Barnard grew up in a musical family and started on cornet with a local brass band when he was twelve. His first professional job was with his mother’s band at fourteen. Introduced to jazz by his father, Bob was a founding member of brother Len’s South City Stompers in 1948. He moved to Sydney permanently in June 1962, as a member of the Graeme Bell All Stars, and remained with them until mid-1967.
Bob formed his own jazz band in 1974, touring throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, and the US. The band held long residencies at some of Sydney’s popular hotels, particularly the Orient in the Rocks area.
Bob is a regularly featured guest at festivals and concerts in the US, Britain, and Europe, and has recorded with top American, European, and British jazzmen.