The Songwriters

This is the page with a link to each individual songwriter. From here you will be able to access a more detailed bio of each songwriter, audio files and sheet music for their entry in the Songbook, plus additional information and links to their own websites. To reach songwriters’ pages from a table format, click here to view the Songwriter Matrix page

Robyn Archer

Robyn Archer is often referred to as a national treasure. She is known to many for her one woman shows in the 1970s and 80s, by others for her original songs and recordings, and now by thousands more for her memorable arts festivals in Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania.

Jo Belford

In 1989 Jo Belford sent me the original lyrics and a cassette tape of the selected song Reclaim the Night and two others, Womanspirit and Beautiful Friend. In the decades between my original 1991 compilation of the songbook and this 21st century digital version, I have been unable to retrace the songwriter.

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown ‘With the dawn of middle-age it dawned on me that I had accumulated enough experience to let my own voice sing out with confidence about issues and perceptions that ahape my reality as a lesbian feminist -farmer-builder-teacher-mother-photographer-musician-social change activist.’

Caroline Bushby

In 1989 Caroline Bushby sent me an original song for inclusion in the First Australian Women’s Songbook.

Jan Cornall

Jan Cornall is a writer, singer, performance poet based in Sydney, Australia. Jan also mentors writers and artists and leads writer’s retreats in inspirational locations: Burma, Laos, Bali, Fiji, Vietnam and Morocco.

Deb Dare

Deb Dare (from 1989 letter): “I’ve been writing songs for 7 years now, political antinuclear/feminist music … solidarity songs, domestic violence, incest, South Africa, current Australian political issues, environmental and a growing number of spiritual/womyn songs”

Barbara David

In my first adult life I trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in order to teach music in high school. In the late 1980s i became involved in the lesbian community, in particular with Witch Theatre and the periodical Lesbian Network and was able to call on my training to write what i think of as patter songs for the frequent concerts and reviews we organised.

Sue Edmonds

Sue Edmonds formed several women’s musical groups in Tasmania and Wollongong NSW and toured nationally from the 1970s through to the 1990s. Her most famous song “The IPD” was recorded by Judy Small and became an international hit.

Lina Eve

Lina Eve (born 1946), an Australian artist, adoption activist, singer/songwriter, photographer and film maker, has been exhibiting and selling her work locally, nationally and internationally since 1994. … in Australia, a singer/songwriter, photographer, visual artist, and, most recently, as a film maker ‘ (Wikipedia).

Soledad Gallardo and Alba Martell

Soledad Gallardo and Alba Martell, Spanish speaking immigrants from Venezuela and Mexico, composed the lyrics of Aqui y Alla at the Bondi Senior Citizens Songwriting Workshop led by community musician Peter Winkler, Musician-In-Residence at Bondi Pavilion Community Centre in 1986-1987.


At the time when I first started writing and performing my songs, it was a need to express, create, cathart and politicise. There was a strong folk culture of singer/songwriters. I was inspired by Union songs and old folk ballads. I was also inspired by Feminist and First Nations song writers of the day.

Dorothy Hewett

Dorothy Coade Hewett AM (21 May 1923 – 25 August 2002) was an Australian feminist poet, novelist and playwright. She has been called “one of Australia’s best-loved and most respected writers” (Wikipedia accessed 17/07/2019).

Merriel Hume

Merriel Hume began her musical career on the Brisbane jazz scene, in 1966 competing in Channel 9’s Bandstand against Helen Reddy, who famously won a ticket to New York City and a record audition. Merriel sang professionally in top venues such as the Cloudland Ballroom.

Wendy Joseph

Wendy Joseph is a freelance songwriter, Workshop Co-ordinator and Community artist from Toowoomba, Queensland. Wendy describes her life path as ‘interesting’. Her songs arise from a strong sense of social justice. She is a volunteer presenter at 102.7FM Community Radio. She has had songs recorded in New Zealand, England and Australia by other artists.

Helen Kearins

Helen Kearins is a Sister of Mercy of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea. She has taught in primary and secondary schools in the Canberra – Goulburn and Wagga Wagga Dioceses. For the last thirty years she has been involved in various forms of Social Justice Education. She also works as a group facilitator and when time allows plays the guitar and writes songs.

Annie Kia

“Songwriting was something that emerged for me after I was in the Ash Wednesday bushfire 0f 1983. Songs would start to bubble up inside of me … I don’t think of myself as a songwriter, but as a woman, who, when inspired, writes songs. I love the way songs can evoke an emotional response in people”.

Margaret Kitamura

Margaret Kitamura started singing to student audiences at El Toro in Sydney in the early 60s before moving north, where she was a regular at the Brisbane Folk Centre … She supported American folk trio The New Lost City Ramblers when they toured Australia in 1965. According to the late Stan Arthur, she lost her voice in later years, left Australia, and found work with a drive-in church in the United States.”

Carmel La Franchi

 The year 1986 was International year of peace, during that time i travelled for several months with the peace train. The goal was to link up different peace movements and activists across the country. When I returned home I joined the peace choir.

