Where are they now – Nathan Barnes (SPC 2002-07)

December 2, 2020

The College recently reconnected with Nathan Barnes (SPC 2002-07) who credits SPC for some of his most memorable moments and treasures the time he spent at St Patrick’s College. After forging a career as an electrician, continuing his love of footy beyond school and now as a family man, Nathan hopes his baby son Patrick will become a “Paddy boy” in name and spirit in the future.


Nathan Barnes with his wife Sarah and baby son Patrick.

Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

Once I completed Year 12 in 2007, I deferred university for 12 months after being accepted into a Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University in Geelong. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I began a sports traineeship at SPC and gradually found that wasn’t the path I was wanting to go. Being a tradesman was always high on my radar and after a week’s work experience with a commercial refrigeration and air conditioning company in Ballarat, I was offered a refrigeration apprenticeship. Qualifying in 2012, I endeavoured to become an electrician, starting a mature aged apprenticeship at the end of 2012 at Laser Electrical, Ballarat.

Still currently employed at Laser Electrical (now known as O’Brien Electrical), I have been able to combine both my trades in a diverse and versatile role.

On a personal note, I met my now wife Sarah in 2013. Since then we have bought an acre in Haddon and built our first home, were married in 2018, and travelled to Europe, Fiji and the Maldives as well as a number of smaller trips within Australia. We were lucky enough to welcome our first son, Patrick in January 2020.

Nathan Barnes playing football for Lexton in the Maryborough Castlemaine Football Netball League.

Being from SPC, football has always been a big part of my life. Since graduating in 2007, I’ve played at North Ballarat City, Ultima, Lexton and Barellan (Riverina, NSW). While facing a number of injuries over the years, I still manage to pull the boots on when I can (as long as it’s in the midday show and I’m not having to play in the middle).


How is the coronavirus presently affecting your work and industry?

Unfortunately the construction industry has been affected by this pandemic, however, thankfully, it has not affected my position. Work slowed up mid-year, as there is always a quiet period and interstate border restrictions dampened opportunities for project work in NSW, SA and QLD. The ongoing maintenance and installation in the renewable energy industry such as wind turbine generation and solar, definitely assisted getting workers through this tough time. Fortunately for the Ballarat and surrounding regions, there are still a lot of small and large projects continuing to provide jobs.


Do you have family ties with SPC?

My two brothers also went to SPC, Matthew Barnes (SPC 1989-94) and Andrew Barnes (SPC 1999-2004).


What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

Attending St Patrick’s College has provided me with some of the most memorable experiences in my life. The fondest memory of my time as St Pat’s was definitely being part of the 2005 Herald Sun Shield Premiership winning team against PEGS at the MCG. I still have the jumper framed and on the wall.

Nathan Barnes in the 2005 1st XVIII Football Herald Sun Shield Premiership Team. Nathan still has his footy jumper framed and hanging on the wall at home.


Some other significant memories include:

In general, being part of the Football and Athletics programs from Year 7 right through to the end of Year 12 and having the opportunity to vice-captain the 1st XVIII Football Team and captain the Athletics team in my final year.

Nathan Barnes was vice captain of the 1st XVIII Football Team in 2007.

Another proud moment for Nathan Barnes was captaining the SPC Athletics Team in his graduating year in 2007.

Having the opportunity to travel and represent SPC in Ireland in 2007 and play Gaelic football.

Meeting famous Old Boy Steve Moneghetti and being awarded The Steve Moneghetti Award for Athlete of the Carnival.

Nathan Barnes broke a number of records during his time at SPC.

Breaking a couple of school athletics records but they’ve probably been broken by now. Think they were the 100m, 200m and long jump. SPC College note: Nathan’s 2007 long jump has since been broken, as has his 100m record of 11.62 seconds, but his 200m record of 22.97 seconds in 2007 remains the fastest time recorded in College history to date.


Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

It is difficult to single out just one teacher that’s impacted me. I think being part of the rich sporting history of SPC means Jeremy House, Damian Kinnersly and Howard Clark had the greatest impact on me, and all played an important role in my development as a young man. They were all very approachable, willing to listen and help guide me and help me achieve all that I strived for. I had a lot of respect for these men then, and still do.


How has your education shaped your professional life?

I think a key value I’ve learnt of being a student of SPC is confidence in public speaking. From a young age whether it is having to stand up in front of your class and give a speech, speak in front of your team mates before a game or speak to the entire school at assembly, as much as some people hate it, I really believe this exposure increased my confidence and ultimately improved the way I conduct myself in my professional career. I believe it is important to speak up, be honest and show integrity in everything you do.

Nathan Barnes was a member of the 2017 Student Council.


How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

Family is very important to me. There are many values that were instilled in me at St Patrick’s College that I have carried on into my personal life. Loyalty, honesty, work ethic and integrity are all values I hold very highly in all aspects of my life. Now having a son of our own, it is vital we teach him the values we were taught by our parents, but were reinforced from my time spent at SPC. Hopefully Paddy can be a “Paddy Boy” in the future.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be? 

You need to take every opportunity you are presented with. If at first you don’t succeed, work harder to achieve your goals. Whether it be academic or sporting, perseverance will pay off eventually you will succeed! Don’t let your own self doubt be the thing standing between you and your dreams.