Graham Jenkin

Graham Jenkin
Graham Jenkin

Graham Keith JENKIN; poet, historian, composer, and teacher; was born in Adelaide on 17 May 1938, the son of Leonard Bee Jenkin, teacher, and his wife Doreen Kathleen Puckridge, author.

He was educated at various country schools and at Prince Alfred College, Wattle Park Teachers College, and the University of Adelaide. His academic qualifications include: Diploma of Teaching; Diploma of Engineering; Master of Arts; and Doctor of Philosophy.

On leaving school, he spent two years (1957 and 1958) working as a jackeroo on stations in northern South Australia. Then, from 1959 to 1962, he was a full-time student.

In 1961, he founded the Tea and Damper Club which became the major body in South Australia devoted to the preservation and dissemination of Australian folklore, music and verse. The club flourished for a decade.

From 1963 to 1965, he was Head Teacher of Coober Pedy Primary School.

In 1966, Graham Jenkin was appointed as a lecturer at Wattle Park Teachers College. That institution became part of a College of Advanced Education which, in 1991, was subsumed by the University of South Australia; but throughout all the changes, Graham Jenkin continued his work as an academic historian and writer, relatively uninterrupted.

In 1968 Graham Jenkin, together with three other musicians, formed The Overlanders, a group which during the following thirty years gave many concerts, throughout South Australia, consisting of Bush Songs and Bush Ballads in an historical background. The Overlanders also produced records, including Songs of the Breaker (1980) and the important double album Songs of the Great Australian Balladists (1978).

In 1970, he initiated what is believed to have been the first course in Australian Studies to be mounted in an Australian tertiary institution. This course continued to expand and develop throughout the following quarter- century, and served as a paradigm for others.

Graham Jenkin became Senior Lecturer in History and Australian Studies in 1979.

In 1995, he resigned from teaching at the University of South Australia in order to devote his time entirely to writing. Since then, he has continued to write history, poetry, music, and drama.

In 1996, Graham Jenkin was awarded the title of National Non-Indigenous Person of the Year, by the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee, for his contribution to Aboriginal historiography.

In 1962, Graham Jenkin married Robyn Ann Herriman. They have two sons: Benjamin (b.1967) and Matthew (b. 1971).

Graham Jenkin’s publications include the following books:

  • Favourite Australian bush songs, (jointly), Adelaide, Rigby, 1964.
  • Two years on Bardunyah Station, Adelaide, Pitjantjara, 1967.
  • The famous race for Wombat’s lace, Adelaide, Rigby, 1977. *
  • Songs of the great Australian Balladists, Adelaide, Rigby, 1978. Second edition published in 1983 by the Education Department of South Australia.
  • Conquest of the Ngarrindjeri, Adelaide, Rigby, 1979. Winner, 1978 SA Biennial Literature Prize Winner, 1979 Wilke Award for Australian non-fiction Second edition published in 1995 by Raukkan Publishers.
  • Songs of the Breaker, Adelaide, Book Agencies, 1980.
  • The head teacher, Adelaide, Education Department of SA, 1980.
  • Convict times, (jointly), Adelaide, Omnibus, 1981*.
  • The ballad of the Blue Lake bunyip, Adelaide, Omnibus, 1982 (two editions)*
  • Calling me home, Adelaide, SACAE, 1989.
  • The Bardunyah ballads, Sydney, Simtrak, 1992
  • Meralte: the boat, Adelaide, JB Publishing, 2003.*
  • The songs from Meralte, Adelaide, JB Publishing, 2003.

* Books for children

The Bardunyah Ballads is still available in book form and a cassette can also be purchased from the publishers whose details are as follows:-

Simtrak Studios Pty Ltd
PO Box 933
Phone (02) 9663 3638.