Posted By John
Rex Ingamells

(Reginald Charles Ingamells)
1913 – 1955

Australian writer

REGINALD CHARLES INGAMELLS (Rex Ingamells) was an Australian poet and generally credited with being the founder of the Jindyworobaks Movement.

He was born in Orroroo, South Australia and gained his love of poetry at Port Lincoln High School. He attended the University of Adelaide and received his B.A. in 1934. Four years later he married Eileen Eva Spensley at the Methodist Church, Port Broughton located on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Ingamells unsuccessfully applied for a number of academic positions. Needing a job, he took work as a journalist, publisher’s representative and a commercial traveller.

During this time he wrote Gumtops and Forgotten People. In 1938 he published Conditional Culture as his manifesto on the impact of overseas influences on Australian culture. This newfound worry over losing Australian culture led him to found the nationalistic Jindyworobaks Movement. Rex and Ian Mudie wanted writers to portray Australian people and nature the way they truly are in Australia, not as seen from a Europeans perspective. An emphasis was placed on promoting Aboriginal culture and their relationship with the land as a way to recognize the importance of environmental values to Australia.

Rex, Ian and others wanted a fundamental break of Australian art and literature from English influences. Between 1938 and 1953, through his Jindyworobaks Movement as an editor and publisher he was responsible for over forty volumes of poetry and literary comment. The word Jindyworobaks, an Aboriginal word/phrase, was taken to mean “to join” or “to join together”.

Ingamells is the recipient of the Grace Levin Prize for Poetry (1945) and the Australian Literature Society’s gold medal (1951).

Rex Ingamells died in a car accident 30 December 1955 near Dimboola, Victoria Australia. He is buried in Payneham Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia.


Ingamells’ works include:

  • 1935  Gumtops
  • 1936  Forgotten People
  • 1938  Sun-Freedom
  • 1938  Conditional Culture (with Ian Tilbrook)
  • 1940  Memory of Hills
  • 1942  News of the Sun
  • 1943  Unknown Land
  • 1943  Content are the Quiet Ranges
  • 1944  Selected Poems
  • 1945  Yera: A Verse Narrative
  • 1948  Come Walkabout
  • 1949  From Phillip to McKell: The Story of Australia
  • 1949  Handbook of Australian Literature
  • 1951  Because Men Went Hungry: An Essay on the Uncertainty of Australian Prestige
  • 1951  The Great South Land: An Epic Poem
  • 1952  Of Us Now Living: A Novel of Australia
  • 1952  William Gay: Australian Man of Letters
  • 1952  Aranda Boy: An Aboriginal Story
  • 1954  Royalty and Australia
  • 1955  Australian Aboriginal words: Aboriginal-English, English-Aboriginal
  • 1987  Platypus and Kookaburra: Poem (published posthumously)

Back to Australian Writers

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *