Ron Barassi, former AFL player, father was killed while serving in Tobruk

Running time
1 min 30 sec
Date made
Place made

The 3-nine-39 radio and video series tells the untold stories of veterans, widows and family members from the Second World War.


And then as a result, Australia is also at war. 3-nine-39, the day the war became real for Australians.

Ray Martin:

I’m Ray Martin. September the 3rd, 1939 sees Australia enter the Second World War. Around a million people enlist, out of a population of just 7 million.

27 year old Melbourne footballer, Ronald James Barassi is one of them, but sadly he is killed at Tobruk. That’s the day the war becomes very real for his son, and AFL legend Ron Barassi, who is just five at the time.

Ron Barassi:

Well the thing that I remember the most is the news that my father had been killed. Unfortunately, he was the first VFL footballer killed in the war. My mother was crying, and I guess the fact that she was crying hurt me more than anything else. I think we should feel hurt, when to think people have been killed defending you, and that’s what this war was about. War is a shocking, tearful, awful waste of people’s efforts and lives. When they die, the shock comes to the mothers and fathers, and husbands and wives. I haven’t been this emotional like this for years.

Ray Martin:

Ron Barassi Senior was one in a million, as we remember the Second World War 80 years on.

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