David Barker

Born: 1888

Died: 1946

Cartoonist, illustrator, painter and etcher, was born in Ballarat (Vic.). He studied art with Norman Carter at the Royal Art Society, Sydney, then worked his way to USA as a deckhand aboard the Makura and worked for Curtis Publishing Co. in Philadelphia. Barker served in Gallipoli, France and the Middle East during WWI, where he co-edited The Anzac Book and Kia Ora Coo-ee (set at Mitchell Library: Spencer 5702) and was art editor for Australia in Palestine (Angus & Robertson 1919). Charles Barrett, his co-editor on Kia Ora Coo-ee , donated a small collection of original material to State Library of New South Wales (Dixson Library uncatalogued Pix): a poster showing an air battle advertising the magazine’s August [1917?] issue signed A.R. Betteridge; a title page for ‘Snakes’ by Charles Barrett with snakes forming the word, initialled ‘D.H.I.’, used in the soldiers’ magazine The Stretcher ; a small comic ink title page by ‘D.B.’ for Charles Barrett’s ‘rare soldiers’ paper’ called ‘Nature Studies in Palestine’, showing Barrett with a microscope inspecting a caterpillar among falling bombs; and a cartoon signed ‘D.C. Barker ’17’ showing an old bearded soldier on walking sticks looking at a ‘special communique 1940’ proclaiming ‘It is confidently predicted that the war will end in the early spring’, used in Kia Ora Coo-ee . After Gallipoli, Barker was lent to the British Army to work as cartographer in Mesopotamia under the orders of Col. T.E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’).

A member of the first council of the Sydney Painter-Etchers Society, he exhibited with it and showed etchings and watercolours with NSW Society of Artists in the 1920s.