John Arthur Barry i(199 works by) (a.k.a. J. A. Barry; J. Arthur Barry)
Also writes as: L. L.
Born: Established: 1850 Torquay, Devon (County),
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 23 Sep 1911 North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1870
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Barry went to sea at age 13, and was in the merchant navy for twelve years. He subsequently worked on the Queensland goldfields as a drover, boundary rider and station manager. Barry's varied and colourful life experiences were often used in his writing. (Miller and Macartney)

Barry came to Australia in his twenties, but after failure on the diggings returned to the sea till 1879, when he went on the land and became manager of a mixed station. Encouraged by Ernest Favenc, he began contributing sketches and stories to Australian and English periodicals. After a year in London in 1890, he returned to Australia to practice journalism and died in Sydney.

His first story collection, Steve Brown's Bunyip and Other Stories, appeared in London in 1893, with introductory verses by Rudyard Kipling for the first of three editions, the last issued in Sydney in 1905 and illustrated by Lionel Lindsay. In 1896 he issued a collection of sea stories, In the Great Deep, later followed by Against the Tides of Fate (1899) and Sea Yarns (1919), among others. He also published novels, The Luck of the Native Born (1898) and A Son of the Sea (1899), though Colin Roderick considers he was more at home with the short story form, to which he gave 'dramatic power ... lightened by a gleam of humour that sometimes becomes the dominating characteristic.'

He was the nephew (on his mother's side) of Dinah Craik (born Dinah Maria Mulock), a Victorian novelist best known for John Halifax, Gentleman (1857), a foundational work of aspirational English middle-class life.

See notes below for information about plagiarism queries, archival holdings, and untraced works.


  • Plagiarism

    A newspaper report in 1905 suggested that a recent short story published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in Philadelphia and then copied into the Australian magazine Life was 'simply and purely a condensation, with slight alteration, of J. A. Barry's story, 'Books at Barraccabbo'. The same article noted that

    There is some excuse to be made for 'Lippincott's' publication of 'the same idea' used by another man. For the local republication, and approval, there can be but one excuse, which it might not be complimentary to mention, and may therefore be left understood.


    'Recent Publications', Evening News, 29 July 1905, p.9.

  • Archival Holdings

    According to Nan Bowman Albinski's Australian Literary Manuscripts in North American Libraries: A Guide (National Library Australia, 1997), numerous documents regarding Barry's work are held in the A.P. Watt and Son Collection at the University of North Carolina: mostly letters, with some publishing agreements. The letters largely involve Barry's publications in English and North American publications, and are mostly written by A.P. Watt.

    For the collection, see the University of North Carolina at (Sighted: 26/8/2015)

  • Untraced Works:

    In addition to the works individually listed on AustLit, John Arthur Barry has also been linked to the following, untraced works:

    • 'The Story of a Stowaway' (short story).
    • 'Mason Brothers' (short story').
    • 'How the Red Warder Kept His Watch' (short story): may be an alternative title for 'The Red Warder of the Reef'.
    • 'The Trader's Honeymoon' (short story).
    • 'The Castaways of the Augusta' (short story).
    • 'A Day in a Swagman's Life' (short story).
Last amended 28 Aug 2015 11:56:52
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