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John Denis (Jack) Fryer was born in 1895 at Springsure, Queensland, son of Charles George Fryer and his wife Rosina, née Richards. Charles and Rosina had seven children: Elizabeth Stuart (later Gilmour), William Thomas, Charles George, Henry Hardy, John Denis, Richard Alexander James and Walter Ponsonby. Jack won a scholarship to the University of Queensland and commenced study in 1915. By the end of first term, Jack decided to volunteer for military service in the first Australian Imperial Force. He was commissioned in 1916 and went to France where he was gassed in early 1917. After hospitalisation in England, Jack returned to France for the final push to Amiens, in August 1918. There he was again wounded, by a stick bomb. After the war he re-enrolled at the University of Queensland for the first term of 1920 to complete his English honours examinations. His health failed in 1922 and he died in February 1923. In 1926, as a memorial to their former member and vice-president, members of the University Dramatic Society donated £10 to establish a collection of works in Australian literature. The Fryer collection was maintained in the English Department until the 1950s when it became part of the University of Queensland Library.