Vi Lewin

This Aboriginal person, now passed away, was known as a singer-songwriter of the West. In 1989 she sent me this song about her home country in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following page contains images, names and voices of people who have died.

Jeannie Lewis

Jeannie Lewis is widely acknowledged as one of our most accomplished, versatile and passionate vocal artists, and a performer whose work crosses many musical boundaries.

Phyl Lobl

Phyl Lobl is an iconic singer – songwriter – teacher who has been active as a performer at Folk Festivals, mainly in Australia, since just before the first National Folk Festival 1967.

Kavisha Mazella

ARIA award winner and songbird Kavisha Mazzella’s original song’s lyrical ingredients include humour, poetry, social justice and the spiritual. Combine this prowess with the voice of an angel and you have the experience of a Kavisha concert.

Joy McKean

Joy McKean OAM, born 14 January 1930, is an Australian country music singer-songwriter and wife and manager of the late Slim Dusty. Known as the “grand lady” of Australian country music, McKean is recognised as one of Australia’s leading songwriters and bush balladeers and wrote several of Dusty’s most popular songs.[1] In 1973, she was awarded the first ever Golden Guitar, for writing “Lights on the Hill”. She was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown in 1983. Joy McKean continues to write songs to the present day.

Kath McMillan

Kath McMillan lives and works in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. “My songwriting began as mainly satirical, often rewriting well known songs to make a point.”

Rita Menendez

Rita Menendez was a political exile from Mexico, having been involved in anti-fascist movements and the renaissance of the Mexican Indian culture which her family was linked to..

Sue Moss, Fleur Bishop & Glenys Williams

Sue Moss, Fleur Bishop and Glenys Williams sent me a cassette. tape and the pictured manuscript in 1989.

Lynne Muir (formerly Tracey)

I performed around Australia and New Zealand with Eilin Begley, and with Denis Tracey and John Munro in the trio Tracey Munro Tracey. In 1991 we recorded the album ‘Red Fox’, the majority of tracks being my own material. Since then I have had a long career in classical choirs, singing with the ‘Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus’ for 25 years, and most recently the a capella group ‘Hamer Singers’. My day job is illustrating and designing books, calligraphy and exhibition art.

Pat Ann, Kelly and Mace

Pat Ann, Kelly and Mace were one of the many ensembles who formed and performed at women’s concerts and festivals over the decade following International Women’s Year. They sent me a song in 1989. I have since lost touch with them.

Anna Pemberton

In 1986, Anna Pemberton wrote and starred in a play at the Perth Playhouse, WA, called “A Day with Dora” : A Margaret River Musical.

Kerith Power

Kerith Power has been a songwriter/singer since 1966, performing in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. . As a member of the Nightcap String Band and later with Heroines Riding Bareback, she played at bush dances and folk festivals.

Chrissie Shaw

Chrissie Shaw‘s work encompasses theatre and music, choral direction, writing and producing new shows. She is described in Trove as ‘an Australian Actor, Composer, Devisor, Performer, Writer, Playwright, Musical Director, Producer, Lyricist ‘. The full record of Chrissie’s extensive catalogue of works is accessible on Austage, the The Australian Live Performance Database.

Judy Small

Judy Small is an Australian entertainer, folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist who later became a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Known and loved for her feminist, often patriotic (as opposed to nationalist) and political songs she is among the most popular political singers in Australia,


In the 1980s Sorell was a popular rock entertainer, active in NSW .She may have performed in one of the Lismore National Women’s Festivals. She sent me this song for publication at about that time. I have lost contact with this songwriter..

Kerry Steer

Kerry Steer sent me this sweet song of secret love, loss and landscape in 1989. The song was also received and recorded by prolific Bundaberg country music singer/songwriter Evelyn Bury.

Barbara Stephenson

Barbara Stephenson is a professional songwriter/singer who arrived from the UK in1969. She draws on her many years’ experience with a variety of styles having been a member of various bands covering, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Bush and Country. Barbara was the Artistic Director of the Nannup Music Festival for 12 years. Today she performs as a solo artist.

Jill Stevens

Jill writes songs about Australia’s rich history, wilderness wonders and sustainable land use, with a keen eye on the environment. 

Demeter Tsounis

Demeter Tsounis arranges and performs traditional and modern Greek music in the community. Her inspiration for composition comes from popular and folk music and the way it expresses diverse human experiences of community and identity. Demeter is the author of several publications on Greek-Australian music with a focus on traditional urban Greek music.

Ineke Veerkamp

Starting from a nursing background, Ineke has forged a life as a healer, musician, composer and catalyst for social change. “The directions of our mind and thoughts can profoundly affect our daily life. Singing affirmation chants will remodel our well-worn tracks of negative thoughts and beliefs into a powerful, self-affirming world view … These chants work powerfully to improve our experience of life.”

Fay White

“Fay White is a highly sought-after, acclaimed singing facilitator, singer and song-maker, who has worked tirelessly for 30 years to bring the experience of group singing into the lives of people and communities Australia wide.  She developed the concept of Vocal Nosh, and has been delighting groups of singers and audiences alike with both her leadership and performance of original and carefully chosen songs, for decades.”