Peter Draffin

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Peter Francey Draffin (25 March 1947 – 22 November 2019)[1][2] was an Australian author prolific in the 1960s and 1970s.

Peter Draffin
Peter Draffin in 2011.jpg
BornPeter Francey Draffin
25 March 1947
New South Wales, Australia
Died22 November 2019
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Pen namePeter Draffin, [sometimes] Julian Spenser
LanguageAustralian English
EducationTudor House School, Cranbrook School, Sydney, University of Sydney
Literary movementCounterculture
SpouseDianne Leslie Irwin (m. 1969, dec. 1986)
ChildrenChristabel Draffin

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Early years[edit]

His education began at Tudor House School in Moss Vale, New South Wales, and continued at Cranbrook School, Sydney, both of which list him as a notable alumnus.[3] Representing Cranbrook he achieved a 1st in the 1964 Australian Rowing Championships.[4] Described by rock climber John Ewbank as a "very eccentric young man" Draffin was also secretary of the Sydney Rock Climbing Club while at Cranbrook.[5]

He studied literature at the University of Sydney but, drawn more towards creative than academic pursuits, chose not to complete his degree.[6]

He married Dianne Leslie Irwin in Moss Vale in 1969.[7][8] His wife died on 7 February 1986.[9][10] Their only child is Christabel Draffin.[11][12]

Peak years[edit]

Draffin mostly wrote as Peter Draffin but sometimes under the nom de plume Julian Spenser.[13]

His most notable novel was the psychedelia-inspired Pop (1967), illustrated throughout by Yellow House Artist Collective founder Martin Sharp (also a Cranbrook alumnus) and published by Scripts Pty Ltd.[14][15] Pop became a beat book collector's item with the passage of time.[16][17][18]

Draffin and Sharp formed a lasting association through their collaboration for Pop. Draffin receives mention accordingly throughout Sharp's biographies by Lowell Tarling, to which he contributed commentary and interviews.[6][11]

With Draffin still in Sydney, Sharp recalled illustrating Pop partly while "tramping the hippie trail through Asia" with Oz magazine's Richard Neville.[6]

Once Pop was in the printers, Draffin left Sydney to join expat Australian arts comrades in Swinging London, stopping en route on the Balearic island of Formentara.

Sharp, by then already London based but craving sunshine, joined Draffin as his houseguest on Formentara and began writing the poem that lyricised Tales of Brave Ulysses, which Sharp later co-wrote for British rock band Cream.[6]

The pair's houseguest roles were reversed for London. In an interview Draffin recalled being Sharpe's guest at The Pheasantry at 152 King's Road, Chelsea, before being moved out to accommodate Eric Clapton.[6]

Others living at The Pheasantry at around this time included David Litvinoff who worked in artist Tim Whidborne's studio there, writer Anthony Haden-Guest, photographer Robert Whitaker, and Germaine Greer who was writing The Female Eunuch in a room there.[19][20][21]

Life at The Pheasantry placed Draffin and other residents at the epicentre of London's counter-cultural life.[22]

As an arts counterculture figure, Draffin was recognised as much as a face of the times as an author.[23] In that context he is mentioned in Yellow House co-founder George Gittoes' autobiography Blood Mystic (2016) and two Martin Sharp biographies.[8][6][11]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Draffin was a regular fiction contributor to K.G. Murray Publishing Company's Man magazine.[24][25][26] He wrote feature articles for the alternative/underground magazine Oz and lifestyle articles for Penthouse magazine.[27][26] He reviewed books for Phillip Frazer's counterculture magazine Revolution.[28]

Though some commentators have categorised Draffin as a pulp fiction writer,[29][30] his body of work is eclectic and includes poetry, such as his 1968 A Dream of You.[31]

Later years[edit]

As an Australian post-Beat Generation figure, Draffin became a favoured consultant and interviewee in later life, receiving credit from novelists and biographers researching the hippie and counterculture scene.[11][32][33]

Draffin was photographed with other notable Australians by Jon Lewis, for the Australian Bicentennial exhibition Face to Face – 200 portraits 1986-1988 which was purchased in 2001 by the National Museum of Australia.[34]

Draffin became teetotal for the last eighteen years of his life and still wrote daily, using manual typewriters, having always eschewed technology.[11]


His Sydney Morning Herald tribute attracted Australian arts figures, including some from Draffin's halcyon days, to his Chippendale memorial service on 2 December 2019.[1]

