Campbell has undertaken post-graduate studies at The University of Sydney on contemporary Indonesian poetry from West Java. He worked in the Sydney offices of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic (later Multicultural) Affairs Department from 1987 to 2004. He began writing poetry (in English) of his observations and experiences there of migrant and refugee communities. This poetry first appeared in staff newsletters and ethnic language press publications, including newspapers, in Sydney. Initially in 1992, then again after 2001, he became interested in exploring the creative writing possibilities inherent in using the Indonesian language to write original poetry. From 2002 his Indonesian language poetry has appeared in Indonesian publications, including newspapers in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java. Campbell's M Phil thesis (2006) was published (in English) in 2008 by the German publisher VDM-Verlag under the title Contemporary Indonesian Language Poetry from West Java - National Literature, Regional Manifestations.
Of his writing in Indonesian he says: 'Over the last few years I have approached the writing of poems in Indonesian in a number of ways. Sometimes I have taken poems that I have written in English, primarily on multicultural themes, and developed these into new poems in Indonesian.
'As the poet, I am not constrained on these occasions by the need to adhere as closely to the original poem in English as a literary translator might need to. Indeed, given the different sound and grammatical structures of the languages, this is not possible. Rather, as in the case of my poem, 'Meninggalkan Beirut' (Leaving Beirut)-about a woman leaving Lebanon because of civil strife in the 1970s-I look to the particular qualities of various Indonesian words to produce new resonances of sound, imagery and pace, even if my aim is still to produce a moving poem about loss and involuntary flight.' (National Library of Australia News 16.1 October (2005):19-21).