In 1971, after practising law for ten years, first as a solicitor and later as a barrister, he became a chairman and managing director for a Melbourne public company. In 1978, he re-joined the Victorian Bar. He was a member of the Literature Board of the Australian Council, later becoming Acting-chairman.
John Bryson's best known work is his 1985 book chronicling the story of Lindy Chamberlain's trial for murder, following the disappearance of her baby daughter, Azaria. Since 1973, his articles and stories have been published in Australian newspapers. He is also the author of a 1981 collection of short fiction, Whoring Around and a collection of reportage, "Backstage at the Revolution." His novel of the Spanish Civil War, "To the Death, Amic" was published by Viking in 1994, and by Editorial Milenio Spain in 2006. In 2004 he originated and co-produced "Secrets of the Juryroom" a documentary for SBSTV.
"The Routine", one of the stories that was later included in Whoring Around, received the 1979 Patricia Hackett Award at the University of Western Australia. In 1985, Evil Angels was awarded winner of Penguin Books' first Allen Lane award, the Victorian Premiers Award for Non Fiction,the British Crime Writers' Golden Dagger, and the ANA Award. In the year 2000 a panel of Journalism Schools included him in "The 100 Australian Journalists of the Century."