Barry Hugh McNeill was born to an Irish migrant family in Cairns, Northern Queensland, who settled in Hobart in 1950. Barry studied architecture and planning at the Hobart Technical College under S.W.T. Blythe, while working in the office of Cooper and Vincent. While working as a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Planning at Hobart Technical College in 1967, Barry was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and studied planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1969 he became Director of the Department of Environmental Design at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, where he set up an innovative program which emphasised active experience in projects and led to the establishment of the Hobart Architectural Cooperative. Barry began his own architecture and planning practice in 1980, working on residential and school buildings influenced by the aesthetic traditions of compact functionalism and an integrated construction based on natural materials. Barry was the editor of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Tasmanian Architect magazine, and President of the Tasmanian chapter from 1986 to 1988. He coordinated the Oriel column in The Mercury between 1989-97, and in 2002 published Architecture from the Edge. A member of numerous government and community committees, Barry was a member of the Design Board of the Australia Council, the National Capital Planning Committee, The Commonwealth Urban Renewal Taskforce and the Interim Committee of the National Estate establishing the Australian Heritage Commission. He remains the only Tasmanian to have been made life fellow of both the RAIA and the Planning Institute of Australia.