History of John Barry, Founder of John Barry Sales

A historical look at John Barry: the man, his background, his achievements and the building of a great Australian company. 

Not to be confused with the film score composer of the same name, John Barry was Born Melbourne, Australia 1927. After completing his education in Melbourne, studied photography and cinematography at the Melbourne Institute of Technology.

  • 1944-45 joined the Dutch Government Film Unit (NIGIS), Melbourne.

  • 1946 Cameraman Charles E. Blanks Theater Advertising, Sydney- Westralian Newsreel - freelance.

    He was very active with gliding, Victoria Motorless Flight group, converting to power light aircraft when he was a member of the Kingsford Smith Aero Club, Bankstown, Sydney.

  • 1949 London and Europe worked in various areas including film production, travel courier and started small car hire company which later became part of the Car Hire Group Ltd., London.
    Appointed a Justice of the Peace for New South Wales in 1954.
    With advent of the Olympic Games Melbourne and commencement of television in Australia in 1956 he joined Swift and Bleakley Pty.Ltd., Photographic Importers, Sydney, as Manager of a new Motion Picture Division, and was involved in the initial setting up of all television stations in Australia with the sale/installation of film and related equipment.

  • 1965 he was appointed Customer Liasion Manager, Supreme Laboratories, Sydney.

  • 1967 established Birns and Sawyer Aust. Pty.Ltd., in partnership with the Directors of Birns & Sawyer Inc. Hollywood. Birns & Sawyer Aust. Pty.Ltd. was the first film equipment rental company in Australia. B&S Aust. P/L. also had Sales and Service Divisions. In 1973 purchased all shares in Birns & Sawyer Australia. In 1978 the name of the company was changed to John Barry Cine Group Pty.Ltd., and later in 1982 was in turn changed to John Barry Group Pty.Ltd. with its head office in Sydney and branches in Melbourne, Perth and Manila, Philippines. He later established branches in Brisbane and Adelaide. The Company's main area of operation covered sales, rental and service of motion picture, television, electronic and ancillary equipment. It also manufactured, in house, custom-made aluminium and plastic fitted instrument and equipment cases under the title of Stronghold Equipment Containers. And a range of accessories, power supplies, etc.
  • 1969 Rotary Club of St.Leonards, Sydney (Foundation member).

    Honorary member of the Rotary Club Westminster West, London, England.

    The American National Club.

    Appointed in 1991 a Chevalier of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (Burgandy, France).

  • 1975 qualified as a member of the Australian Society of Cinema Pioneers.
    Joined the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers (SMPTE) in 1975 and, among other activities, served as Chairman of the Australian Section 1980/81. In 1981 he was invited by the then incumbent President of SMPTE, Charles E. Anderson, to join the Board and was appointed the first Governor-at-Large for the Australian and South Pacific Basin areas.

    During this period on the Board he applied, on behalf of the Australian Section, for approval to stage a local SMPTE exhibition. Approval was given and the fIrst Australian SMPTE Exhibition, Sound and Vision '84, was held in Sydney in June 1984.

  • 1979 established a sales company, Kern Barry Malaysia Pte. Ltd., Kuala Lumpur.

  • 1980 Barry Cine Sales N .Z. Ltd. was founded in New Zealand in partnership with Film Facilities Ltd., with branches in Wellington and Auckland.
  • 1981 established Barry & Warta Trading Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. This company covered film and television equipment sales in most of South East Asia.

  • 1981 joined The British Kinematograph, Sound and Television Society (BKSTS)

  • 1985 sold John Barry Group Pty .Ltd. to Samuelson Group UK (now owned by Panavision Inc. Los Angeles). He also sold his interests in Barry & Warta Pte. Singapore to the Horst Warta.

  • 1988 appointed an Honorary Member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS).

  • 1990/1998 appointed to the Management Committee of I.B.C. (International Broadcasting Convention) London/ Amsterdam as SMPTE Representative.

  • 1990 was made a Fellow of the BKSTS.

  • 1991 was made a Fellow of SMPTE. He received 2 awards from the Society, Outstanding Service Citation in 1986 and the Presidential Proclamation 1988. In 1990 was reappointed to the Board as International Governor, 1994 Director of International Sections.

  • 1995 was made a Life Fellow of SMPTE.

    Residing mainly in London and Switzerland, John now travels extensively throughout the major film and television capitals of the world, attending exhibitions and conferences keeping abreast with the ever changing technology in the business and renewing old acquaintances. He and his wife, Judy, return to their home to Australia, at regular intervals.