Kenneth Joseph Kenafick (1904–1982) was born in Norseman, Western Australia, and was a graduate of the University of Western Australia and Melbourne Teachers’ College. He taught at various high schools, higher elementary schools and correspondence schools in Victoria. As a young man he wrote poetry and a novel, and three volumes of his poems were published by Thomas Lothian in 1935–39 (under the pseudonym James Kennedy).

Kenafick was an active member of the Australian Labor Party and the Victorian Teachers’ Union. From 1943 to 1946 he was secretary of the No Conscription Campaign, which had been founded by Maurice Blackburn, and for many years he was secretary of its successor organisation, the League for Freedom (later the League for Freedom and World Friendship). He was the author of:

Maurice Blackburn and the No-Conscription Campaign in the Second World War (1948)

The Australian Labour Movement in Relation to War, Socialism and Internationalism (1958)

In 1968, following his retirement, Kenafick moved from Melbourne to Loxton, South Australia, where he lived for the rest of his life.


Kenafick began donating manuscripts, pamphlets, leaflets and serials to the Library in 1952 and numerous instalments were received in the next 25 years. They included not only older material, but Victorian election leaflets and other printed ephemera that he collected in the streets of Melbourne. He presented substantial collections of publications and papers in 1965–66 and 1975–76. Following his death in 1982, further papers were received from his executors.


Printed Material

Much of the printed material donated by Kenafick was not retained as it duplicated material already held, and the remainder was absorbed into the general collection. It includes pamphlets, leaflets, serials and in particular publications issued by socialist, communist, anti-communist and peace organisations in both Australia and overseas. In addition, there is a good deal of election material dating from the 1950s and runs of several newspapers, including the Loxton News (1967–75). Other publications included poetry, literary criticism and local history.

Manuscripts and Personal Papers

Extending from 1938 to 1974, the papers of Kenafick are extensive and include correspondence, diaries (1947–71), radio scripts, manuscript notes and drafts, subject files, minute books, newspaper cuttings, leaflets and pamphlets, and other printed ephemera. There are extensive records relating to the League for Freedom and World Friendship (1943–60), the Anti-Conscription Council of Victoria, the Australian and New Zealand Congress for International Peace and Disarmament, the Australian Peace Council and various socialist and pacifist organisations. There are also papers on education, including scripts for school broadcasts.


The printed material in the Kenafick Collection is mainly integrated in the Australian and general collections, although some of it can be found in the papers of Kenafick. The manuscripts and personal papers are held in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 2048. They occupy 86 boxes. A finding aid is available online at It should, however, be noted that it covers only part of the collection, as boxes 8–62 have not been listed.


First posted 2008 (revised 2019)