Jim Haynes is an Australian writer, entertainer, broadcaster, humourist, songwriter and historian.
The son of British migrants, he was born in Sydney and attended Sydney Boys’ High School and Sydney Teachers’ College and later gained two masters’ degrees in literature, from the University of New England and the University of Wales. He sang in a folk trio at Teachers’ College and was a member of various bands while teaching in country towns, in between several periods living in the UK.
While teaching in Inverell, NSW, in the late 1970s, Jim formed the Bandy Bill & Co Bush Band. He rejoined in 1985 after living in the UK and the band recorded two albums on the Hadley label and had airplay on the ABC radio show Australia All Over. Jim worked weekend shifts on commercial radio station 2NZ, began providing stories and poetry readings for Australia All Over and quit teaching to work full time on that program in 1988. He had a minor hit with Mow Ya Lawn in 1989 and signed his first solo record deal with Festival’s Kookaburra Label in 1990.
He embarked on a career as an entertainer, performing at clubs and touring a school show called ‘Singabout Australia’. His break came when Warner Chappel signed him to a publishing deal and two songs from his album It’s Nothing Serious, produced by Greg Champion, became hits. Don’t Call Wagga Wagga Wagga, recorded with Champion and Ted Egan, was a hit in 1994 and Since Cheryl Went Feral, topped the country charts for 5 weeks in 1995 and crossed over onto the pop charts.
Haynes signed a three record deal with ABC Music and began touring his own show. He has also toured with other artists like Slim Dusty, Frank Ifield, Melinda Schneider, Beccy Cole, Greg Champion and Adam Brand. He has recorded quite a few albums of songs, verse and humour on his own label Singabout Australia.
A double CD of old material, The Complete Jim Haynes Collection, was released in 2011 and an album of new songs, Galah Occasion, appeared in 2012, featuring duets with Wayne Horsburgh and Melanie Dyer.
Having 'invented' the perfect country town of Weelabarabak in the 1980s, Haynes began writing verse about the town and its characters and events. These poems were self-published as I'll Have Chips! which sold over 10 000 copies. A book of short stories, Memories of Weelabarabak, followed - published by ABC Books.
His Aussie Verse column was a weekly feature of the nation’s oldest magazine Australasian Post, until its demise in 2004. He has now written, compiled and edited twenty two books, including The Book of Australian Popular Rhymed Verse, which contains 1000 poems from early colonial days to the present and The Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids - which contains over 600 rhymed poems.
Also credited with starting morning shows at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Jim set up the very first ’bush verse’ morning show in 1989. His Big Bush Brekky Variety Show has been a feature of the Festival for twenty six years. He also helped establish the Australian Bush Laureate Awards for recorded and published verse and the Stone The Crows Festival in Wagga Wagga for Grey Nomads in Wagga Wagga and hosted ‘Verse, History and Country Music’ trips to Norfolk Island for the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival.
Jim served on the board of the Australian Country Music Association for fifteen years, was involved in the very successful Academy of Australian Country Music and still runs the Academy course for the parents of young talented performers.
He has continued to work in radio, presenting the weekend Australiana segment on Radio 2UE’s George and Paul Show and spends much of his time writing and editing collections of Australian verse and prose. With Grant and Katelyn O’Donoghue Jim also recorded an album of songs for grey nomads called Stone The Crows.
In recent times Jim has recorded an album of the verse of C J Dennis and his radio play We Were There – Voices from Gallipoli, was also released as a CD.
Books by Jim Haynes:
I’ll Have Chips - (Singabout Australia)
Memories of Weelabarabak (ABC Books)
An Australian Heritage of Verse (ABC Books)
The Great Australian Book of Limericks (ABC Books)
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse (ABC Books)
Great Australian Drinking Stories (ABC Books)
All Aboard – Tales of Australian Railways (ABC Books)
Cobbers – Stories of Gallipoli 1915 (ABC Books)
Great Australian Racing Stories (ABC Books)
Great Australian Aviation Stories (ABC Books)
The Book of Australian Popular Rhymed Verse (ABC Books)
The ABC Book of Australian Country Music (ABC Books)
The Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids (Allen & Unwin)
On All Fronts - Australia's WW2 (Harper Collins/ABC)
Best Australian Racing Stories (Allen & Unwin)
The Great Australian Book of Limericks 2nd Ed (Allen & Unwin
Best Australian Trucking Stories (Allen & Unwin)
Best Australian Sea Stories (Allen & Unwin)
Best Australian Bush Stories (Allen & Unwin)
Best Australian Yarns (Allen & Unwin)
Australia’s Best Unknown Stories (Allen & Unwin)
The Best Gallipoli Yarns - (Allen & Unwin)