Barr had given up his position in England in order to marry and was to fill a position funded by the Hudson"s Bay Company. Governor James Douglas assigned him to the school at Fort Victoria which he had started the previous year. He participated in the expansion of the school situation in the colony during the next four years.
Barr was also part of the early political history of the Island colonies.
The first Vancouver Island House of Assembly was convened in August, 1856 by Governor Douglas and Barr was appointed clerk pro tempore. Historic records indicate that he performed his duties with a high degree of skill and efficiency.
Barr returned to England in 1857. Despite a short tenure in the colony, he played a significant role in both the early educational system and the start of the political structure.