PROUD OLD BASTARD: Ballina's Henri Rennie has been elected to the national executive of the Australasian Order of Old Bastards.
PROUD OLD BASTARD: Ballina's Henri Rennie has been elected to the national executive of the Australasian Order of Old Bastards. Contributed

Call for Old Bastards to unite

BALLINA'S Henri Rennie is proud to be an old bastard.

Not only is he an old bastard, but he is one of the biggest old bastards in the country.

Henri has been elected to the national executive of the charity, Australasian Order of Old Bastards, and his first mission is to ignite interest in the charity in his own backyard.

"I first joined back in the 1970s after reading Sam Weller's book, Old Bastards I Have Met," he said.

Now, let's just take a step back.

The Australasian Order of Old Bastards was formed in Glebe in 1968 and has raised and donated more thjan $7.5 million to charity.

Yes, the charity has a funny name.

And that has its roots in World War II when visiting US servicemen stationed in Australia were surprised to learn that calling someone an "old bastard" was an Aussie term of endearment.

When they returned to the US, the servicemen formed the International Order of Old Bastards.

Australian man, Leo Bradshaw, during a visit to the US discovered this organisation, and came home to set up the Australasian order.

Henri said there was some opposition to allowing the charity to be registered, but it got through the bureaucratic web because of the charity work that had already been done.

Henri used his Old Bastard life membership to raise money for a medical research foundation after the death of his second wife, and also launched a Brisbane branch of the order in her name which carries on today.

He would like to see a Ballina branch hosted by one of the local pubs or clubs -- Henri knows there are card-carrying Old Bastards in the local region -- and the local bastards can support local charities.

"The great thing about the group is the way it combines good times with doing some good in the community," he said.

He said life membership was open to anyone over 18, regardless of gender or age.

And he notes the marital status of your parents doesn't matter.

There is one rule, however, which you might want to know: If an Old Bastard is caught out without their membership card or key ring by another member, then it their shout.

Henri wrote a follow-up book to the one that inspired him to join. It's titled These Old Bastards.

Anyone interested in getting involved with a Northern Rivers branch of the Old Bastards can contact Henri Rennie at renoir1902@gmail.com. See www.aoob.com.au.



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