AustLit logo
NLA image of person
Denis Kevans Denis Kevans i(A4777 works by) (a.k.a. Peter Denis Kevans)
Born: Established: 1939 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, ; Died: Ceased: 23 Aug 2005 Sydney, New South Wales,
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.


Denis Kevans was a songwriter, actor and poet, commonly referred to as 'Australia's Poet Lorikeet'. He was well known for his commitment to Aboriginal issues, Irish political prisoners, the labour movement, environmental causes and republicanism.

Kevans attended schools in Canberra and Sydney and enrolled, initially, in medicine at the University of Sydney. After working for a time with the Department of External Affairs in Canberra, Kevans returned to the University of Sydney where he completed an arts degree and a teaching certificate. Kevans worked for many years as a teacher and a journalist while also writing poetry (frequently with anti-war or environmental themes). Many of Kevans's poems were set to music and recorded by Australian bands and musicians.

Kevans was chairman of the Sydney Realist Writers in the early 1960s. After he moved to Wentworth Falls in 1982, he wrote poems and songs for the Blue Mountains, two of which were chosen for the World Heritage Stones at Echo Point in Katoomba. He has also appeared in Reedy River for the New Theatre. He recited at the New South Wales Parliament Dinner for Gerry Adams (three times elected Member for West Belfast) in February 2004.

At the age of sixty-six Kevans died suddenly following complications from heart surgery.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

For Rebecca i "The weir is flowering black with teal", 1962 single work poetry
— Appears in: Realist Writer , November no. 10 1962; (p. 14-15)
1962 Winner Mary Gilmore Award Poetry
"Southern Melody" i "The lash, the chair, the stirrup and the gun", 1961 single work poetry
— Appears in: Realist Writer , May no. 6 1961; (p. 10)
1960 winner Communist Party of Australia Fortieth Anniversary Literary Competition Poetry Section
Conversation i "A big man came to me and said,", 1960 single work poetry
— Appears in: Realist Writer , vol. 1 no. 2 1960; (p. 36)
1960 winner Mary Gilmore Award
Last amended 25 Jan 2011 17:49:07
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: