Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

Posts by Peter

One pound equals…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

The other day I was asked to write a puff for an author whom I admire and a book I very much like. It’ll be a generous recommend, as the navy used to say. But before I wrote the puff I contacted the publisher (also a man and a company I also very much respect) to ask them to remove a line from the book. The line? ‘£1 (pound) = $2 (1966)’ Why? It is undeniably true that on 14 February 1966 when out-went-the-pennies-and-in-came-the-cents a pound was deemed to have the buying power of two of the...

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Lost Boys of Anzac

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 1 comment

Lost Boys of Anzac (NewSouth, 2014 [forthcoming]) Ever since Quinn’s Post (2005) I’d wanted to write another book about Gallipoli. Thinking in 2010 about how Gallipoli has been treated in books in Australia, I realised that it had become a bit of a doughnut. There was of course a plethora of books about the campaign, but the actual day of the landing – for all the rhetoric of Anzac – had either attracted very little attention from researchers or had attracted mostly operational studies. There...

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Digger Smith

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Digger Smith and Australia’s Great War (Murdoch/Pier 9, Sydney, 2011) I got the idea for this book from the research for Men of Mont St Quentin. C.J. Dennis was a close friend of the Robertses (he wrote The Sentimental Bloke in atheir back garden at Sunnyside). Frank Roberts fed Dennis snippets of AIF slang. Soon after Frank was killed at Mont St Quentin Dennis published Digger Smith. Hoping to find something of Frank’s experience in the text I naturally read it. It didn’t reflect much of...

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Simpson’s Donkey

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Simpson’s Donkey (Murdoch Books, Sydney, 2011) I can’t remember why or where I had the idea of thinking about the Simpson story from the donkey’s point of view. It was certainly years before Glyn Harper’s New Zealand children’s book. I tootled about with it for a while. Then in 2006 I applied for and won a creative fellowship from the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust. This would have given me some time to write a manuscript that was only partially finished. At exactly that time I got the...

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Bad Characters

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Winner of the 2010-2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder and the Australian Imperial Force (Murdoch/Pier 9, Sydney, 2010) Bill Gammage’s The Broken Years of 1974 – one of the Ur-texts of the revival in Australian military history which has governed my professional career – included a group photograph which ten Australians deserters sent to the Provost Marshal (the senior military police officer) at Le Havre in 1917. They...

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