The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

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The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
First edition (publ. Angus & Robertson)
Author Thomas Keneally
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Angus and Robertson, Australia
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 178 pp
ISBN 0207123756

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a 1972 Booker Prize-nominated novel by Thomas Keneally,[1] and a 1978 Australian film of the same name directed by Fred Schepisi.[2] The novel is based on the life of bushranger Jimmy Governor, the subject of an earlier book by Frank Clune.

Story outline[edit]

The story is written through the eyes of an exploited Aborigine who explodes with rage. It is based on an actual incident. Keneally has said he would not now presume to write in the voice of an Aborigine, but would have written the story as seen by a European.


  • Dedication: To the Memory of Peter Cady [died] January, 1971.


The novel was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1972, losing to John Berger's G..

The film won the Best Original Music Score (Bruce Smeaton), Best Actress in a Lead Role (Angela Punch McGregor) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ray Barrett) and was nominated for 9 more awards at the Australian Film Institute (AFI) for 1978. It was also nominated for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith' by Australian Roots-Rock band The Groovesmiths is also based on the story.