Vasyl Onufrienko was born in the Poltava region, Ukraine and educated through a teacher's institute correspondence course. Later he took up journalism and, in 1941, became the literary editor of a newspaper in the Poltava region. In 1942 Onufrienko was transported to Germany to work in a factory near Cologne. After the war he spent four years in displaced persons' camps where he continued his journalistic work. On 23 June 1949 Onufrienko departed Naples, Italy for Australia under the Displaced Persons Program with Maria Onufrienko. In Australia he was first employed as a timber worker, salesperson and clerk and later became an editor of the newspaper Vilna Dumka [Free Thought]. Apart from poetry, he wrote a comedy which was staged in Adelaide and Sydney. Onufrienko translated into Ukrainian several works of poetry by Australian writers.