Graham was appointed the University of Newcastle's inaugural Professor of Fine Art following the amalgamation of the Hunter Institute of Higher Education and the University in 1989. It was a position he held until he retired around 10 years ago.
Graham was born in Queensland and always expressed great pride in his heritage, often telling stories of his father who was a forester and a knowledgeable bushman. His love of the bush was to have a significant impact on the University of Newcastle.
He trained as a sculptor in England, working for many years alongside Henry Moore, one of the most celebrated sculptors of the last century. He returned to Australia where he taught at the then College of Advanced Education.
His love of the bush influenced him to initiate courses in Plant and Wildlife Illustration as part of the Visual Arts program at the University of Newcastle. These courses have grown to become the Bachelor of Natural History Illustration degree program, the only one of its kind in Australia and one of only a few internationally.
Together, Graham and his partner Chris Sanders served the University of Newcastle for over 50 years.