Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Barry Russell Marshall (1923–1970)

by John Morgan

This article was published:

Barry Russell Marshall (1923-1970), Anglican priest, college chaplain and theological scholar, was born on 18 July 1923 at Darlinghurst, Sydney, son of Alan Russell Marshall, grazier, and his wife Beryl Marion, née Maude, both born in New South Wales. Barry was initially educated at home on his father's property near Coolah before boarding (1935-41) at Sydney Church of England Grammar School. While at Shore he underwent a religious conversion.

Enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 10 June 1942, Marshall served as a wireless operator in New Guinea and the islands nearby. He was demobilized on 20 June 1945 as a leading aircraftman. To prepare for ordination, he entered St John's College, Morpeth, New South Wales, but moved to Trinity College, University of Melbourne (B.A. Hons, 1948), where he gained first-class honours in history. He returned to Morpeth and completed a licentiate of theology (1950), also with first-class honours. Ordained priest on 21 December 1950, he joined the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd, taking the religious name of Timothy.

In 1952 Marshall went to Christ Church, University of Oxford (D.Phil., 1956), as Lucas Tooth scholar. There he came under the influence of Anglo-Catholic scholars, such as V. A. Demant, E. L. Mascall, F. L. Cross and Austin Farrer. Following a period as acting-librarian at Pusey House, he returned in 1956 to the Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd and served as priest-in-charge of Bourke, New South Wales. During this time he sustained a near-fatal motorcar accident which left him with chronic pain.

Fr Marshall was chaplain (1961-69) of Trinity College, where he was renowned for his energy, as well as for his clever, and at times sharp, wit. His preaching, always engaging, revealed a legacy of metaphysical insight. He exercised considerable influence over undergraduates and theological students, and over a wider group of clergy and laity beyond the college and university. Meanwhile, he joined the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, a worldwide society of Anglican clergy and lay associates.

In theology and liturgical practice Marshall was Anglo-Catholic, and as a priest highly disciplined, without displaying narrowness of vision. His opposition to infant baptism, however, proved controversial. If some thought him 'too idiosyncratic', many found him a sympathetic and caring pastor, and a few viewed him as a complex and demanding figure who set standards by his own life which they could not emulate. His personality seemed both engaging and elusive. Widely known as an ecumenical figure, a liturgical scholar and a church historian, Marshall published little. He was especially affected by a period of study in 1966-67 at the Institut Catholique de Paris where he encountered (Cardinal) Jean Danielou and observed the modern Roman Catholic liturgical and renewal movement. Marshall brought some of its theology and practices to Australia.

Offered the post of principal of Pusey House, Oxford, in 1969, Marshall assisted at St James's Church, Sydney, for some months, then left for England in May 1970. Before he formally took up his new post, he fell from a ladder at Pusey House and died of a fractured skull on 12 August 1970 at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. His ashes were interred in Trinity College chapel, Melbourne. A portrait by Dora McRae is held by the college.

Select Bibliography

  • Fleur de Lys, 1969, p 7, 1970, p 4
  • University of Melbourne Gazette, Sept 1970
  • Bush Brother, 66, no 2, Sept 1970, p 5
  • Torchbearer, 1970
  • Anglican, 20, 27 Aug 1970
  • Trinity College Archives (Melbourne)
  • private information.

Citation details

John Morgan, 'Marshall, Barry Russell (1923–1970)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 23 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Timothy, Brother

18 July, 1923
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


12 August, 1970 (aged 47)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England