en-us Inspired by Yarra

Chris Adnam

YOG 1978

Musician and Author

“There were paddocks and orchards everywhere back then.”

Since becoming a Yarra Old Grammarian, Chris Adnam, class of 1978, has explored Australia and explored his artistic passions. A published author and an accomplished musician, his early creative roots were encouraged at Yarra.

Chris arrived at the start of Year 5, coming from a state school he describes as ‘very tough’. At his new school, his talents for music, English and the arts flourished.

“I got through in class, but my focus was definitely the arts - pottery, painting, poetry and writing. A lot of my friends would collect out the front of the old Music School and play guitar. We had quite a community of musicians,” says Chris.

Chris admits he was a ‘bit wild’ but former Deputy Principal, Les Christie, was a friend of the family and saw Chris’s potential.

“I was a free thinker who didn’t fall into line and Les Christie liked the way I went about things. But he reminded me that sometimes you need to be reined in and do things you might not want to do,” says Chris.

During his teens Chris was a keen surfer and musician - and he still is. He learned to play the didgeridoo while living with an Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land and his musical peers include Shirley Strachan, Jimmy Barnes and Peter Cupples.

He has travelled the world teaching people how to play percussion instruments and the didgeridoo and has recorded three albums. The latest is Ocean Cowboy.

Chris continues to have an annual reunion with his Yarra classmates, and he has nothing but praise for his former School. And what’s his advice to current students?

“The opportunities are vast here. It’s up to you to think about what you can do with them. But if you think outside the box then the sky’s the limit,” he says.


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