AL­WAYS A LO­CAL

North East Living Magazine - - Contents -

Born in Wan­garatta and brought up in Chiltern, meet jour­nal­ist Bar­rie Cassidy.

Can you tell us about life as a kid in the North East?

I was born at Wan­garatta hos­pi­tal but brought up at Chiltern and I didn’t leave the North East un­til I moved from the Bor­der Mail in Al­bury to the Shep­par­ton News when I was 22. Didn’t go far. But even­tu­ally, I was of­fered a job by the af­ter­noon Mel­bourne Her­ald.

Can you tell us briefly what you do now and where you are?

For the past 17 and a half years I’ve been host­ing a pro­gram that I es­tab­lished my­self, In­sid­ers, a po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion pro­gram on ABC Sun­day morn­ings. It’s de­vel­oped to the point where it now has the largest day­time au­di­ence of any show on Aus­tralian TV.

What did you love about grow­ing up in the North East?

Grow­ing up as a kid in Chiltern was ideal. It seemed like the whole town was the play­ground. No­body had any fears about kids, even of pri­mary school age, just wan­der­ing about and en­joy­ing the place. The high­way went through Chiltern’s main street when I was young and that brought with it a cer­tain ex­cite­ment. You never knew what you would see in the main street.

Let us know some of your ca­reer high points?

I’ve had a full and var­ied ca­reer. In the main I’ve been a po­lit­i­cal re­porter, which was never the aim un­til it was sug­gested to me in my late 20s. I started at the Vic­to­rian par­lia­ment and even­tu­ally be­came se­nior po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent in Can­berra. I then went on to be Bob Hawke’s se­nior press sec­re­tary for four years, and I trav­elled with him to about 30 coun­tries. I’ve also worked over­seas in Brus­sels and Wash­ing­ton. And, as I men­tioned, I’ve hosted a few pro­grams over the years – like Meet The Press, The 7.30 Re­port, In­sid­ers and Off­siders.

What’s the first thing you do when you re­turn to the North East?

My par­ents have both passed on, so I don’t go back as reg­u­larly as I used to. But I still find all sorts of ex­cuses to go back, not just to Chiltern, but to other towns in the re­gion like Ruther­glen, Beech­worth and Yackan­dan­dah. To my mind they are the best ex­am­ples of the old gold min­ing towns that you’ll find any­where in Aus­tralia. The first thing that I do? Prob­a­bly check out the pub and see if I can still put names to faces. Once, I would have said go to the footy. But it’s been quite a while now since Chiltern have been a strong side. Hope­fully that’ll change soon enough.

After liv­ing away from the re­gion, what is it about the North East that has al­ways stayed with you?

The North East – and Wan­garatta in par­tic­u­lar – is why I bar­rack for Colling­wood. I, along with my younger brother Megsie, got lost in the main street when I was about four. A sports store owner found us and took care of us un­til my par­ents tracked us down. His name was Bob Rose. A leg­end then and a leg­end for­ever. That did it for me. Megsie stuck with Dad’s team, Mel­bourne.

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