His books remain in Australia's State and National Libraries, while his portrait remains with the National Museum of Australia.[35][34][36][37][38]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Peter Francey Draffin". Sydney Morning Herald Tributes. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  2. Draffin, birth. 25 March 1947 (Family Notices, Fri 28 March 1947, P. 16). Sydney Morning Herald Archives 1843-1954. Trove, National Library of Australia.
  3. "Old Cranbrookians website". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  4. "1964 National Championships, Australian Rowing History". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  5. "John Ewbank - Ironmongers of the Dreamtime". Vertical Life. 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Tarling, Lowell (2016). Sharp: road to Abraxas. Part one: 1942-1979 : the biography of Martin Sharp as told to Lowell Tarling. ISBN 978-1-925416-58-9. OCLC 964201806. Search this book on Logo.png
  7. Peter Draffin, Dianne Leslie Irwin (1969). "NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages".
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gittoes, George; Adams, Phillip (2016). Blood mystic. ISBN 978-1-74353-480-9. OCLC 959961928. Search this book on Logo.png
  9. Draffin, Dianne Leslie. Death notice, 07 Feb 1986, late of Artarmon. (Notice printed 11 Feb 1986, Sydney Morning Herald.). "The Ryerson Index". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  10. Draffin, Dianne Leslie. Death notice, 07 Feb 1986, late of Artarmon. (Notice printed 11 Feb 1986.) Sydney Morning Herald Archives 1955-1995. National Library of Australia
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Tarling, Lowell (2017). Sharper 1980-2013: a Biography of Martin Sharp. La Vergne: ETT Imprint. ISBN 978-1-925706-17-8. OCLC 1084335022. Search this book on Logo.png
  12. "Christabel Draffin | London Makeup Artist | Fashion, Beauty, Red Carpet". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  13. "Julian Spenser: (author/organisation) | AustLit: Discover Australian Stories". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  14. Draffin, Peter (1967). Pop. Sydney: Scripts. OCLC 220697118. Search this book on Logo.png
  15. Draffin, Peter; Sharp, Martin (1967). Pop (1st ed.). London ; Melbourne: Scripts. OCLC 215614064. Search this book on Logo.png
  16. "Pop - A Novelty by Peter Draffin on BeatBooks". BeatBooks. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  17. "Peter Draffin, with Illustrated… - Estate of Jennifer Phipps - Mossgreen Auctions - Antiques Reporter". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  18. "Pop A Novelty by Peter Draffin, (Martin Sharp, illus.): (1967) | lamdha books". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  19. Weight, Greg. "Martin Sharp". MILESAGO. First published in Australian Artist. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  20. Bell, Lynne (31 July 1969). "Doctor who refuses to be type-cast". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 19.
  21. Kleinhenz, Elizabeth (2018). Germaine: the life of Germaine Greer. ISBN 978-0-14-378284-1. OCLC 1046086370. Search this book on Logo.png
  22. Décharné, Max (2005). King's Road: the rise and fall of the hippest street in the world. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84769-4. OCLC 954762096. Search this book on Logo.png
  23. Mellor, David; Gervereau, Laurent (1997). The sixties: Britain and France, 1962-1973 : the utopian years. London; Wappingers' Falls, NY: Philip Wilson ; Distributed in the USA and Canada by Antique Collectors' Club. pp. (P. 25 Draffin photo). ISBN 978-0-85667-467-9. OCLC 56068696. Search this book on Logo.png
  24. "The FictionMags Index". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  25. "Man: Australian Magazine for Men". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Stories, Listed by Author". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  27. "Oz Issue 26, March 1966". University of Wollongong.
  28. Frazer, Phillip (1971-03-01). "Revolution 2(2) March 1971". Revolution – via University of Wollongong.
  29. "Pulp Fiction". Lowest of the Low, Clinton Walker. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  30. Ra, Jo (2008-08-21). "Who are these people?". A World of Australian Pulp Fiction. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  31. Draffin, Peter: Australian Letters (periodical issue) vol. 8 no. 1, January 1968, pg. 67. "A Dream of You | AustLit: Discover Australian Stories". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  32. Lowell Tarling (2020). 1967 - This Is It. S.l.: ETT Imprint. ISBN 978-1-922384-13-3. OCLC 1142800905. Search this book on Logo.png
  33. Burrough, C. S (2014). Or forever be damned. ISBN 978-1-5008-6725-6. OCLC 896890074. Search this book on Logo.png
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Peter Draffin Portrait". National Museum of Australia.
  35. Draffin, Peter; Sharp, Martin (1967). Pop (1st ed.). London ; Melbourne : Scripts. Search this book on Logo.png
  36. Draffin, Peter. "Pop". State Library of New South Wales.
  37. Draffin, Peter. "Pop". State Library of Victoria.
  38. Draffin, Peter. "Pop". State Library of Queensland.

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