William Jackson Barry
arrived in Sydney, from England, in 1828, possibly as a juvenile
convict, and embarked on a lifetime of adventuring and speculation.
Turning with enthusiasm to any likely enterprise, he moved constantly
from place to place, following opportunity, making and losing several
large fortunes. He crossed Australia as a drover, coach driver, cattle
trader, butcher and possibly bushranger, and sailed on whaling and
trading ships throughout Australasia and Indochina. In Calcutta, in
1840, he joined the navy, serving on gunboats in Burma, Malaya and
China. The easy profits of the goldrushes took him to Sacramento,
California, in 1849, back to Ballarat in 1856 or 1857, and to Otago, New
Zealand, in 1862. His colourful life provided material for three books
and for a seemingly inexhaustible series of lectures and public
performances given throughout New Zealand, Australia and England. Up and
Down; or Fifty Years' Colonial Experiences was published in London in
1879, and was twice revised and expanded, first in 1897 for Past &
Present and Men of the Times and, with short pen-portraits of notable
colonial figures, to produce in 1903 Glimpses of the Australian Colonies
and New Zealand. He died at the age of 88.
Fifty Years Colonial Experiences in Australia, California, New Zealand,
India, China, and the South Pacific being the Life History of Capt. W.
J. Barry written by himself (1879) (pdf)