Recommendations – Primary

“His handling of the children was excellent. They sat enthralled.”

Iola Warner, Port Pirie PS, SA.

“We used it for discussion, social studies, music, poetry and report writing. His rapport with the students was excellent. He has a nice manner and the kids were very engaged. The participation was great, and for our school band hearing other writers’ songs was very useful. And it’s good to get away from the same old stories and hear something different.”

Edi Upper PS, Vic.

“It was terrific for curriculum. Discussions arose from speaking about life experiences. The children completed a story related to a possession of their own. His rapport with the students was brilliant. Jan was extremely relaxed, enthusiastic, and very friendly.”

Elisha Eddie, Waaia-Yalca South PS, Vic.

” The stories got the children hooked straight away…Jan was able to quickly build a rapport with the children and the frank and honest answers to questions was great…excellent use of common articles for music…every child wanted to be in the show. Overall a very entertaining and educational show. Jan demonstrates a diversity and richness of the Australian character.”

Denis Brown, Sth. George Town PS, Tas.

“A great show – both staff and children thoroughly enjoyed it and all were totally immersed…lots of good props to hold the children’s interest.. (they).. enjoyed the rhythms and joined in the singing most enthusiastically. It was most useful for our SOSE program, and pleasing to see the children responding most attentively to the stories.”

Susan Olley, Wilmot Rd. PS, Tas.

“Useful for curriculum in boundless ways: environmental issues, Aboriginal perspectives, language, arts, music, storytelling and technology with the construction of musical instruments.”

Jane Wilson, Black Forest PS, SA.

“The performance was excellent, and it fitted in with our unit of work on early Australian explorers. Students were continually engaged, keen to participate and actively involved throughout the show.”

(Jan Chalmers, Heathdale Christian College)


“It was a good foundation for students general knowledge and association to our Aboriginal unit.”

(Lisa Ashen, Essendon PS)


“Highly useful! Gave children a unique perspective of how Melbourne evolved and of the uneasy relationship between cultures. The children listened intently and Jan had their attention for the full session. We loved the printed images on shirts and signposts to reinforce the information.”

(Adam Watman, Caulfield Grammar)

“Very good. The students were continually engaged, they didn’t fidget, and were keen to participate. I were very impressed with the show.”

(Robert Kingston, Heathdale Christian College)

A wonderful combination of characters, music, information and amusing drama, with students joining the performance, taking on various character roles and actively discovering the amazing journeys of many immigrants who arrived on our shores during the gold rush. Audience members participated by taking on roles as protesting diggers and voicing their displeasure at government demands for the cost of purchasing a miners license. It was something students and staff all enjoyed.

Cathy Samson, Castlemaine North PS


Dear Jan,
Thank you for your performance at Cheltenham Primary School. It was much enjoyed by staff and students alike. You encapsulated the aspects of the gold rush (geographical, social historical, economic and political) all in one, which was great. Sometimes the students need to see a play/ performance rather than something ICT focussed to get a real immersion in a topic.

David Senior


Thank you so much for such an enjoyable session last week. Your performance was very engaging, concise and thought provoking. The material directly linked to our classroom activities (based on the DVA ‘Investigating Gallipoli’ programme) and highlighted the human side of war and involvement both for those directly involved and those at home. Thanks again for such an exciting performance.

Julie Macpherson
Grade 6 Teacher
Australian International Academy

Recommendations – Secondary

Dear Jan

We had a chat about your presentation in the staff room this morning. Everyone thought that you hit the right spot with our students. A couple of kids spoke to me during the day and were fascinated by the quirky stories and the range of musical instruments you played. Year 9s are a notoriously difficult audience and you were able to capture their interest with your stories – particularly the one about the taipan! They were certainly challenged by the themes of being Australian that you presented. Thank you again for a very entertaining time.

Dana, Brentwood Secondary College

“Highly useful! Gave children a unique perspective of how Melbourne evolved and of the uneasy relationship between cultures. The children listened intently and Jan had their attention for the full session. We loved the printed images on shirts and signposts to reinforce the information.”

(Adam Watman, Caulfield Grammar)

“…a breezy and brilliant piece of troubadour theatre. As with the very best of theatre ‘BUCKLEY’ covers its tracks so well its agenda remains a secret – buried beneath layers of entertainment, comedy, story and song. A show worth tracking.”


“.. a vivid tale, often spiked with larrikin humour, this is an educational and entertaining take on a classic Australian story.”
(The Age)

“It tied in with our study of Melbourne for our year 9 program. Jan had an excellent manner and a good presence. The students were relaxed and attentive, with good use of space, practical visual aids, and interesting detail on the characters involved, followed through to the end of their lives. Look forward to seeing you next year.”

(Mary Bullock, Braemar College, Woodend)

“ ‘Buckley’ was well researched and linked into our history program very well. His preparation of the participating students was professional and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’

(Roger Crabtree, Eltham College of Education)

“The students were uncertain to start with, but they warmed up. It fitted in perfectly with year 8 Humanities studies on local history.”

(H. Boundy, Woodleigh School)

“It’s obvious that Jan has worked with many school groups before, with his good rapport and ability to keep the attention of the students.”

(Scott McNulty, St Joseph’s College, Geelong)

“Thanks, really enjoyed the presentation. It tied in well with class content and helped give students a greater understanding and appreciation of the characters involved in the settlement of Victoria.”

(Peter O’Connor, St Joseph’s College, Geelong)

“Excellent. It supported what we had learnt in class and Jan was both commanding and credible to the students.”

(Jennifer Todd & Shelley Mulvenna, Karingal Park SC)

“I have seen Jan’s Lest We Forget performance twice. Once in a venue at Eceabat and then again at the Dawn Service with a group of fellow travellers to Gallipoli. I can say with certainty that its combination of shared commemoration with the Turks, its multi-layered tributes to the spirit of reconciliation and the memory of those who were sacrificed moved everyone present.

Jan’s work is ingenious in being able to capture both the Anzac and Turkish experience and present it in a way that is totally accessible, engaging, and respectful but at the same time quietly theatrical. His pre-Dawn Service performance is in perfect harmony with the occasion and provides the gathering with an appropriate level of focus, sensitive to the tone of the occasion. Jan is a true latter day troubadour in the tradition of Australian Bush poets and Turkish ‘ozans’ and “ashiks’. I hope he can become a regular fixture at Anzac Cove’s Dawn Service.”

(Harvey Broadbent, author and producer of Gallipoli writings and documentaries)

“We have never met, but my family and I had the great pleasure of seeing your performance at last Friday’s Gallipoli Dawn Service. It was truly a memorable event, and in some way, even more moving than the ceremony itself. The combination of your tribute, the location, the cold, the serenity and the saturation of Australian pride made the whole event well worth the long trek. And please don’t think that the darkened audience beyond your sight didn’t share our emotion. Let me assure you that certainly all those that surrounded us were totally captivated and completely focused on your entire performance. So on behalf of my family, I congratulate you in producing what will go down as a very ‘special’ piece of Australian literature.”

(Peter Eichorn, Blue Mountains, NSW)

“It was a clear, simple outline of what happened at Gallipoli…the students were really engaged and attentive, and the discussion afterwards was really positive…very positive feedback from staff who attended.”

(Sue Wooley, Fintona Girls School, Balwyn)

“Excellent. Gave students a hands-on and visual experience of Gallipoli and events surrounding this time. Students responded really well to Jan as they were genuinely interested in the presentation.”

(Jayne Sheumack, St Francis Xavier College)

“Excellent. This provided students with an overview of Gallipoli, and a solid basis from which to begin their study. The student behaviour was a solid indication of their interest and respect for Jan.”

(Sarah Morgan, Ringwood Secondary College)

“It fitted our curriculum perfectly. The combination of narrative, song, poetry, student involvement, and props actively engaged the students and allowed them to consider the Gallipoli ‘experience’ from different points of view. They were thoroughly engaged and interested!”

(Catherine Judd, Siera College)

“Some of the students were unsure what to expect but once Jan started they were very interested. The songs were really clever, and the students enjoyed the participation aspect. Thanks for coming out, I really enjoyed the performance.”

(Angela Marsden, Lilydale High School)

“An excellent combination of role-playing, music, poetry and visuals, and the girls enjoyed being an integral part of the performance. The stories came from the finest form of oral tradition, and we’d definitely invite Jan back to do more.”

(Alex Radovanovic, Melbourne Girls Grammar)

“Great for SOSE/ Australian history/ English. Jan held their attention extremely well, and the stories challenged the students to think. Involving students was fantastic as students related to their peers.”

(Shirl King, Dimboola Secondary College)

“Students loved the show and they thought Jan was great, and having students involved in the performance showed that this was cool. The performance was excellent; varied and relaxed but quite structured.”

(Neil King, Horsham College)

“Very good. Provides a pleasing alternative to class work and gave some freedom and expression to other ‘intelligences’. The rapport with the students was really positive, and the large groups after recess and lunch were managed very effectively.”

(Graham O’Rourke, Xavier College)

“Thanks you for giving Lest We Forget as the keynote presentation at the HTAV’s 25th Anniversary Conference. I heard lots of positive comments, some of whom said it was moving and informative as well as entertaining. I think academic conferences benefit from an artistic perspective and I think participants would have had their hearts and imaginations kindled by your performance. Thanks you also for being well organised and making the process so smooth from an administrator’s point of view.”

(Ingred Purnell, History Teachers’ Association of Victoria)

“AS a context for students to explore and understand Australian history it was excellent.”

(Ian Tymms, Woodleigh School)

“It was a brilliant production and we will certainly book Jan again. I was very impressed with how Jan involved our students in the presentation. Jan had total control, they were silent, listened attentively, and the questions were deep and meaningful.

(Billanook College)

“Jan’s use of primary sources, such as literature and song from the period, provided students with the Turkish and Australian perspectives untainted by time or the subjective nature of historical analysis. It was a great way of learning, and can have a greater impact on younger students who sometimes have a negative view of history.”

(Gerry Martin, Port Phillip Leader)

What it highlights is that the realities of what happened at Gallipoli are far more complex than the traditional account of the Anzac experience. It gives the Turkish view too … and brings to the fire a range of responses, which is what a balanced view of history is all about.

(Michael Spurr – Director History Teachers Ass. of Victoria, 2007)