Joan Kinmont was the daughter of a doctor and one of a family of four girls. As a girl she was encouraged by her father in her love of theatre. She attended The Wilderness school, and, always interested in writing, she wrote a great deal while at school. Initially she wrote plays and won first prize in an Adelaide Repertory Theatre competition with a one act play.
Kinmont trained as a kindergarten teacher and returned to her old school to teach for several years. She married a distant cousin, Tom Kinmont in 1937, living in Melbourne and then in Tasmania. They had three daughters. Kinmont gave up writing for a time but later had two of her plays - 'Here Comes the Bride' and 'Firelight' - performed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
During the war Kinmont wrote her successful poem This, My Son, which began as a play in verse before realising its final form. It sold over 100,000 copies, ran to several reprints and in 1945 was republished in England featuring a preface by Australia's Prime Minister, John Curtin. A keen amateur photographer, Kinmont also took the photographs for her book of poems for children, Two Little Girls.
The Kinmonts moved to Sydney in the late 1940s, and when their daughter Meredith won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School the family sailed to England to catch up with her progress and have a European holiday.
Kinmont was widowed in 1962 and in 1969 Joan and her daughter Jennifer returned to Adelaide to be near Joan's only remaining sister, Mabel. Joan died of cancer at the age of 77.
Kinmont is the mother of Meredith Daneman and Felicity Fair Thompson and the sister of Rosamond Kinmont-Sharp (qq.v.)