Artworks donated by Mr John Bingham

John Oxley Library staff member Dianne Byrne visited Pialba last Saturday to meet a very special donor. He is Mr John Bingham 95, author and artist who for many years has been a popular resident of the Fraser Coast.

Mr John Bingham at home with his artworks.

"Jack" Bingham served with the RAAF during World War Two and was captured by the Japanese in Batavia (Dutch East Indies). He was imprisoned in Changi and sent to work on the Burma Railway. The story of his time as a POW and his courageous escape is recounted in his book My Life (2008).

Now in retirement after a long career as an engineer John Bingham devotes his time to producing vivid and expressive landscape paintings. Two of these have been generously donated to the John Oxley Library by their creator and the Library is honoured to accept them. They are full of the great charm, good spirits and love of life of the extraordinary man who made them.


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Does the library have a copy of Jack's book?

Hi CalumThe State Library has just obtained a copy of Jack's book. It should be searchable in our catalogue soon.We also hold copy of an earlier book by Jack From India to Burma via England (2001).

I really recommend Jack's book as it show his true determination and hardship of overcoming and escaping from being a POW.

I have had the privelege of knowing and respecting my much loved 'Uncle John' Happy Jack Bingham for nearly 43 years. The links below to articles in the Fraser Coast Chronicle tell the last part of his story, sadly ended on 16th March 2010.When we last got together in late January this year, he told me that having his paintings exhibited in the State Library was the pinnacle of his achievement in painting 'To have my work hung in such an important place has truly made my life'. At that time he said there were simply not enough hours in the day and he was busy working frenetically in order to give Di Byrne 'more to chose from' should she want more paintings for the collection.…

Dear LynnDianne Byrne spoke to me about the passing of your Uncle last week. She was very saddened and said he was the kind of person you never forget meeting. I could certainly feel something of that conveyed in the photos that Dianne took on the day she came to visit him.Thanks for including the links to those articles. Thank you also for letting us know how much it meant to Jack to have his artworks added to the John Oxley Library collection.We are comforted by the fact that Jack's legacy will live on with his family and friends and for future generations who learn about his remarkable life and come to see his artworks in the John Oxley Library.Please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss.Kind RegardsSimon FarleyManager Client ServicesHeritage Collections

Thanks so much for your kind words Simon.I should set the record straight - 'Uncle John' was my adopted uncle from a childhood spent in Darwin during the late 60's and early 70's. Bone fide relatives were very thin on the ground so it was natural to 'adopt' John and Peg Bingham as they were great friends of my parents Peter and Pam Phillips. Whilst not a blood relative, we kept in touch and I feel close enough to qualify. I will certainly miss him, but am in very good company there.

Thanks very much Lynn.All the bestSimon

Grandpa John continues to amaze and inspire me after he has gone. I am so proud that his story and art work is valued and kept by the John Oxley Library for all to learn of this incredible man. I will always be grateful that he came to be my beloved grandpa, as the stepfather of my mum. He was truly my grandpa and is loved and missed by us all. Words cannot express his presence, the experience of knowing him, and how he brightened all who met him. We love you Johnny, and we are so proud. Renae X

Thanks for sharing this Renae. I thought of Jack on ANZAC Day.Best RegardsSimon