and a Councillor with them since 2000. He has played with the Steel City Strings, the Eros Big Band and the Wollongong Symphony Orchestra.

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