Bernard Callinan

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Sir Bernard Callinan
Bernard Callinan.jpg
Callinan as a lieutenant colonel in command of the 26th Battalion, Bougainville, 1945
Born 2 February 1913
Melbourne, Victoria
Died 20 July 1995
Melbourne, Victoria
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1940–46
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Commands held 2/2 Independent Company
26 Infantry Battalion
58/32 Infantry Battalion

Second World War

Awards Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Other work

Sir Bernard James Callinan AC, CBE, DSO, MC (2 February 1913 – 20 July 1995) was an Australian soldier, civil engineer, businessman, and sport administrator.

Early life[edit]

Born in Melbourne on 2 February 1913, after attending St Kevin's College Callinan completed a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of Melbourne. Upon graduating in 1935, he oversaw several water and sewage projects in rural areas working for a small firm owned by Gordon Gutteridge.[1]

Military service[edit]

Callinan was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Citizens Military Force in June 1940, being appointed into the Royal Australian Engineers.[2] In March 1941, he volunteered for overseas service and joined the Second Australian Imperial Force, taking up a posting as an instructor at the Demolitions Wing, at the 7th Infantry Training Centre. He was promoted to captain in July 1941, and subsequently posted as the second-in-command to the 2/2nd Independent Company, deploying with them to Timor as part of Sparrow Force in December 1941. He subsequently led the commandos during their campaign on the island and in July 1942 was temporarily promoted to major.[2]

Upon returning to Australia, his promotion to major was confirmed and he served on the headquarters of the First Army as a staff officer before taking up a posting as second-in-command of the 31st/51st Battalion at Merauke in November 1943. In early 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assumed command of the 26th Battalion, leading them through the Bougainville Campaign. In February 1946, he was discharged from the 2nd AIF,[3] but later returned to the Citizen Military Forces and commanded the 58/32 Infantry Battalion, commanding it from 1948 to 1951.[1] For his wartime service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross for outstanding leadership and gallantry.[3] He was also Mentioned in Despatches.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Callinan held many positions in the commercial field, including director of CSR Ltd, director of British Petroleum Company of Australia, chairman of the new Federal Parliament House Construction Authority, commissioner of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SEC), deputy chancellor of LaTrobe University and president of the Institute of Engineers Australia. From 1963 he served as Commissioner of the SEC Victoria.[4]

Sport administration[edit]

Callinan joined the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) committee in 1966 and served as president from 1980 to 1985. He fought to retain the Victorian Football League (VFL) grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and was a long-serving Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) Patron-in-Chief.[5]

Honours and awards[edit]

OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) Civil Division
Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor Entitlement to 'Sir' only, no post-nominals
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) Civil Division
Dso-ribbon.png Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Military cross BAR.svg Military Cross (MC)
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939–45 Star
Pacific Star.gif Pacific Star
War Medal 39-45 BAR MID.png War Medal 1939–1945 With palm for Mentioned in Despatches
Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 BAR.svg Australia Service Medal 1939–45

Later life[edit]

He died in 1995. His five children and his wife, Naomi, survived him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Lloyd, Brian (2008). Engineering in Australia: A Professional Ethos (PDF). Melbourne, Victoria: Histec. pp. 117–118. 
  2. ^ a b c "VX50081 (382001) Lieutenant Colonel Bernard James Callinan". People. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Callinan, Bernard James". World War II Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "McHale one of six inducted into Old Paradians Hall". Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "MCG Room Names". Retrieved 12 December 2014. 

External links[edit]