Monday 24 July 2023

Obit - Jill Stubington, 1944 - 2023

Click images for larger size.

Video of Jill's funeral posted with permission of her daughter Clara Greo

Jill was a member of Wayne Richmond's Loosely Woven, & in August & September they will present a concert Waltz for Jill

Thanks to Wayne for providing these links - Wayne's photos of Jill in Loosely Woven & BMC's Heritage Ensemble & YouTube clip of Jill doing Stan Freberg’s hilarious parody of Banana Boat Song. 

Photos no.s 1-18 courtesy of Clara Greo

1.  Jill & her parents 1944

2.  Jill, brother John & parents, undated

3. Jill with her mother & brother John

4.  Jill, Clara & her parents 

5.  Graduation photograph of Jill

6.  Jill's mother Lucy, Jill, ?, John, dated 1986 

7.  Jill collecting 

8.  Jill collecting 

9.   Jill & Teoh's family group, dated 26-11-00

10.  Academics - John, Clara, ?, Jill, Teoh

11. Launch of Singing the Land

12. Launch of Singing the Land

13. Jill & Chester

14.  Jill & Hugo

15. Jill @ The Hut, Heritage Ensemble practice  (photo - Wayne Richmond) 

16. Jill & Helen Romeo, Heritage Ensemble (photo - Wayne Richmond) 

17. Heritage Ensemble rehearsal @ The Hut   (photo - Wayne Richmond) 

18. Heritage Ensemble (photo - Wayne Richmond) 

19. Folklore Collectors Forum UNSW, 4-6 Dec, 1987 (BMC Archives)

20. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

21. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

22. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

23. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

24. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

25. Jill & Wayne, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

26. Heritage Ensemble, 2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 

27.  2012 Heritage Ball (photo Sandra Nixon) 


Dr Gwenyth Jill Stubington (known as Jill)


Gwenyth Jill Stubington (known as Jill) was born in Brisbane in 1944 to Lucy and Frank Stubington. Her brother John was born a few years later.

She grew up loving playing the piano, and played her whole life. Open on her piano even now are the last few pieces she played - Beethoven’s Fur Elise, Puff the Magic Dragon (which she had practised to sing with her grandson Luca when he visited), and Billy Joel’s Goodnight my Angel.

Jill attended the Girls’ Grammar School in Brisbane. In the early 60s she worked at the ABC in Brisbane and studied at business college. She also matriculated at night school and finished her advanced music exams.


Jill moved to Melbourne 1965. She was lucky to get a position with Alice Moyle (an ethnomusicologist and founder of Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) in Melbourne from 1967 until 1973, which kickstarted her career working with First nations communities and their music.

She married her first husband David Lowery in the early 70s, and this marriage lasted 4 years.

Arnhem Land

In 1973 to 1975 Jill travelled to Arnhem Land to work with First Nations communities and make recordings with and for them. A lot of these relationships, learnings and recordings were used as the source material for her book. Jill’s colleague Dorottya Fabian said Jill’s book Singing the Land "is a treasure-trove of clearly narrated insights into music, rituals, and community. It is not only a testament to her sensitive, ethical scholarship and the love and admiration she felt for Aboriginal people but also a reflection of her discreet intellect.”. There are copies of Singing the Land available from Clara Greo, please get in touch if you're interested in one.

Jill married again in 1977 to Choon-Hooi Teoh. Clara (their only child) was born in June 1981.


Jill and her family moved to Sydney in 1983 for a job at UNSW, researching and teaching Australian folk music and Australian aboriginal music.

During this time she played in the concertina band, and in many bush music club folk dances through the years. She was later closely involved with Loosely Woven. Her beautiful Lachenal concertina will be coming back to the UK with her daughter Clara, a much treasured possession.

Unfortunately Teoh had a stroke in 1991 leading to a challenging time juggling work, teaching, writing, caring for her family and musical endeavours, alongside preparing the family home to be disability friendly.

In 1994 Jill and a student co-wrote the groundbreaking article Yothu Yindi's 'Treaty': Ganma in Music for Popular Music. This piece shows how Yothu Yindi’s album Tribal Voice (1991) already extended an invitation to all Australians to walk together.

Jill was head of music at UNSW for several years. She taught hundreds of students, supervised many PhDs and wrote many articles, before retiring in 2004.

Jill’s book, Singing the Land, was published in 2007.

Jill’s first grandchild Luca was born in the UK in 2016, and Jill spent great efforts getting to know and spend time with him - despite being on the other side of the world (Luca’s family was based in the UK). There was a second surprise grandchild, Ada, who was born in 2022. Jill was lucky enough to spend several months with Clara and her family after they moved back to Australia in 2023.

Jill died peacefully surrounded by her husband, friends and family in May 2023. She is, and will forever be, greatly missed.

Bye Jill, thanks for everything. (Alistair Grey, Clara's partner)


As a member of the Music Board of the Australia Council I was lobbying to have funds to Folk Music increased and found they would not fund Folk Festivals or Folk Clubs but would help fund a teaching position in a University for a Musicologist skilled in a related field.

Jill applied for and gained the advertised position at the University Of New South Wales.  As a Musicologist specialising in Aboriginal Music and with high personal attributes of integrity, commitment, balanced approach and the ability to play concertina, Jill contributed much to the Folk Culture here, especially in the area of Bush Dance. I valued her as a cultural contributor and as a friend.

Phyl Lobl



  1. She taught me ethnomusicology in the old huts at UNSW sometime around 1990 and 1991, and played in her UNSW bush band. A magnificent teacher and human being.

  2. Thanks for your memories, Ross, I'll pass them on to her family