Jo Gilbert is Jack O’Hagan’s granddaughter and knew him intimately. She manages the Jack O’Hagan Estate and official website and holds a large family collection of Jack’s music, photographs and memorabilia. She is in a unique position to share family insights and tell the story of the songwriter, composer and performer, a huge celebrity in his time whose songs are recognised as being of cultural, historical and aesthetic significance by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA).
Passionate about her subject, Jo spent over 10 years in research, was awarded a State Library of Victoria (SLV) Creative Fellowship to work on the biography, and was instrumental in negotiating the sale of a private collection, previously owned by the family, to the NFSA and National Library of Australia (NLA) in Canberra. She has worked with and interviewed those who knew Jack personally and professionally, including Barry Humphries, Bert Newton, author and performing arts historian Frank Van Straten, sound recording legend Bill Armstrong and many music, radio and theatrical academics, professionals, historians and collectors, the people of Gundagai, family members and many more.
Jo worked with Barry Humphries, writer director Rodney Fisher and musical director Vanessa Scammell on Peter and Jack, the story of legendary Australian stars Peter Dawson and Jack O’Hagan and Barry’s signature show as Artistic Director of the 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The sold-out show was narrated by Humphries and starred baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, soprano Greta Bradman, a cappella group The Idea of North and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Jo is also a professional business management consultant / brand strategist and spent 7 years as lecturer for Bachelor of Communication and Bachelor of Design courses for renowned Melbourne universities RMIT and Swinburne.
She created the official website, writes Jack’s Track, a digital newsletter for subscribers, and manages Jack O’Hagan social media on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.
Along the Road to Gundagai will be the first comprehensive biography, with sound and vision, of Jack O’Hagan.