Yvonne Barrett

Yvonne Frances Barrett (1946  2 September 1985) was an Australian pop singer. She reached the top 60 Kent Music Report singles chart with her cover versions of Petula Clark single "You're the One"/"Little People", in October 1965. She released other singles in that, and the following, decade. Barrett also appeared on TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s. She became a session singer and performed on the club circuit. Barrett married Hoang Van Truong, a former Vietnam War veteran, in December 1983; the couple separated in the following year. Truong was found guilty of Barrett's 1985 murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, in August 1986.

Yvonne Barrett
Birth nameYvonne Frances Barrett
Born1946 (1946)
Braybrook, Victoria, Australia
OriginVictoria, Australia
Died1985 (aged 3839)
Birchgrove, New South Wales, Australia
Years active1957–1985


Yvonne Barrett was the daughter of Ted and Sheila Barrett, and was raised with two siblings.[1] The family lived in Braybrook, Victoria. Barrett started ballet lessons at the age of two and a half. In January 1957 she performed in the pantomime, Jack and Jill, at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne.[2] In 1963 she joined the cast of Swallow's Juniors, a children's TV talent contest and entertainment show on HSV7.[3] She took singing lessons in her mid-teens, which led to musical theatre including, The Sound of Music, in the role of Louisa von Trapp, at the Princess Theatre in October 1961.[4] She subsequently appeared in Carnival!, Wild Cat and Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.[3] Barrett described working in musicals to The Australian Women's Weekly's correspondent in July 1964, "I love everything about the theatre. We work odd hours, but it doesn't worry me. I've never known a nine to five job - and it's wonderful to be able to sleep in in the mornings."[3]

Barrett became a regular on pop music TV program, The Go!! Show, by 1965,[5] where she performed her renditions, "Off & Running", "I Walk Alone" and the Toys' "A Lovers Concerto". She was signed to the related Go!! Records label, which issued her first three singles.[5] She achieved her highest chart success with her cover version of Petula Clark's "You're the One"[6] backed by her rendition of Chloee Harris' "Little People",[7] in October 1965.[5][8] In December Barrett, along with fellow TV personalities, Ian Turpie, Tommy Hanlon Jr and Pat Carroll, entertained Australian troops during the Vietnam War.[9][10][11] They were "the first Government-sponsored entertainment team" to visit the Australian troops in Vietnam.[11] Her next single, "Send Her Away",[12] appeared in July 1966 and was followed by "Don't Bother Callin'" in October; Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described the singles as, "minor hits in Melbourne."[5]

Barrett and Carroll returned to Vietnam for another tour in August 1968.[13] Barrett was presented with a Việt Cộng flag during one of her two tours.[14] Australian pop music newspaper, Go-Set (not related to Go!! Show or Go!! Records), published an annual poll of their readers, which included female-based categories, where she was listed at No. 7 Girl Vocal (1966), No. 6 Top Girl Singer (1967), No. 7 Female Vocal (1969), No. 5 Girl (1970), No. 6 Best Girl Vocal (1971) and No. 6 Female Vocalist (1972).[15] In 1970 she released a single, "Lu" (originally by Laura Nyro), which featured her big voice with a brassy jazz-rock, Blood Sweat & Tears arrangement.

Although not achieving further chart success she retained popularity due to live appearances, and being on national TV shows, Uptight and Happening 70-72. She performed "Always Something There to Remind Me" and Rare Earth's, "Get Ready". During the 1970s she moved into session work and club appearances,[5] and was a regular on Mary Hardy's The Penthouse Club on HSV7. Soon after she moved to Perth. In the 1980s Yvonne Barrett moved from Perth to Sydney and was working as a waitress.[14]


Yvonne Barrett married former Vietnam War veteran, Hoang Van Truong, in December 1983; they had met in a Perth nightclub.[16] The couple had separated in the following year.[16] Barrett's body was found on 3 September 1985, at her unit in Birchgrove, New South Wales.[14] Her estranged husband, Truong, was found guilty of her murder.[14][16] At his trial it was alleged that he had recently returned from New Zealand and spent a night with her.[16] He was asked to leave the following morning but did not comply and assaulted her with a bottle to her head before strangling her with his belt.[16] He then took Serepax tablets and cut his wrists.[16] Death notices were published on 9 September 1985.[17]

