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from birth to bush, from page to stage...


Born in Sydney on 7 August, 1950, the middle child of a large middle class family, I grew up in the northern suburbs and on the northern beaches. Educated at St Aloysius College and Sydney University, I left the metropolis in May ’73 to attend the Nimbin Aquarius Festival, and fell in love with the region. I stayed.

I had studied piano as a child, and I had begun playing in music groups while in the city. After travelling north I became engaged in music, performance, street theatre, radio and film.

I toured and travelled. I worked at wheat and cotton harvests on the north-west plains; I picked grapes ‘on the Murray’. I’d studied the poetry of Donne, Hopkins and Shakespeare at school, but when I heard the street poets at the Adelaide Arts Festival that was the spark. I started writing poetry. I began performing poetry, and in 1978 I organised my first poetry show.

My early poems were about love and landscape, about music tours, about summer harvests in fly-blown towns, about hard-bitten, hard drinking workers wearing away the land…

My romantic landscape poetry evolved into poetry about society, about politics, power, pollution, about media and environment, about war and peace.

The poems came off the page and onto the stage, into the classroom, and the festival marquee, onto the road, from the Opera House to New York, and back to the forest.