Paul Killingly has been an entertainer for most of his life. Starting in school productions, amateur theatre and ‘busking’, he began his professional career as a theme park actor in the street theatre at ‘Old Sydney Town’ – a recreation of Sydney when it was first settled by Europeans in 1788. It was here that he developed his love and knowledge of Australian history, portraying many of the era’s characters – convicts, soldiers, magistrates, freemen, sailors – and performing the songs of the day.
After 4 years at OST, Paul performed for some years in the ‘Jolly Swagman Show’ at the convict built Argyle Tavern in Sydney’s historic Rocks area. Here, Paul developed his Swagman character, which he has since presented in an educational context in schools all over Australia and also as an entertaining look at bygone Australia for seniors, tourist and corporate groups.
Armed with a wide repertoire of stories, yarns, poems, songs, facts, folklore and exaggerations, Paul combines his mastery of the peculiar Australian vernacular and his quirky Aussie humour with a surprisingly deft array of musical skills and ‘more front than the Sydney Opera House’ to deliver his truly unique performances.
Equally at home on the large stage or as a wandering performer, with groups small or large, young or old, corporate or community, Paul has a history of devising specific programmes for seniors, schools and a host of others, ranging from concerts and bush dances to unexpected interruptions and formal emceeing.
For 10 years, Paul was the ‘town crier’ for Sydney’s historic Rockdale region, officiating at Australia Day ceremonies and ANZAC Day functions continuously since the early 1990s, introducing Mayors, Governors, Parliamentary Members, dignitaries and special guests.
In 1992, he came third in the national Town Criers Championship, winning ‘best cry’ in the competition.
In his guise of ‘Swagman’, Paul has made several visits to the USA, including the 1989 Ohio State Fair, The Australian Festival in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the opening of the Australian exhibit at the National Aquarium in Baltimore in 2005.
Musically, Paul is a vocalist of some note and his skills include guitar, harmonica and didgeridoo. He has produced several CDs, performed in many bands – including the iconic Australian rock’n’roll band ‘Ol’ 55’ – and in 2005 was a Starmaker finalist at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.