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Open Right

John Kilner

Curriculum Specialist, Education Consultant, Journalist

John Kilner is a well known expert in the fields of media issues, writing analysis and persuasive writing. He worked for The Age for nineteen years, much of that time for the Education supplement.

What other jobs have you had?

Most of my work was with The Age newspaper over a 20 year period. In 2009, I started at the Foundation for Young Australians, helping to run a program called Worlds of Work [WOW] that helps young people visualise what their future could be like. Earlier, I was a tram conductor; teacher; mattress maker; beer maker. I once sold water melons on a nudist beach when overseas.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Critical thinking; nature of journalism; complex nature of issues; understanding how we can be manipulated by language. I was always interested in making the world a better place. I wrote letters to the editor when I was a child.

What have been the highlights of your career?

My son and I had a conversation when he was a child about refugees. It inspired me to make a book about refugees for younger readers. I also won the world award for use of the newspaper with children in 2002 through a children’s book week lift-out in The Age called “All About Books.”

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about young people being helped to think in the most creative and critical way they can. I am also passionate about history and I have great respect for those who came before us. We are just here for a little while and we are the sum of those who came before us. Our challenge is to make better what we pass on to our children.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

My favorite poem is by Adam Lindsay Gordon. His statue stands almost opposite the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne. It’s so simple. “Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.” I say that to myself often; I try to live by it.


I actually enjoyed John’s talk and found it to be very informative and interesting.

He was very pleasant and easy to talk to and obviously has many years’ experience doing what he does. As a presenter John was very professional, engaging and has an open and amiable style to his presenting.



—E. Dunn, Stonnington Library and Information Services, September 2017

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