VALE - John Wareham OAM

VALE - John Wareham OAM
Type of post: News
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Ky McIntosh
Status: Current
Date Posted: Tue, 11 Jun 2024

Sadly, Barbershop Harmony Australia has lost one of its early pioneers, the delightful Mr John Wareham OAM.

John started singing at eight years of age, progressing from busking on The Corso at Manly, to singing at weddings. Following his early forays into singing and taking some lessons in Sydney years ago, John gave his vocal chords a rest before joining a barbershop chorus on the Central Coast in 1991.

“I’d seen an ad for the chorus and thought I’d give it a go, but I was pretty shy,” he said. “I remember I got halfway to the first meeting and turned around and went home." Six months later John, a natural leader, became the President of the Central Coast Barbershop Chorus (now known as Soundwaves).

Eventually, John was elected Vice President of the World Harmony Council, as well as holding a number of positions with the (then) Australian Association of Men Barbershop Singers (now BHA), of which he was a member from 1991- 2008, including serving as National President (2000-2001).

But it is chiefly for his services to aged welfare and the community through the ‘Touring Old Farts’ group that John was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2020. “I wondered what was going on when I heard about the award,” he said. “I really didn’t think I was worthy of something like that. I had lots of positions over the years but I’ve been mostly singing in the shower since then.”

In 2007, The Touring Old Farts group was born.

“Three of us guys used to meet every Tuesday while our wives were singing with Coastal A Capella and we really enjoyed each other’s company” he said. “We got to talking about what we could do for older men we knew who needed to get out and meet a few people. We wanted to do something to improve their quality of life and decided to kick off a men’s social group. On our first outing, there were only a few of us, and we took a train to Thirroul. We didn’t really know what we were doing so we had lunch at a pub and came home.”

Since then, Touring Old Farts grew to a membership of more than 300, with six branches throughout Sydney and one in Foster-Tuncurry. “Each group goes out once a month on a trip, museum visits, walks, factory visits, performances, and any TOFs member can go on any outing he likes."

Our thoughts go out to John’s wife Linda, their children and grandchildren, at this sad time.

May the road rise to meet you…


A service will be held to celebrate the life of JOHN SYDNEY WAREHAM at Greenway Chapel and Memorial Gardens, 460 Avoca Drive, Green Point, NSW on THURSDAY 20TH JUNE 2024 AT 2pm. Following the service, friends and family are invited to gather at Erina Leagues Club, 18 Ilya Ave, Erina

The service will be live streamed for those who'd like to watch from afar - details can be found at