Jeff St John

Jeff St John (born Jeffrey Leo Newton; 22 April 1946 – 6 March 2018), was an Australian musician best known for several Australian hits, such as "Teach Me How to Fly" (1970), "Big Time Operator" (1967)[1] and "A Fool in Love" (1977).[2]

Jeff St John
Jeff St John performing at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games
Background information
Birth nameJeffrey Leo Newton
Born(1946-04-22)22 April 1946
Newtown, New South Wales, Australia
Died6 March 2018(2018-03-06) (aged 71)
Perth, Western Australia

Early life

St John was born Jeffrey Leo Newton[3] on 22 April 1946, in Newtown, Sydney and attended Cleveland Street Boys High School in Surry Hills, New South Wales. He was born with spina bifida and spent much of his life in a wheelchair.

Music career

St John appeared with a number of bands during the late 1960s and early 1970s including; John The Syndicate aka The Wild Oats (1965), The Id[4] (1966–67) with Bob Bertles (tenor sax '67), Jeff St John & Yama (1967–68), Jeff St John & Copperwine (1969-72), with Harry Brus (bass 70-72) and Wendy Saddington (co-lead vocals 70-71), Jeff St John Band (1972–73) and Red Cloud (1975–76)[5]

In 1980 St John was the subject of an episode of the documentary series The Australians presented by Peter Luck. The episode was titled "Jeff St. John – Rock 'n' Roll Man"[6]

In 1988 as part of Australian Bicentenary celebrations along with many other Australian celebrities, St John took part in a video shoot at Ayers Rock called Celebration of a Nation.[7]

St John was involved in educating people about disabilities and was a member of spina bifida support group MOSAIC.[2] He appeared at the opening of the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney where he sang the Australian National Anthem.[5][8], and a song written for the opening ceremony called The Challenge.

St John's autobiography, The Jeff St John Story: The Inside Outsider, edited by James Anfuso, was published by Starman Books in 2015.[9]


Jeff St John died in the morning of 6 March 2018, at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.[10][11] His death was caused by a bacterial infection following surgery.


  1. "The Sydney Morning Herald – Apr 20, 1989". 1989-04-20. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  2. Jeff St John – Live
  3. Jack Russell (1973-12-27). "Jeff St John". Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  4. McIntyre, Iain (2006-01-01). Tomorrow Is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, 1966–1970. Wakefield Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 9781862546974. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  5. Jeff St John
  6. Stephens, Tony; Luck, Peter, 1944–2017; Levy, Curtis; Stephens, Tony, 1939– (1981), The Australians, Lansdowne Press, ISBN 978-0-7018-1551-6CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. White, L., The Bicentenary of Australia: Celebration of a Nation in Fuller, L. K. (Ed.) (2004) National Days, National Ways – Historical, Political, and Religious Celebrations Around the World. p33 ISBN 0275972704
  8. Gilbert, Keith D.; Schantz, Otto J.; Schantz, Otto (2008). The Paralympic Games: Empowerment Or Side Show?. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. pp. 21–. ISBN 9781841262659. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  9. St. John, Jeff; Anfuso, James Vincent, (editor.) (2015), The inside outsider : the Jeff St John story, [Tuart Hill, Western Australia] Starman Books, ISBN 978-0-9922758-1-5CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. Baker, Glenn A. (2018-03-08). "Jeff St John, musician proved disability no hurdle". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  11. Cashmere, Paul (2018-03-06). "R.I.P. Jeff St John 1946–2018". Retrieved 2018-03-09.
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