Denis Kevans

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Peter Denis Kevans (1939–2005) was an Australian poet, songwriter and folk singer from Canberra. Widely known as Australia's "poet lorikeet", he wrote mainly on political, human rights and environmental topics. He also worked for 20 years as a journalist and teacher. Kevans died of complications following heart surgery.


Peter Denis Kevans was born in Westlake, Canberra on 15 January 1939. His mother, Mona Knight, was the daughter of Alfred Knight of No. 1 Westlake (it was probably this cottage where he lived at Westlake). Today the site of Alf's home is a memorial to the families who lived in the area – it is located close to the grounds of the Mexican Embassy in Yarralumla. The sites of the majority of Westlake Cottages (1924-1965) are in the grounds of the nearby Stirling Park Yarralumla.(Ref: Westlake One of the Vanished Suburbs of Canberra - Gugler.) Kevans attended St Christopher's Convent School at Manuka.[1] His younger brother, Anthony John "Jacko" Kevans (1942–2005) was a bush musician and a teacher;[2] the brothers performed together and Jacko was also a member of Monaro Boys and of the Larrikins.[1]

He won a scholarship to St Josephs College, Sydney, where he played cricket for the first XI and rugby for the first XV of 1956.[1] As of 2016 Kevans' sporting records at the school remain unbeaten. Upon leaving St. Joseph's College he had continued success as a cricketer, being selected by Robert Menzies for the Prime Minister's XI, which played the touring English team in 1958.[1] Whilst initially studying medicine, at his father's urging for him to become a writer, he switched courses to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education and a Master of Arts in Australian Literature at Sydney University, while working on building sites and becoming a member of the NSW Builders Labourers Federation.

Kevans became active in pro-peace political and cultural movements, including the Realist Writers Group associated with the Bush Music Club. He wrote witty and insightful poems and original songs on a wide variety of political topics, published several books and two CDs. He received a number of poetry awards during his lifetime. A bushland reserve located on the corner of Armstrong St and Valley Rd in Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, Australia has posthumously been dedicated to his memory ... the "Denis Kevans Bushland Gardens".


A concert in honour of Kevans, planned to be an annual event, was held on Anzac Day Eve, 24 April 2009 [1].


  1. ^ a b c d Lee, Jefferson (17 September 2005). "Witty Voice of a Humane Generation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2018. 
  2. ^ "The Ryerson Index". Ryerson Index Inc. Retrieved 17 May 2018. . Note: User must add 'Kevans' into the Surname search parameter and 'Jacko' into the Any Given Name(s) parameter.

External links[edit]

  • Obituary in Labour History, [2]