Sunday 21 April 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Former Parklea Delegate Looks Back On His Time Inside

Former Parklea Delegate Looks Back On His Time Inside

Brian Kirk had a huge impact on the gaol’s staff.

On Anzac Day 1983, a young Brian Kirk rocked up to the Long Bay Prison Complex to start training as a Prison Officer. Forty-one years later, he finished his final shift at Parklea Correctional Centre.

“There were 13 in my class,” he said. “As far as I know I was the only one still employed as a Prison Officer when I left the job.”

Mr Kirk had started as an Officer at Parklea in 1984, when it was a new prison under government ownership.

“I was only a young pup coming into the world of high-profile gangsters like seven-times murderer Archie McCafferty and armed robber Graham ‘Abo’ Henry,” he said.

He was also on shift when the five men found guilty of the brutal murder of Anita Cobby were brought in, as well as bikies from the Milperra Father’s Day massacre at what was then the Viking Tavern.

During his long career, Mr Kirk was also a proud Delegate, representing his colleagues in the challenging role dealing with the management of a private prison. He helped members transition between the private operators’ contracts and was front and centre during the 2023 dispute over pay and conditions.

The dispute saw Officers walk off for two 48-hour stoppages and a 72-hour walk-off.

“I have never been so proud of what we had accomplished, with the staff sacrificing not one but seven days’ pay for what they believed in,” he said. “They never took a step back.”

Mr Kirk is now employed in a Non- Custodial role with Corrective Services NSW, but looks back fondly at his time as a Prison Officer.

“I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute as a Prison Officer,” he said. “Spending more time here with my family in blue, having had more dinners here than with my own family shows the camaraderie we have with each other.”

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