About Me

At 43 years old, I started my first full time ‘real’ job in 2013, with superannuation, holiday pay and the whole nine yards. I am the editor of a regional newspaper in the Torres Strait, just north of Australia’s Cape York and just south of Papua New Guinea. This blog is my account of my time in the ‘Strait’. So far the experience has got me a Clarion Journalism award, the opportunity to travel to remote tropical islands and witness a culture that most of metropolitan Australia will never know.

Prior to the Strait, I have done just about everything under the sun to get by, including playing in bands in the gritty Melbourne Grunge scene in the 90’s and working as a sound engineer. After music I worked as an actor in the early Noughties (I was a copper on Blue Heelers for two episodes). I then moved into writing screenplays and theatre and performed in Fringe, Comedy and Arts festivals.

But I have also worked as a dish pig in Melbourne, card shark in India, barman in Barcelona, English Teacher in Brazil, driven trucks, picked fruit, weeded gardens, painted houses and even worked briefly as a telemarketer until I couldn’t take it any more (which wasn’t long). I once had a job interviewing gay men about their condom use, I was young and nubile, straight out of university’ still wet behind the ears. My very camp boss suggested I hit the sauna clubs to  find likely subjects. I went to the gay clubs instead and persisted till I got the job done. I am straight but some of my friends are gay (i don’t know why I mentioned that).

I also partied very hard in the extended puberty of my 20’s – first in the grunge/metal scene then the rave scene, until it became mind-numbingly boring. I then spent half of my thirties on the road traipsing around the globe until I fell into travel writing and journalism. I returned to Australia in 2009 with my Brazilian fiancée and three maxed out credit cards, so we crashed out at Mum and Dad’s place… for 18 months.

I figured it was time to leave home (again) once my wife got pregnant.

Now a father and a husband, my wife decided it was time I got my act together, she was probably right. I thought I could just write the great Australian novel and swan around in a silk robe and drink single malts whilst the royalties came in. But the book publishing world ain’t what it used to be, so despite my Hunteresque T tendenciesas described in my two books which are published in four countries, I decided to give the real world a crack.

In an era when the newspaper is dying, when redundant journos scramble for whatever soul-destroying PR jobs they can find, like rats fleeing a sinking ship, I decide to become a newspaper man. Or more to the point my employer decides to throw an old dog a bone.

So I took a job in one of Australia’s most remote and wild places (with internet and a supermarket). I’m a bit of a Luddite and I know in life its a little late,

But look out world coz’ I’m finally going strait…

Photo by Robert D Phillips

Photo by Robert D Phillips

 

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13 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I will tell you again my theory of Michelle Obama… Every single time I tell you something what happens????????? Do you remember? So, there we go… You’re obviously talented, a bit over confident (but that’s ok because you have a Brazilian life partner!) and sometimes, more Latin than I would dream to be… So, it was just time to get your bunda out of the cold weather and challenge yourself in a completely out of your confidence zone place, job and friendship!!!!! Time to be an imigrant in your own country, darling, and be delighted with writing and writing and writing AND writing… My job with you is finally DONE! Now, c’est la vie, mon ami que a chegou a minha vez de brilhar também! Love, your wife, friend, lover, mother of your daughter and keeper in retirement process, V x

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  4. I’m Aboriginal/Melanesian person and I’m also an Atheist. I don’t believe in the Christian God or in Malo or the Rainbow Serpent either. Iwas just wondering: Do you think that the Darnley Islanders were deceived by the LMS missionaries into accepting Christianity? I mean, when you read the barbaric acts of the christian tribes in the old testament stories like the (attempted) genocide of the Amalkites for example, it makes the “dark times” of the Islanders look like child’s play in comparison.

    • Hi Jason, Thanks for your comment. I was raised a strict atheist and have since become an uncomfortable agnostic (hedging my bets?). My personal thoughts on Missionaries are that they have indeed spread much suffering worldwide and yes deception. However as you would be well aware, living in the Torres Strait, many people are deeply religious and so I try to walk the line between my personal beliefs and those of others. The one thing I know for sure is that I actually know nothing…

  5. http://xnatmap.org/adnm/docs/recolls/stn25.htm
    I have read your entire blog with keen interest and great enjoyment. I envy you living on TI. In late 1963 and into 1964 I was part of a joint USAF and Australian Army Survey team tying Papua New Guinea with the northern coast of Australia. We installed a HIRAN radar site on Mount Scott, Prince of Wales Island as part of this project. The above web address contains my experiences during my time on POW along with pictures of the site and TI.
    If you read the article you will learn of Jimmy Joyce who was the only other person living on POW at the time and how he was of great help to us. I have wondered for years what happened to him. I did learn that he is buried in Townsville but nothing about how he came to leave the area.
    You mentioned in one of your posts meeting Seaman Dan. He might know of what happened to Jimmy. If you should come across him again could you ask him if he knew of Jimmy? And maybe what became of him and let me know?
    I hope this blog is still active. Torres Straits have fascinated me my whole life and I loved every minute I was there.
    Thanks,
    Bill Snell
    Indian Rocks Beach, FL

    • Hi Bill,

      Incredible yarn on your blog, I’d like to include it in the paper I write here, Torres News, I think people would find it fascinating.

      I will definitely ask Uncle Seaman Dan about Jimmy Joyce.

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