Stuff about me

The beginning

In a rush from day one, Jackie was born at home, giving her mother no time to get to the hospital. Her great grandmother proved to be a splendid midwife!

Always a dreamer, it seemed inevitable that Jackie’s life would be all about stories. Although slow to read and write and get a fix on reality, eventually she made up for lost time and in her teenage years, became a voracious consumer of books and passionate about theatre.


So theatre it was. On finishing school she departed Melbourne for Sydney and completed the three year course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

Being an actress was fun for a decade but being at the beck and call of others rather than choosing the stories she wanted tell was not going to be her path. So at the completion of filming a horror movie called Next of Kin, where she was chased around an old house by a couple of psychopaths (NoK went on to become a cult classic), she headed off to explore the world.


Settling in Adelaide, she completed a Bachelor of Education (English Drama) and then, after working in secondary schools and teaching English to adults, drifted back to acting as the offers at the time were so tempting.

Oral storytelling

To cut a long story short, at some point between then and now, she fell under the spell of the oral tradition. The idea of crafting stories for telling became her thing. Telling stories has taken her to festivals around Australia, to Rome, Singapore and Tamil Nadu. She was president of Storytelling Australia Victoria for over four years both mentoring new tellers and supporting events for others to learn the craft.


In telling stories Jackie discovered her writer’s voice and stumbled into the realisation that oral storytelling is connected to the written - like blossom to fruit. After writing several prize-winning short stories for adults, she was drawn to non-fiction for children. Having a daughter who trawled the library shelves for true stories (talking emus dismissed with a pout) was definitely a motivation. Phar Lap the Wonder Horse and Lyrebird! A true story are both recognised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and have sold in the thousands.

So these days she wears two hats - author and storyteller.

What floats her boat

What sparks her interest are stories that bring people closer to nature. In recent years she has been focusing on developing stories with classical violinist collaborator and friend, Sarah Depasquale. Sarah and Jackie share a concern for nature and have joined forces in applying their skills in raising awareness for migratory shorebirds and habitat change. They have taken their shows to literary and folk festivals, performed in parks, cafes, galleries, museums, beaches, libraries, schools and kindergartens.


A restless spirit, Jackie has lived in all states and territories except Tasmania and the ACT. Currently she calls Melbourne (west of the river) home and loves riding her bike along the wetlands and bird watching. She cannot go past a botanic garden but her favourite landscapes are tidal estuaries. She likes growing fruit and vegetables and gives thanks to her local folk club, the Newport Fiddle and Folk, who encourage her to sing and play the ukulele.


Phar Lap (illustrated by Patricia Mullins publisher, Museums Victoria) was listed as a Notable Book of non-fiction by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2009.

 Lyrebird! a true story (illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe publisher, Museums Victoria) received an Eve Pownall Award for Information Books (Children's Book Council of Australia 2013) and a Whitley Awards Certificate of Commendation.

The Spirit of Woodford Performance Award for Original Stories and Yarns (2007 and 2012) Jackie is two time winner.

The Pat Glover Memorial Award (Port Fairy Folk Festival) in 2002, 2007 and 2009.

Memberships and affiliations

Barmah 2017.jpg