Entertainer Ignatius Jones posing for camera against a bright neon backdrop.

Vale Ignatius Jones

 Thorsten Kaeding

NFSA Curator Thorsten Kaeding pays tribute to entertainment industry legend, Ignatius Jones.


Ignatius Jones (Juan Ignacio Rafaelo Lorenzo Trápaga y Estaban) was a singularly creative force in Australian music, publishing, theatre and television, a unique talent who pushed the boundaries and inspired people to embrace difference in a time when that took no small amount of bravery. 

Born in Manila into a creative family, Ignatius and his family migrated to Australia in 1963 when he was 6 years old.

In 1976 he helped found the seminal Australian shock rock group Jimmy and the Boys whose often outrageous live performances led to a cult following in Sydney and around the country. 

The following clip features rare live concert footage from the late 1970s of the band playing Bob Dylan's 'Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)':

Jimmy and the Boys perform 'Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)' (Bob Dylan, 1967), c1978. NFSA title: 780658

Their biggest hit came in 1981 when the Tim Finn written track ‘They Won’t Let My Girlfriend Talk to Me’ became a top ten hit in Australia.

Following the breakup of the band, Ignatius Jones began a solo career in 1982 achieving great success in the American gay dance club scene. By the mid-1980s Ignatius and his sister Monica Trapaga were at the forefront of swing jazz in Australia with their band Pardon Me Boys who had a brief but profound impact on this nascent scene.

In the clip below, they perform the 1941 Glenn Miller Orchestra classic 'Chattanooga Choo Choo': 

Pardon Me Boys perform 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' on SBS's Kulture Shock, 1986. NFSA title: 553196

As well as his musical pursuits, Ignatius was a prominent and entertaining music journalist for publications such as RAM, Stiletto and The Edge. He was also a frequent presence on television, whether as a reporter on the SBS Kulture Shock program, and he contributed 'Yesterday’s Hero' to the Strictly Ballroom (1992) film soundtrack.

The following clip features Ignatius presenting a report on the swing music revival that happened in Australia in the mid-1980s: 

Ignatius Jones reporting on the swing music revival in Australia for SBS's Kulture Shock, 1986. NFSA title: 553196

His later exploits in theatre and event management continued his uniquely creative career, including as one of the creative directors for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

In 2021 the National Film and Sound Archive received a collection of material from Ignatius for addition to the national collection. This included multitrack recordings, master tapes and film clips from his solo career as well as the bands Pardon Me Boys and Jimmy and the Boys. We are honoured to be able to preserve the legacy of a truly remarkable career.