Centenarian publishes his memoir with the help of friends and family

A World War II veteran has released a memoir of his extraordinary life to coincide with his 100th birthday.

Tom Barry, a resident of Bolton Clarke Bicentennial in Mackay, Queensland, has published “A Prodigious Leap” – which he describes as “a story about me, from A-Z” – after 15 years of hard work writing, dictating, and editing his life story.

“I started writing my story on the computer, but I progressively lost my sight over a number of years. I had to keep increasing the size of my font, toward the end I was only fitting five or six words on a line and mixing up the letters.

“I called it a rough copy, and it was rough indeed because my wife Ann couldn’t even read it!” he said.

The book, written with the help of Ann, his late daughter Joanne, Bolton Clarke At Home Support staff, and close friends – as well as the Mackay Regional Arts Development Fund – tells the story of his childhood in Sunderland in the UK right through to the end of his service in World War II.

It will be launched as part of a 100th birthday celebration on Saturday 30 July.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.