John Kevin Raphael Doolan was born the eldest of two children in Brisbane, Australia on 14 June 1927. Known as Jack Doolan, he and his family lived at 'Papanui', Merton Road in South Brisbane.
Doolan enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on 8 March 1945 and was discharged on 10 February 1947. According to his Service Card (National Archvies of Australia (NAA): Series A6770), Doolan may have reinlisted from 1952-1956. Doolan's father, Septimus Raphael Doolan, had enlisted with the Military Forces on 9 March 1942. According to his Attestation Form (NAA: Series B883), he was widower at that time.
From 13 August 1977 to 2 December 1983, Doolan served two terms as an Australian Labor Party Member of the Legislative Assembly for Victoria River, Northern Territory.
Between Doolan's military service and life in politics, Doolan worked as a Patrol Officer and an employee of the Queensland Department of Native Affairs. During this time Doolan came into contact with Norman B Tindale (see AA 338) seeking advice intitially on how to begin a programme of research on the Aboriginal residents of the settlement. Tindale offered his assitance and supplied Doolan with magnetic dates to record oral histories with some of the Palm Islanders. These recordings assisted Tindale with his own research.
Doolan died in 1995.