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

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  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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