Sir John Jensen.

John Klunder Jensen was born in Bendigo in 1884 but had to leave school at the age of 11 to find work following the early death of his father in 1895.

He moved to Melbourne in 1898 and in 1900 took a job as a junior messenger boy in the Defence Department’s ordnance stores branch at Victoria Barracks, which at a time was dispatching large quantities of ammunition and equipment to the South African Boer War.

A self-educated man, John eventually forged a highly successful career with the Department of Munitions, including during the critical war years.

A compulsive worker he presided from his office flanked by a ‘tin hat’, Bren-gun and portable typewriter.

Sir John Jensen was appointed OBE in 1938, and knighted in 1950, for his services to Australia.

John was also an active member of the Melbourne Walking Club from 1922 to 1938 and continued his interest in walking and the Australian bush until his death in 1970 at the age of 85.

He regularly went long treks lasting from several days, and up to a week at a time, which covered between 70 and 130 miles.

Luckily for us, John Jensen often carried a camera and tripod and fastidiously recorded his photographs in albums. But most significantly, his photos give us a glimpse into the forests before the devastating 1939 bushfires.

John Jensen sometimes contributed articles to “The Melbourne Walker” magazine and the club have generously placed his extensive collection bushwalking photo albums in the care of Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

They are also online:

Here is a just a sample from the Starvation Creek – Federal Mills Walk near Powelltown c 1922.

Victoria Barracks Melbourne – January 1940. The first bren gun made in Australia being inspected by (L-R) General Northcott, Brigadier Milford, Brigadier Combes, Mr John Jensen (controller general of munitions administration) and General Stantke. Source: AWM

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