Dr Barry O'Dwyer

inducted 2010 Academia

About Dr Barry O'Dwyer


Barry O'Dwyer was a student at CBC in the forties.

At school he was a keen student and footballer who loved all of the sporting activities offered by the school - especially the swimming and long bike rides. Barry wrote in a 1962 publication that his success in life was due in part to the "principles of education followed by the Christian Brothers at CBC. ...These principles were soundly inculcated by the brothers under the most difficult and disheartening circumstances." One thing from his days at the College that Barry said was of enduring value was, "the Catholic faith - the loyalty, devotion and warm affection for the religion that is the heart of our district."
Barry studied at the University of Melbourne during the fifties, residing at Newman College. He completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history. While pursuing his studies he played football in both the Newman College and University Blues teams excelling as a determined full-back and he rowed in the Newman College Crew.

In 1958 Barry was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. This allowed him to continue his studies at Oxford University. He gained a Masters of Arts degree specialising
in Medieval history. Barry's studies in Medieval History led him to research 7th to 12th Century Celtic-Irish Monasticism and Gaelic-Irish religion and the origins of the English State and Church in Ireland.

This scholarly research resulted in Barry being award a Doctorate of Philosophy from the National University of Ireland.

Barry interrupted his studies in 1961, after deciding to become a Priest, and with this aim in mind he entered a seminary at Werribee. His main interest was in learning Latin. Barry's priestly vocation soon faltered and he returned to Oxford where his interest in languages flourished. He subsequently studied Latin, French, German, Italian and Irish Gaelic.

On returning to Australia Barry became a senior lecturer in Medieval history at the University of New England in New South Wales and then at Macquarie University. Along with those appointments, Barry also held academic positions at the University of Melbourne, Oxford University, University College Dublin and the University of Salzburg in Austria.

After retirement Barry and his wife Luciana moved to the Blue Mountains where he conducted his own Research Institute of Gaelic-Irish-Australian Studies. He wrote papers about historical issues, about social and political injustices and composed poetry. He wrote ten books and many scholarly articles including histories of Australian Rules Football and of Australian-Irish Catholicism.

Barry O'Dwyer's life was a never-ending quest for knowledge and excellence in scholarly and sporting pursuits. Though physically strong, he was a gentle man who was imbued with a deeply religious, spiritual and poetical vision of the world.