Born in Bunbury, Western Australia, MacLeod graduated from the Western Australia Teachers College and taught primary school for two years. She joined the WRANS as an officer candidate in 1953, and over her years of service "served in every establishment where the WRANS were posted". She was the first woman to attend the Australian Administrative Staff College and the first woman in the Australian navy to attain the rank of captain. In 1982 she also became the first Australian woman to serve as aide-de-camp, to Queen Elizabeth II.
- "MacLeod, Barbara Denise (1929 - 2000)". Australian Women's Register. National Foundation for Australian Women.
- Libby Stewart (2014). "Australian Defence Force". The Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia. Australian Women's Archives Project.
- Andrea Argirides. "Women in the RAN: The Road to Command at Sea". Royal Australian Navy.
- "The Age". 6 August 1992. p. 52 – via Newspapers.com.
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