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Mike Jackson (Australian entertainer) facts for kids

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Mike Jackson
Born (1946-11-23) 23 November 1946 (age 76)
Fishtoft, Lincolnshire, England
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Occupation(s) Children's entertainer, recording artist, songwriter, radio show host
Instruments Anglo concertina; Autoharp; Bandoneon; Bodhran; Bones; Hammered Dulcimer; Harmonica; Hurdy-gurdy; Jaw Harp; Kazoo; Melodeon; Mountain Dulcimer; Ocarina; Spoons; Ukulele; Vocals
Years active 1971–present
Associated acts Mike and Michelle Jackson, Colonial Experience, Pageant, The Higgins Municipal Bush Band, Mike Jackson and Peter Hayes, Mike Jackson and Thom Jackson

Mike Jackson OAM is an Australian children's entertainer, recording artist, songwriter, radio show host, and author. He is perhaps best known for his version of Bananas in Pyjamas and appearances on ABC Television.


Early years

Melbourne-based Jackson (born in Fishtoft, near Boston, Lincolnshire, UK) immigrated to Australia in 1970 as an assisted migrant with wife, Lynn on board the P & O ship, SS Himalaya.

The pair settled in the Sydney suburb of Mosman and there, at the Elizabeth Hotel Folk Club in the centre of town they rediscovered the folk music Jackson had grown up with through his grandfather's singing and playing.

Having taught himself harmonica in high school and acquired a taste for comic songs from his grandfather and the radio, he branched out onto other instruments and acquired a reputation for being able to get a tune out of almost anything.


In 1972 the pair moved from Sydney to Canberra with Jackson's work as a salesman and their interest in folk music grew as he began regularly playing at sessions and singing and playing at folk clubs. This was the same year Jackson performed his first professional gig at The Dan O'Connell Hotel in Melbourne suburb of Carlton.


Jackson began hosting and presenting the radio programme The Lark in the Morning on Canberra public radio station 2XX FM, a programme which continues to run to this day. During this time he founded Pageant.


1974 was the year Jackson cemented his status as a recording artist and regular radio show host. He performed his first solo performance at a National Folk Festival, performed as a backing musician on the Larrikin Records album Man of the Earth, and Pageant released an eponymous album of unaccompanied harmony songs.


Jackson founded The Higgins Municipal Bush Band, which consisted of three of Pageant's members. Often, concert, dances and festivals would feature both solo performances by the band members plus items by the two bands.


Pageant gave its last performance at that the 1976 National Folk Festival. Using the advice from mentor Alex Hood, an Art's Council grant to tour 13 regional schools and a full diary of bookings, Jackson resigned his position as Area Sales Manager and became a full-time professional musician/entertainer.


In 1979, Jackson met Michelle Freeman on stage at the Kapunda Celtic Music Festival and they soon married.


In 1980, while looking for Australian songs for their first album for kids, Jackson wrote his first song: "The Bondi Tram". It was written on a paper tray mat at 2am in a cold motel room in the Sydney suburb of Miranda. During the same year and inspired by British album The Funny Family, Mike and Michelle Jackson recorded their first children's album Bunyips, Bunnies and Brumbies, an album which went Gold.

They toured Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US almost non-stop for seven years. ..... In 1986 the pair went their separate ways.


Finalist ARIA Award for Best Children's Album for Rufty Tufty.


Received 2013 National Folk Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award.

Festival Director, Sebastian Flynn read out this preamble before presenting the award to Jackson: "The most recently established award is the National Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. It is awarded to an artist of long-standing for his or her lifetime contribution to enriching the culture of folk music and arts in Australia, together with an ongoing contribution to the National Folk Festival. The inaugural recipient in 2013 is a worthy awardee on both of these counts and has also been a unique example in nurturing the talents and enthusiasm for folk music in young people over many years. He has travelled the length and breadth of Australia as well as being a wonderful ambassador for Australian folk music during his extensive travels overseas. He is said to have played 'live' to more children than the Wiggles and is a generous performer who connects with people of all ages and walks of life."

