A former Goulburn detective who was well known for his art will long be remembered by the many people who came to know him throughout his life.
Bernard Joseph Walsh, known as Bernie – and also known as ‘The Rev’ (short for ‘The Reverend’), a nickname given to him by his mates – passed away on December 21, 2018.
He was born on February 20, 1933, the first child of Jack and Minnie Ada Walsh. Several years later he was joined by his sister, Denise.
Most of his education was at Marist Brothers, North Sydney, where he excelled at sport, specifically football.
His first job was with David Jones. During this time he was following his passion for art, attending East Sydney Technical College part-time for five years.
In 1956, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the NSW Police Service.
This was start of a distinguished 30-year career.
In 1958 he transferred as a young constable from Sydney to Broken Hill.
He met and married Beverley Bush, a girl from Cammeray, in 1961, and she joined him in Broken Hill where their first daughter, Melissa, was born; two years later, Simone followed.
In 1966 he transferred to Goulburn, joining the scientific section where he would work 15 years. Daughter Jacqueline was born in 1970.
Sadness struck the family in 1975 when wife Bev passed away, leaving Bernie a single father with three girls aged under 13.
Ian Radford, a former police colleague who worked in the scientific section in Albury, remembered Bernie as a meticulous investigator and a very good artist.
“He was always thorough in his work, but also known for the quality of the artwork he produced,” Mr Radford said. “Though I worked in Albury, we often caught up with each other.”
Daughter Melissa agreed: “Dad had meticulous attention to detail and documentation of his work.
“A few years ago, a detective from the murder squad investigating unsolved cold crimes contacted Jacqui regarding a case Dad had investigated in the early ‘80s.
“She commented on the thoroughness and detailed notes Dad had carried out in the initial investigation of the disappearance and assumed murder of a nurse.
“This case was recently showcased on a TV program, Manhunt, where Dad was mentioned by name as the detective who retrieved the relevant evidence that, with new DNA technology available today, resulted in a murder conviction 30 years after the crime was committed, despite a body never being recovered.”
While in Goulburn, Bernie became an active member of the Lions Club of Goulburn City.
His art also flourished and he staged at least one solo exhibition. He was often featured in the Goulburn Evening Post under headlines such as ‘Cop his art’ or ‘Just cop this for a brush with the law!’
He won many awards, but was probably most proud of his submission into the Archibald Prize of rugby league football player, Paul Harragon.
Bernie loved sport and for many years was a rugby league referee in Goulburn.
After retiring from refereeing he joined the Hash House Harriers in Goulburn and later the Central Coast Harriers: social runners clubs mixing sport with regular social activities. He even went to a couple of international Hash events in Asia.
Bernie completed 19 City to Surf events. He also competed in at least one marathon, on the Gold Coast in 1980, and in 1982 carried the Queen’s message baton in the relay to the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.
After hanging up his running shoes, he morphed into a lycra-wearing cyclist, competing in several charity cycle events from Sydney to Wollongong and ventured far and wide around the country with his cycling mates.
His three daughters say they will always appreciate the job Bernie did, bringing them up as a single father. He juggled police work with domestic duties and made time for sport and art.
His last seven years were spent in the care of Orana Baptist Health, where illness finally overcame his zest for life.
Melissa said the staff had always treated their father with respect and dignity and she and her sisters appreciated, very much, this support.
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