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Outback legends: John Barrett

As we all know, the history of our great game is important now and always will be in the future.

And at the small town of St George - located 500 kilometres west of Brisbane - one of the most accurate and amazing collection of memorabilia is currently being stored and marvelled by rugby league fans - young and old.

The collection housed at Rowden Park dates to the very first local St George team from 1911 with captain Stan McDonald, as well as the first representative team from the area in 1927, which played in Mitchell. 

The memorabilia shed contains literally thousands of pieces, from medallions to trophies, programs, scrap books, jerseys and photos ... even a vinyl LP recorded by former Australian representative player Father John Coote.

It covers history from local, district, divisional, Queensland and Australian rugby league and is thanks to proud St Georgian John 'JB' Barrett and his merry band of volunteers who proudly maintain this little-known gem.

"When I first got appointed to the committee after coming out to St George in 1967, I noticed there was no photos or memorabilia so I just started collecting stuff on my accord," proudly explained Barrett in a recent tour.

"This discussion gave me an excuse to get going and collect photos and once I started, other people said ...oh, I've got a photo at home and brought it to me to add to the collection."

"We now have over 400 team photos."

By 2001, Barrett's cupboards at home were overflowing with photos, stories and programs, and wife Kay suggested he may need to find another home for his collection.

Through local funding and with the help of many volunteers, a container shed was placed at Rowden Park and is known as the St George Rugby League Club Memorabilia Shed.

Barrett hasn't just been the local historian, he captained St George in his first year for the club as well as serving as the club's secretary. He later went on to become the chairman of South West Rugby League.

In 1994, he was appointed to the Queensland Rugby League Board until 2008 and was also a member of the Australian Rugby League Board from 2003 until 2007.

His most notable appointment was the Australian Kangaroos team manager in 2001's tour of Great Britain and 2002 home clash - in which he was gifted Andrew Johns' boots after captaining Australia to a 64-10 victory in Sydney.

Upon recent viewing and endorsement by QRL History Committee chair Steve Ricketts, further discussions are currently being held to preserve this amazing piece of history. 

Although in its infancy, there are a few ideas to make the amazing collection for public viewing in the future.

If given the chance to view, it will take you many hours to see the the items on display ... despite it only being half the memorabilia collected due to a shortage of space. 

It truly is the most amazing collection of rugby league history all thanks to the dedication of John 'JB' Barrett - a true outback legend.

*JB's story is part of the Outback legends series shared on, highlighting the enormous contributions made to keep the rugby league flame alive in the Queensland outback.