Author(s): Jonathan Persse
David Campbell (1915-79) was one of Australia's finest lyric poets. Born into a landed family, he was a grazier for most of his life in the Canberra and Bungendore district of the Monaro. He fought with the RAAF in the Second World War, rising to the rank of wing commander, and he was twice awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. Life on the land, writing, and wide friendships, followed.
Campbell published eleven books of poems and two of short stories. He was a regular contributor to The Bulletin, when under Douglas Stewart's literary editorship (1939-61) it promoted Australian writing. In those years, he had 135 poems included in The Bulletin, and seven short stories. He also occasionally had poems published in The Listener in England.
His poetry, much of it, was inspired by his love of the land, in all its forms, and by his belief in the unity of all things in nature. Though not conventionally religious, he was a true pantheist. He had friends in many fields and his influence on fellow writers was considerable, especially on the young poets in Canberra in the 1970s; they remember him still with gratitude and affection. He was a man of strong and highly individual personality and character, and wide achievement.