Truong was sentenced to life imprisonment without a non-parole period, on 5 August 1986, by Justice Finlay of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.[16] Finlay rejected a submission by the public defender, Bill Hosking, that Truong was "suffering from a disease of the mind that impaired his responsibility for the crime."[16] Hosking claimed that Truong's war service, tragic life and "ingestion of marijuana at the time of this offence had occurred" had diminished his responsibilities.[16]

Barrett's funeral was held at Christ the King, Catholic Church, Braybrook, Victoria.[1] It was attended by Australian show business celebrities including, Bert and Patti Newton. Patti posted a condolence notice in The Age, "What wonderful times to remember of growing up together." Barrett was buried at Altona Memorial Park, Victoria.[1]



  • "Little People" / "You're the One" (October 1965) Go!! Records KMR No. 58,[8] Melbourne: No. 28,[7] Sydney: No. 3[6]
  • "Send Her Away" / "Won't Someone Say" (July 1966) – Go!! Records
  • "Don't Bother Callin'" / "I'm Taking Him Back" (October 1966) – Go!! Records
  • "Lu" / "Picture Me Gone" (March 1970) Columbia / EMI)
  • "No Longer Part of Your Life" / "Mr 7654312" (1972) Albert Productions


  • McGrath, Noel (1978). Australian Encyclopaedia of Rock & Pop. Rigby. ISBN 0-7270-1909-0.
  • Spencer, Chris (1987). Who's Who of Australian Rock (1st ed.). Moonlight Publications. ISBN 978-0-7316-0358-9.
  • Spencer, Chris (1990). An Australian Rock Discography: a Discography of Vinyl Product Released by Australian artists 1960-1989 (Rev. 2nd ed.). Moonlight Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7316-8343-7.
  • Spencer, Chris (1990). The Various Artist in Australia: a Rock Discography, 1960-1989. Moonlight Publications. ISBN 978-0-7316-8348-2.
  • Gavin Ryan's Chart Books
  1. "Yvonne Francis Barrett (1946–1985)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  2. "Jean Dances on and On..." The Argus. 15 January 1957. p. 5. Retrieved 9 September 2018 via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a photo of Barrett, aged 10.
  3. "Worth Reporting: Broadway's Her Goal". The Australian Women's Weekly. 32 (8). 22 July 1964. p. 14. Retrieved 9 September 2018 via National Library of Australia. Note: includes a photo of Barrett.
  4. "Event: The Sound of Music". AusStage. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  5. McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Yvonne Barrett'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 29 August 2004.
  6. Nuttall, Lyn. "'You're the One' – Yvonne Barrett (1965)". Where did they get that song?. PopArchives – Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s (Lyn Nuttall). Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  7. Nuttall, Lyn. "'Little People' – Yvonne Barrett (1965)". Where did they get that song?. PopArchives – Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s (Lyn Nuttall). Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  8. Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Turramurra, NSW: Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd. ISBN 0-6464-4439-5. Note: Chart positions back calculated by Kent in 2005.
  9. "Bien Hoa, Vietnam. c 1965-12-23. Melbourne entertainer Yvonne Barrett on stage entertaining ...". Australian War Memorial. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  10. "Hanlon to visit troops". The Canberra Times. 40 (11, 319). 22 November 1965. p. 8. Retrieved 9 September 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  11. Nuttall, Lyn. "'Send Her Away' – Yvonne Barrett (1966)". Where did they get that song?. PopArchives – Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s (Lyn Nuttall). Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  12. "No title". The Canberra Times. 42 (12, 069). 2 August 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 9 September 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "Viet Cong Flag: Yvonne Barrett, Australian Entertainer, Vietnam". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  14. Kent, David Martin (September 2002). "The place of Go-Set in rock and pop music culture in Australia, 1966 to 1974" (PDF). Canberra, ACT: University of Canberra: 255–264. Archived from the original (Portable Document Format (PDF)) on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) Note: This PDF is 282 pages.
  15. "Veteran Gets Life for Murdering Wife". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 August 1986. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  16. "The Ryerson Index". Ryerson Index. Retrieved 14 June 2018. Note: User must add 'Barrett' into the Surname search parameter and 'Yvonne' into the Any Given Name(s) parameter.
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