AustLit logo
NLA image of person
David Campbell David Campbell i(A16125 works by) (a.k.a. David Watt Ian Campbell; David Alfred Campbell; David Gordon Campbell)
Born: Established: 16 Jul 1915 Adelong, Tumut - Tumbarumba area, Southeastern NSW, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 29 Jul 1979 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


David Campbell was born at Ellerslie station, near Adelong, New South Wales. He was educated at home, at a preparatory school and at The King's School in Sydney before entering Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1935. Campbell was an outstanding sportsman, especially as a rugby player, representing The King's School, Cambridge and twice for England (against Wales and Ireland). After taking his BA in 1937, Campbell returned to Australia and joined the Royal Australian Air Force, in which he served as a wing-commander until 1945 and was decorated. He then returned to one of his family's properties at Bungendore, N. S. W., where he lived with his wife and two sons.

Campbell was interested in poetry from an early age and published some poems while at Cambridge, but he began to write seriously in the 1940s, publishing many poems in the Bulletin. Many of these poems were included in his first book Speak With the Sun (1949), initiating a long career that saw more than fifteen books published in thirty years. Campbell's occasional use of the ballad form and his concentration on the rural elements around his station often saw him classed as a pastoral poet, but recent estimations have shown how his modernist tendencies produced poetry more complex than that label suggests. This is most obvious in the poetry written during the 1970s.

In 1964 Campbell became poetry editor of The Australian and also edited Australian Poetry 1966 and Modern Australian Poetry (1970).

Campbell's close friends included Patrick White, A. D. Hope, Manning Clark and Rosemary Dobson (qq.v.), friendships that saw him frequently visit nearby Canberra. He edited several volumes, including the 1966 edition of Australian Poetry and two collections of translated Russian poetry. His poetry won several prizes.

David Campbell died in 1979. He was survived by his second wife and his two sons from his first marriage.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

Shadows 2013 single work poetry
— Appears in: Award Winning Australian Writing 2013 2013; (p. 202-211)
2012 winner Eastwood / Hills Regional Annual Literary Awards Free Verse
y separately published work icon The Man in the Honeysuckle : Poems Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1979 Z300745 1979 selected work poetry
1980 winner New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Poetry
1980 Kenneth Slessor Prize New South Wales State Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize
1979 winner Grace Leven Poetry Prize
y separately published work icon Selected Poems 1942-1968 Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1968 Z304911 1968 selected work poetry
1969 winner Sidney Myer Award for Australian Poetry
1968 winner Grace Leven Poetry Prize
Last amended 19 Jun 2014 15:34:34
Influence on:
Margins Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
Osip Mandelstam : Hanged Man Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
Faithfulness Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
Salt Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
The Exchange Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
Companions Stefanie Bennett , 1998 single work poetry
Futures Stefanie Bennett , 1988 single work poetry
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: