AustLit logo


Bill Wannan Bill Wannan i(A23297 works by) (a.k.a. William Fielding Fearn-Wannan; William Fielding Wannan)
Born: Established: 28 May 1915 Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 20 Apr 2003 Prahran, South Yarra - Glen Iris area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,
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.


Bill Wannan was a leading collector of, and an authority on, Australian folklore. He published over 50 books in the fields of folklore, humour, Australian colonial figures (including bushrangers) and the Scots and Irish in Australia.

The son of W. F. Wannan snr (q.v.), Bill Wannan was raised in a family that valued folk songs and bush ballads and he developed a keen ear for vernacular language. Wannan served in the AIF during World War II and was based in the Northern Territory, Dutch New Guinea and various locations in Indonesia.

After the war Wannan was employed by the Department of Postwar Reconstruction and, in 1952, he was one of the founders of the Australasian Book Society. In the same year he began to write regular newspaper columns for The Argus and, later, the Australasian Post.

During his career, Wannan collected over 10,000 folk stories, legends, ballads and samples of popular verse. This collection, and Wannan's commentaries, translated into numerous publications across more than four decades, beginning with The Australian: Yarns, Ballads, Legends and Traditions of the Australian People. Wannan's books continue to be re-published.

Most Referenced Works

Last amended 27 Jun 2011 13:28:39
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: