1933 - Dorothy Davidson was born
on March the 19th
in Lidcome, Sydney
Dorothy grew up on an apple
orchard at Tallong, near Goulburn. She came to Sydney for her
education and there teamed up with Lorna who lived at Granville.
At 12 Dorothy auditioned solo
Amateur Hour. She was advised to get a guitar and learn to play.
She learnt one song and with that won a heat of the Amateur
Hour. At the age of 12 years, she appeared on 2KY Harry Yates
Digger’s Show, was heard by Mr Roy Eades, promoter of Arnott’s
Biscuits Concert Party who took her on many shows at Army
Hospitals and camps for the Navy, Air Force and American troops
awaiting discharge from the forces when the war ended.
At a school concert Dorothy and
Lorna perform for the first time together and soon were back on
Amateur Hour as a duo and won that heat.
t9 years, Dorothy became “Miss Jantzen”, winner of “Miss
Daily Telegraphy Beach Girl” competition. This resulted in
Dorothy becoming a model for Jantzen swimsuits for 10 years.
Early 1950’s the girls became
part of a teenage cabaret at a hotel in Annandale. They
were billed as the Bar-Y Girls but were often referred to as the
Bar BQ Girls.
1954 - They submitted a demo to
ARC (now CBS) records, and got an immediate response, being
asked to record (with guitar only accompaniment) for ARC’s
country label, Rodeo. Sales were encouraging so they recorded
several more 78’s, firstly for Rodeo and then with bill Walker’s
quartet for ARC’s pop label, Pacific
Their first recording, “Tumbling
Tumbleweeds” and “Lazy Lack-a-Daisy Melody” was under the name
of Bar BQ Girls. When they came to do more recording on the
Rodeo Label they changed the name and became the “Barry
1955 – Working professionally on
radio and Television, but were discouraged from doing original
material by the television station, instead doing covers of the
popular songs of the day. Dorothy appeared regularly on “Bunk
House Show” with Tommy McNamara on Sydney
Radio 2GB. She appeared as a regular on Tim McNamara’s show on
Radio 2KY, and sang with Tim on EMI “Country Encores” LP Album.
Dorothy was also a regular on Reg Lindsay’s Radio Show on 2KY.
Recorded on Pye records- a duo
single and another with the Allen Brothers (Peter Allen).
Recorded on ARC Label. She released a single on ARIKA Records in
1985 featuring a composition by Lorna Barry.
Between recording sessions the
Barry Sisters performed at various nightclubs on the Sydney harbour
“Showboat”. Also had a regular radio spot with Bill Walker on
2KY, plus a weekly radio show on 2SM. A two week engagement at
Brisbane’s Theatre Royal
lasted three months – after which the “Sisters” took a well
1959 saw the Barry Sisters back
at work appearing regularly on Bandstand with Brian Henderson,
(where they were backed by either the Joy boys, (Johnny Rebb’s)
Rebels, Don Burrows or Bob Young’s Orchestra). They also
appeared on TCN9’s Bobby Limb show (backed by the Isador Goodman
Orchestra). For Channel 7, the Barry Sisters appeared on
Teentime, Roy Hampton’s Rhythm Roundup, plus various shows
including Digby Wolfe’s “Review 61”. They were still heavily
booked on ABC radio shows, including Johnny O’Keefe’s “Rockville
Junction”, which had a live audience, a Hawaiian show with
Johnny Wade, mainstream for Moderns with Don Burrows, and a
travelling factory show with Jim Gussy’s Orchestra. They were
also heavily booked on the Sydney
Rock with Johnny O’Keefe, Teen Time and Revue 61 with Digby
Dorothy and Lorna felt they had
fulfilled their ambitions as a duet at this stage so they split
up. Dorothy has remained in the business making a name for
herself as a soloist, whilst Lorna has turned to her long-time
love – song writing.
Dorothy appeared regularly on
Bill Kelly’s Country Shows in and around Sydney, and has
toured the country shows with Ray Kernaghan. She has worked at
Theatre Royal, Brisbane for the
Sadler Bros, Johnny (rubber face) Craig, Syd Heylan, and many
others, Dorothy has sung with many big 15 piece bands including
Harry Doyle, Jim Gussey, Don Burrows on ABC shows and at “The
Paradance” at Lidcombe, Rockdale and Surreyville as pop
As a solo artist, she has appeared on the Don Lane Show, Mike
Walsh Show, Pace with Harriet, Country Homestead, (Sydney, Qld,
S.A) and Orton’s Olde Tyme Music Hall in Brisbane.
Dorothy has supported Barry Crocker, Don Lane,
Harry Secombe, Reg Varney, Kamahl, Freddie Paris and Howard Keel
I989 - Dorothy was nominated in the AFI Awards for her
performance in the film, “Sweetie” by Jane Campion.
A dedicated worker for charity, she has received numerous awards
from all areas of charity organisations.
1980’s - For old time sake, the
Barry Sisters recorded a single for the Arika label. “Detour”
was coupled with “I’ve had more highs than lows” which Lorna
wrote especially for Dorothy.
1982 - Her most cherished is the
Mo Award of “The John Cambell Fellowship Award” which is awarded
by her peers in the show business industry.
1986 - Dorothy was also a
nominee in the Mo Awards for “Best Country Female Vocalist”.
1988 - In January, The Barry
Sisters were inducted in the “The Hands of Fame” at the Tamworth
Country Music Festival.
- Dorothy played a major role in the internationally successful
movie “There’s a love that waits”. She also appeared in “A
Dorothy is known throughout the Australian show business
industry as Australia’s
Vera Lynn. Her association with Dame Vera Lynn came about
through the Australian Ladies Variety Association of which Dame
Vera, Margaret Whitlam and Lady Joan McInnes-Hardy are patrons.
The aim of ALVA is to secure a retirement home for aged members
of the entertainment industry.
Dorothy’s other awards consist of:
• 1st Life Member – Australian Legion of Ex-Services;
• Plaque – Rats of Tobruk Association;
• Certificate of Appreciation – New South Wales R.S.L.
• Certificate of Appreciation – North Ryde Lions Club;
• The Merchant Navy Sealed Letter of Appreciation;
• Veteran Affairs – Central Council; and
• Australian Ladies Variety Association Honours 1980