Born 1949 in Sussex Inlet, NSW, Australia, and educated to High School Intermediate level, he worked around Australia in regional newspapers and freelanced for ABC country radio.
The qualities that made him an attractive proposition to this fair rag are those that – in an astounding career decision – kept him from ever visiting a capital city anywhere in Australia — ever!
A prestigious career led – at age forty-one, his prime – to reject editorial staff offerings from both the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, Melbourne.
An already established independent commentator on regional and country affairs, he’d fortunately already gleaned that those essential qualities of one’s astute vision of “the sticks” (aka country Australia, “the bush”) would be seriously compromised should he ever succumb to metropolitan sophistication – rendering null a unique and unequalled precision as a sardonic, parodic, affectionate observer of the fine folk ‘doing it tough’ in the fringes of wealth and comfort that metro-fortunates take for granted.
I saw, even while considering these (editorial job) offers that the immense purity of spirit in these tremendously generous and trusting people – alone on vast cattle and sheep stations, or, similarly deprived of infrastructure, the lonely denizens of dusty fringe townships – kept itself alive in an unwitting act of self-preservation by preventing them, blocking or removing the desire or urge, from ‘going to the big smoke.’
They simply don’t want to go to the city because they can read the signs – as they know the land and sense it’s signals, like they grasp the seasons of change and its signs of foreboding or bountifulness. Deep non-verbal messages warn them of a spiritual disaster should they venture toward urbanity.
And I knew, like a revelation (thank God!), that I, too, would be hopelessly corrupted by such a move. I would become an outsider to my people folk, losing my gift of innocence, unable to read or honestly fathom my battling kindred country friends ever again.
My essence would be lost, and I would – like so many city folk – be eternally adrift in a meaningless void of suffocating crowds, clamour, and consumerism.”