Dr Jan Tent was born in Amsterdam, his parents originating from Groningen. Jan’s father worked for IBM in Amsterdam. In 1957 his father was made production manager of the IBM typewriter and punch card plant in Lidcombe (Sydney). The appointment was supposed to be for two years but stretched out to eight. During this time the family lived in Forestville where Jan attended school. In 1964, the family moved back to the Netherlands because the typewriter plant in Lidcombe ceased production. The family travelled back to the Amsterdam on the final voyage of the MS Oranje.
The family moved to Huizen, where Jan attended a local high school until January 1969 after which the family decided to migrate back to Australia. Jan completed his high schooling at the Forest High School, and then attended Macquarie University to study linguistics. In 1976 he was awarded a BA (Hons) Dip Ed. The following year he obtained a position at Sydney University teaching English linguistics. In December 1989, the program Jan was teaching in was discontinued due to funding cutbacks. After working part-time for a year on the Macquarie Dictionary, Jan secured a position teaching linguistics at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Jan and his wife, Judy, moved to Suva in January 1991. There they stayed for seven years during which their son, Adam, and daughter Vanessa were born. Jan was interested in varieties of English and set about researching Fiji English for his PhD, which was awarded in 2000 by the University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ.
In 1998 the family returned to Sydney where Jan secured a teaching position in linguistics at his old alma mater, Macquarie University. In 2014, Jan retired after 38 years of teaching. He now lives in Khancoban (at the southern end of Kosciuszko National Park), where he busies himself with researching and publishing in onomastics (the study of names) and toponomastics (the study of placenames). His main interest lies in toponymic theory, the toponyms of Australia and the Pacific (especially Dutch-linked placenames). He also continues to write and publish papers in historical linguistics. In addition to this he is the Director of the Australian National Placenames Survey (see www.anps.org.au), an honorary research associate at both Macquarie University and the Australian National University.
The following ar a range of downloadable papers from Jan Trent and some of his colleagues in relation to Dutch names and toponyms.