2015 Australia Day Honours

Presented with Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division.

The citation read: "Mr Mike Jackson. For service to the performing arts as a musician, composer and entertainer."

Groups/Bands including Jackson

Colonial Experience

In early 1973, Jackson joined the Monaro Folk Music Society's Bush Dance Band Colonial Experience. At that time, there was increased interest in traditional folk dance in Australia so the band played regularly at Woolshed dances and weddings. They never recorded but were among the bands invited to test the acoustics of the Concert Hall in the Sydney Opera House before it was officially opened.


Jackson founded the 6-piece a cappella group Pageant in Canberra, Australia late in 1973, with their first performance taking place at the Wagga Wagga Folk Festival. Originally formed to sing Christmas carols, Pageant rapidly expanded to singing songs gathered from, and inspired by, English bands like Steeleye Span, The Watersons, The Copper Family and others. Pageant recorded one self-titled album (Pageant) in 1975 and played numerous festivals before disbanding after their last performance at the 1976 Australian National Folk Festival.

The Higgins Municipal Bush Band

Jackson's next band, The Higgins Municipal Bush Band, performed on National Television within twenty minutes of their first meeting. As part of the publicity for the 1975 Australian National Folk Festival, the members of the band had arrived separately at the TV studios to dance for another band which failed to show. So, they hastily grabbed their instruments, invented a name and performed as if they were a long established band. Once formed, the band performed together almost weekly for several years despite living in towns spread across 1000 km (Gosford, NSW; Canberra, ACT; Steiglitz, VIC).

Duos featuring Jackson

  • Mike and Michelle Jackson
  • Mike Jackson with Peter Hayes
  • Mike Jackson with Ian Blake
  • Mike Jackson with Rowan Hammond
  • Mike Jackson with Diane Hill
  • Mike Jackson with Thom Jackson


Jackson plays the following instruments: anglo concertina, autoharp, bandoneon, bodhran, bones, hammered dulcimer, harmonica, hurdy-gurdy, jaw harp, kazoo, melodeon, mountain dulcimer, ocarina, spoons, ukulele.

Other performance skills

String games, juggling, storytelling, poetry.



  • Man of the Earth (backing vocals and various instruments)
  • Pageant
  • Revived and Relieved (various instruments)
  • No Man's Land'(backing vocals and various instruments)
  • Patchwork
  • Bunyips, Bunnies and Brumbies (Gold Disk)
  • The Roaring Days
  • Ain't it Great to be Crazy (Gold Disk)
  • Dances for Little Kids Vol.1 (Gold Disk)
  • Car Tunes
  • Riding Along
  • Who Built the Ark?
  • Sleepytime Songs
  • Afloat in a Boat
  • Rufty Tufty
  • Concert for Little Kids
  • Mulga Bill's Bicycle
  • The Animals Noah Forgot
  • Toy Box Bop
  • Dances for Little Kids Vol.2
  • Waltzing Matilda
  • The Loaded Dog
  • The Man from Snowy River
  • The Old Bark School
  • Bedtime Songs
  • I'm a Nut!!
  • Dr Knickerbocker
  • Uke'n Play Ukulele
  • Singing in the Night Time
  • Uke'n Play Ukulele for Kids
  • Uke'n Play Country Ukulele
  • Uke'n Play Ukulele Supa Easy Ukulele
  • Uke'n Play Ukulele Omnibus Edition
  • Uke'n Play Christmas Ukulele
  • Uke'n Play Ukulele for Teachers
  • Mike Jackson's Best Ever Kids' Songs (Book plus two CDs)
  • Come on and Move Your Body
  • Oopsy Daisy



  • Crackers (1998) – Music only


Channel 9
  • Moby Dick (1998) – Billed as Michael Jackson
  • Red Faces ("Hey Hey Its Saturday" segment)
  • Over Ann's Rainbow


  • ABC for Kids Video Recordings: Mike Jackson's Concert for Little Kids

Awards and nominations

ARIA Music Awards

Year Nominated works Award Result
1993 Rufty Tufty Best Children's Album Nominated
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