BARRY, John Arthur (1850-1911)


BARRY, John Arthur (1850-1911)
journalist and storywriter
was born at Torquay, Devonshire, England, in 1850. His parents died when he was a child, and going to sea at 13 he was in the merchant service for 12 years. Leaving with a first mate's certificate he came to Australia in the 1870s, and after working on Queensland, spent some years as a drover, boundary rider and station manager. He began writing for the press and contributed stories to the Australasian, Sydney Mail, Queenslander, the Town and Country Journal, the Pall Mall Gazette, and others. In 1893 he spent a holiday in England and published a collection of his stories, Steve Brown's Bunyip and other Stories. He had become acquainted with Rudyard Kipling who wrote an introductory poem for the volume. Barry returned to Australia and about 1896 joined the staff of the Sydney Evening News, and in the same year another collection of his stories was published, In the Great Deep: Tales of the Sea. This was followed by two novels, The Luck of the Native Born (1898), and A Son of the Sea (1899). Three collections of short stories followed, Against the Tides of Fate (1899), Red Lion and Blue Star (1902), and Sea Yarns (1910). South Sea Shipmates, a sea story, was published posthumously in 1914. Barry died at Sydney on 23 September 1911. He was a man of lovable character who had had an adventurous life, and much of his work is based on his own experiences. His novels are readable, if somewhat conventional, and his short stories, some of which appeared in leading popular magazines in England, are usually thoroughly competent pieces of direct writing.
The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 25 September 1911; Biographical Preface to South Sea Shipmates; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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