Ian Templeman was an Art and English teacher in secondary schools and assistant to the Director of the Festival of Perth. He also worked within the University of Western Australia's Extension Service department. In 1972, he was appointed the founding Director of the Fremantle Arts Centre, a position he held for 17 years. During this time he established the Fremantle Arts Centre Press which achieved a national reputation for discovering and publishing Western Australian writers.
In 1989 Templeman was made a member of the Order of Australia for his services to art and literature. From 1990-1997 Templeman was Assistant Director-General at the National Library of Australia.
In 1997 Templeman founded Molonglo Press and in 1999 he took up a new appointment at the Australian National University in Canberra to set up a publishing, marketing and promotion unit in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. As part of this endeavour he led the production team for Conversations : Occasional Writing from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. In 2002 Templeman was appointed Chair of the Australian Capital Territory Cultural Council.
With Bernadette McDonald, Templeman compiled and edited a book of photographs and primary source material entitled The Fields: The Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie Goldfields, 1892-1912 (1988).