In 2010 my wife, Sylvia, and I bought a collection of old photographic negatives. These amazing images, mostly of Newcastle and the Hunter area of NSW, were highly relevant to my long career as a journalist at The Newcastle Herald, where I had often written historical features.
The photos changed our lives. We used them to publish a book, which led to another, and another, until by 2019 we had produced 11 books.
I left the newspaper in 2015 but the passion for history hasn’t left me, hence this blog.
Here I’ll be writing about items of historical interest that take my fancy, some relevant to the Hunter area but some from all manner of sources.
I hope you enjoy my posts, and that you explore the backlog of material on this website.
In my teens I fancied I might become a poet, but lack of courage and a strong interest in economic survival dictated that I explore other career avenues. These included labouring in heavy industry, clerical work in both the public and private sector, sales jobs (including telephone canvassing and door-to-door) and an abortive attempt to study at university.
At uni I lasted just two years of an economics/law degree, ultimately pulling the plug when I failed my elective subject – Family Law.
All the while I’d been applying for jobs in journalism and had accumulated an impressive collection of rejection notes when I suddenly scored a job as a cadet reporter back in my home town of Newcastle, NSW. That was 1984, and I’d found my career. I worked at The Newcastle Herald until 2015, as a reporter, chief of staff, columnist, magazine editor, feature writer and editorial writer.
I won some nice awards, met lots of wonderful people, tried to right some wrongs, made a few mistakes and had a lot of fun. Leaving my job was sad but necessary, given the way newspapers were heading in 2015 and given the arithmetical reality of redundancy pay. But I still love writing, so my blogs, our books and our website are my outlet.
My wife, Sylvia, and I publish books of historical photographs. We have three grown-up children and we live in Newcastle, NSW.