Barrett was born in Bondi, Australia, the son of George and Marguerite Barrett. He left school at 14 to do a few odd jobs before taking on a trade as a butcher around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He gave up his trade when a hind of beef fell on him and injured his shoulder. While he was on worker's compensation, he completed three writing courses at the WEA (Workers' Educational Association). When his sickness benefits ran out he worked in various jobs, DJ, barman, or went on the dole. His first writing job was gag writing for disc jockeys on Radio 2SM. He also signed on with a casting agent and started acting in commercials and television series and appeared in what he says are 'two classic A-grade clunkers'; the movies Bullamakanka and The Empty Beach.
Moving into his old flame Susie's flat in Bondi should have been a piece of cake for Les Norton - except that Price and Eddie had other ideas.There were two bodies buried under the handball courts at Bondi baths. The man to get them out? Major Garrick Lewis, aka, The Gecko. With Norton for company, The Gecko literally took Bondi, and everything that went with it, in his stride - Mossad hit squads, the KGB, ASIO, yobbo builders and loose women looking for action. For once, Les was flat out keeping up.