Today the world mourns the loss of Barry Humphries, one of the great comic talents of the modern age. With his passing, we also grieve the loss of Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Patterson, Sandy Stone and the other characters who embodied his stage persona. Filling stages across the world for seventy years, Barry Humphries entertained generations with his unique wit, his absurdist comedy equally effective on stage and screen, in recordings and books.
Barry Humphries was a true collector, a lover of the arts and one of Australia's best known bibliophiles. He befriended booksellers, art dealers and fellow collectors across the globe, and enjoyed long running relationships with ANZAAB members which were more than simply transactional, he could be friend and confidant, poet and historian, often all at the same time.
Visiting bookshops, galleries and dealers was a lifelong pleasure of Barry Humphries, he was truly at home when surrounded by a thousand voices and ideas which filled volumes on the shelves and pictures on the wall. We saw Barry make an appearance at numerous ANZAAB Rare Book Fairs, his fedora hat most recently bobbing around at the Sydney Rare Book Fair in 2019, where he whisked away more treasures for his collection.
In 2013 Barry Humphries graciously accepted the position of ILAB Patron of Honour by joint proposal from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers. The term expatriate seems to undersell Barry Humphries' connection with Australia and the United Kingdom, he was equally at home and adored in both countries.
Today, so many people will reflect on the long and rich life of Barry Humphries, he was naturally gifted at forming connections, and his reach was vast.
Our thoughts go out to his family and great many friends, and in particular to the members of the ANZAAB community who have lost more than a customer. He will truly be missed.
Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers