From the Oral History collection: Jack Jenkins
John (Jack) Jenkins moved to Canberra from Sydney in search of employment as a 19 year-old in 1925. He worked as a carpenter on the construction of Parliament House and from 1929 to 1966 was the building’s chief maintenance officer. He retired that year and died in 1998.
In this edited excerpt from an oral history interview, Mr Jenkins recalls the opening ceremony outside Parliament House in 1927, particularly Nelly Melba and an old Aborigine known as ‘King Billy’ (whose real name was Jimmy Clements). Mr Jenkins’ reference to the nickname ‘Marvellous’ actually refers to another Aborigine, John Noble, who was also present at the opening).
Jack Jenkins was recorded for the Oral History Program by Ken Begg in 1996. The full interview can be listened to in the Australian Prime Ministers Centre. Please contact the Centre prior to your visit and quote the reference number OHI 11.