Jack Barnes

John (Jack) Handyside Barnes (1922-1985) was an Australian medical practitioner and toxinologist.

1964 the first specimens of the small stinger Carukia barnesi

1967 – Ronald V. Southcott declared Carukia barnesi the cause of the “Irukandji syndrome” – (named after the Irukandji tribe of the Aboriginal people)


  • Born 2 April 1922 Charleville, Australia
  • 1940-1946 Medical Degree, University of Queensland
  • 1941-1943 Served in the Australian Imperial Force, East Timor
  • 1947-1953 Medical superintendent of Thursday Island Hospital
  • 1953 – Private Practice, Cairns, Queensland
  • 1961 – Collected the unique specimen of ‘Carukia barnesi’
  • 1970 – MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
  • Died 11 August 1985 Cairns, Australia

Medical Eponyms

Major Publications

  • Barnes JH. Cause and Effect in Irukandji Stingings. Med J Aust. 1964 Jun 13;1:897-904. [Irukandji Syndrome]
  • Barnes JH. Siphonophores, Part 1 of a Series. The North Queensland Naturalist 1962;30:131
  • Barnes JH. Siphonophores, Part 2 of a series. The North Queensland Naturalist 1964;32:135.
  • Barnes JH. The Crown of Thorns Starfish as a Destroyer of Coral. Aust. Natural History. 1966
  • Barnes JH. Endean R. A dangerous starfish. Acanthaster planci (Linne). Med J Aust. 1964;1: 592


  • Cato N. Pantyhose for the lifesavers. The Canberra Times. 47, (13,317). 28 December 1972
  • Baker J. Barnes, John Handyside (Jack) (1922–1985). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2007;17:64-65
  • Pearn J, Fenner P. The Jellyfish hunter—Jack Barnes: A pioneer medical toxinologist in Australia. Toxicon. 2006 Dec 1;48(7):762-7. [PMID 17070882]
  • Roberts J, Kinsey B. ‘Who Knew Jack Barnes: a Short Biography of Dr John Handyside Barnes, Pioneer Medical Toxinologist’. In: Pioneer Medicine in Australia (Pearn J), Amphion Press, Brisbane, 1988, pp. 251-268, 309
  • Barnes, John Handyside (Jack) (1922 – 1985). Encyclopedia of Australian Science

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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