John Manifold

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John Streeter Manifold (21 April 1915 – 19 April 1985) was an Australian poet and critic. He was born in Melbourne, into a well known Camperdown family. He was educated at Geelong Grammar School, and read modern languages at Jesus College, Cambridge. While in Cambridge he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. He was involved in an attempt to create a successor (Poetry and the People) to Left Review, when the latter folded in 1938.

He then worked in Germany, in publishing. During World War II he served in intelligence in the British Army, in the Middle East, Africa and France. He was a published war poet; Trident, with Hubert Nicholson and David Martin, was published by Randall Swingler's Fore Publications in 1944.

In 1949 he returned to Australia, settling in Brisbane. He was a founder in 1950 of the Realist Writers Group. He then worked and published mostly on Australian songs and music, reciting ballads at arts festivals. He died in Brisbane.


  • Verses 1930-1933 (1933),
  • The Death of Ned Kelly and Other Ballads (1941),
  • Selected Verse (1946),
  • Who Wrote the Ballads?: Notes on Australian Folksong (1954),
  • The Violin, the Banjo and the Bones: An Essay on the Instruments of Bush Music (1957)
  • Queensland Centenary Pocket Songbook (1959) editor
  • Nightmares and Sunhorses (1961) poems
  • Penguin Australian Song Book (1964). editor
  • Op 8 (1971) poems
  • Collected Verse (1971)
  • On My Selection (1983) poems


  • Rodney Hall (1978), John Manifold: an introduction to the man and his work