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Callinan, Sir Bernard James (1913–1995)

Sir Bernard Callinan — prominent soldier, the driving force behind the construction of the new Parliament House, and a former Melbourne Cricket Club chairman — has died. He was 82.

Sir Bernard held a host of business, military, academic and church positions.

An engineer, he served in the Pacific in World War II, receiving the Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order and rising to be a lieutenant-colonel.

His service included command of the 2/2 Independent Company, a 300-man force which operated in Timor, diverting a Japanese division at a time when Australia feared invasion.

He recounted his war-time experiences in his book, Independent Company.

Born in Melbourne in 1913, and educated at St Kevin's College and Melbourne University, he was a consulting engineer for most of his working life.

Sir Bernard chaired the Parliament House Construction Authority from 1979 to 1985.

He also chaired the West Gate Bridge Authority in Melbourne.

He had a long involvement with the MCC and was chairman for five years from 1980.

Club secretary Dr John Lill described him yesterday as "a great Australian" who took the club through a turbulent time.

RSL Victorian branch secretary Brigadier John Deighton described Sir Bernard as "a magnificent fellow".

"He was a great soldier, a very good businessman and a much loved man by many. He was highly regarded by everyone who knew him," he said.

He was active in Catholic Church affairs throughout his life.

Knighted in 1977, Sir Bernard leaves a widow, Naomi, and five sons.

A requiem Mass will be held at St Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne, on Wednesday.

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'Callinan, Sir Bernard James (1913–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 6 December 2022.

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