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Biographical entry Barnes, John Handyside (Jack) (1922 - 1985)

2 April 1922
Charleville, Queensland, Australia
11 August 1985
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Medical practitioner, Soldier and Toxicologist


Medical practitioner Jack Barnes was named MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his research into the toxicity of box jellyfish in Queensland. He carried out this research in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1961 he collected the first specimen known to science of a fingernail-sized jellyfish that caused 'irukandji syndrome', which was named in his honour Carukia barnesi. He worked with other medical practitioners and life savers on the Queensland coast to promote awareness of jellyfish envenomation symptoms and also continued to work in private practice in Queensland from the 1950s to the 1980s.



1940 - 1946
Education - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, University of Queensland
1941 - 1943
Career event - Served in the Australian Imperial Force, East Timor
1947 - c. 1953
Career position - Medical superintendent of Thursday Island Hospital
Career event - Established Private Practice, Cairns, Queensland
Career event - Requested to research the Chironex fleckeri Southcott by the North Queensland Branch of the British Medical Association
Career event - Collected the unique specimen of the Carukia barnesi
Award - Appointed MBE - Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

Published resources

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Pearn, John and Fenner, Peter, 'The Jellyfish Hunter - Jack Barnes: a Pioneer Medical Toxinologist in Australia', Toxicon, 48 (2006), 762-767. Details


Rebecca Rigby