The Barker Brothers

Left to right: Brothers John Barker, Eli Barker, Richard Barker, and James Barker, sons of John and Mary Barker of Toowoomba.

Sergeant John Charles Barker

When he left Australia he was initially assigned to the 9th Infantry Battalion, 11th Reinforcements, then transferred to the 49th. He was later assigned to Headquarters Police, the Mounted Military Police, then the Anzac Police Corps, whilst serving in France.

John Barker contracted pleurisy and was invalided first to England, and then Australia, where he returned in March 1917.

Captain Eli Barker

Employed as a teacher, when he enlisted in the AIF in 1916 he was aged 36. He was promoted to Captain whilst Officer in Charge of the Darwin Guard, and later was appointed to the Office of Alien Registration, in relation to all ships calling at the port of Darwin.

Compulsory registration began in 1916 with the introduction of the Regulations which required all non-British residents living in or entering Australia to register with customs officials or the local police.

Trooper Richard William Barker

He was assigned to the 11th Light Horse Regiment reinforcements and embarked from Sydney in June 1918. They trained first in Egypt then served with the unit in Damascus and Syria.

Richard was invalided to hospital in Cairo suffering with Malaria and returned to Australia in January 1919. After he returned to health, he turned his hand to carpentry before settling in Stanthorpe.

Captain James Frederick Barker

He served as Transport Officer on two voyages; firstly on the transport ship HMAT Commonwealth which left Brisbane, 28 March 1916, returning from Egypt on the Armadale in May 1916. His second voyage  was on the Miltiades in August 1916 returning to Australia on the Ballarat in January 1917.

James Barker continued his association with the armed services until 1931 when he resigned command of the 5th Light Horse Regiment. He was awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces long service medal and as further recognition of his services, he had conferred upon him the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Many thanks to QANZAC 100 Volunteer Judy Gilloway for revealing the stories of the Barker Brothers.

Further reading:

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland


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Hi the Barker brothers are my relatives. They are the brothers of my great grandmother, Lily Barker. How do I access the photographs for a family history, and the items placed in the library. Regard Robyn.

There is a mix up in the brothers, Capt Eli Barker is my grandfather, however it has him listed as James.

Hi Marilyn, I am Eli's Great granddaughter. Which one is he in the group photo please.

Hi there,

Eli is my great grandfather and as Marilyn mentioned, you have him labelled incorrectly as Captain James Fredrick Barker. I'm not sure on the likeness the other three brothers, but I know Eli and his likeness very well.

My grandmother Mary, his daughter, talked me about him often and there were many pictures of him at her home. He loved sing and was a teacher who taught German. She told me that they used his knowledge as a codebreaker during the war. She was incredibly proud of him.

She would be pleased as punch to see him in the State Library so thank you for remembering him and his brothers (sadly I don't know their stories aside from the fact they were also in the war). I found this listing as it was shared by some family members to commemorate Anzac Day and the service of our family.

Thank you,

Rachael Gevers.

PS - Shan, Eli is the gentleman on the far right - he has the dreamy look which many of us have inherited:)