blog 94: In which I quickly recap the past 8 weeks – with beaucoup de pictures!

A lot has happened over the last 8 weeks. Not much writing I have to admit (ie none) but plenty of writing-related things.

For example …

# I visited a number of schools in and around the BRISBANE/IPSWICH region, such as Ipswich Girls Grammar, St Edmund’s College, Corinda SHS, St Agatha’s Primary School and Brisbane Bayside State College and had a great time talking to the students.


# I spent 5 very enjoyable days up in ROCKHAMPTON (the BEEF Capital of Australia!) visiting schools with all these lovely writing and illustrating colleagues.


With Julie Fison, Majory Walker, Meredith Costain and just one of the many BULL statues in Rocky.

With Julie Fison, Majory Gardner, Meredith Costain and just one of the many BULL statues in Rocky.

On our day off I took in the beautiful classic Queensland architecture …

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… visited the Rocky Zoo (where fortunately the wildlife was more impressive than the punctuation) …


… took a selfie with this guy …


… indulged in a balanced lunch featuring both HOT and COLD items from the Fast Food Unhealthy-Eating Pyramid …

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… and watched the sun go down in the zoo’s beautiful lake and gardens.



One very sad note for the Rocky trip was the absence of this beautiful man, the wise, intelligent and talented writer/illustrator Kevin Burgemeestre.

Kevin passed away shortly before he was due to join us on tour (and be my apartment buddy for the second time around). While he wasn’t with us physically, he was certainly in our hearts and minds, and the memories from our previous trips and meetings, and Kev’s gentle, infectious personality will stay with me for ever. 

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# After the Rockhampton trip I had a week of school visits in MELBOURNE City of Literature and The World’s Most Liveable City for the 6th year in a row. 

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A big shout out to all the staff and students of Camberwell HS, Overnewton Anglican Community College, Western Heights SC, St Bernard’s College, Keysborough College, Emmaus College, Waverley Christian College and Broadford Secondary College, for being so welcoming and for making the busy week so enjoyable.


Waiting for the rest of the troops to arrive – St Bernard’s College Essendon.

As well as speaking at schools in and around Melbourne, my visit to Broadford Secondary College took me out into the beautiful Victorian countryside where I met Kane the Amazing (and apparently slightly gluttonous) Reading Dog and signed a book for him. I really thought he would have gone for Just a Dog but he preferred The Running Man. Maybe he liked the idea of chasing someone.


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While I was (freezing) in Broadford I also took a photo of this. Can’t remember now if it was some old pulping thing from the paper mill, a prototype nuclear bomb or the underwater vessel from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Either way, I’m glad they had it fenced up!


Other highlights of my time in Melbourne were getting to spend time with my daughter Meg  (who is into knitting in a BIG way) and son-in-law Ryan  (no, it’s not a jumper for him) … 


… seeing this sculpture of a man fighting a giant boxed-shaped cow in Sunshine (the meaning of which I think would be pretty self-explanatory to any art connoisseur) … 

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… and sharing this touching moment with my wife and daughter.


After Melbourne it was back to Queensland for a quick trip to TOWNSVILLE  as part of a series of regional tours organised by Julie Gwynne- Jones of the Ashgrove Literature Festival. These are the views I had from my hotel – but sadly for just a day.

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While in Townsville I had a terrific time at Oonoonba and Kirwan State Schools talking to the awesome Year 1-6s about You Turkeys,  Eric Vale, Derek ‘Danger’ Dale and Just a Dog. Great, enthusiastic, hilarious kids.

After Townsville it was a quick trip back to MELBOURNE and my pleasure to chair a panel called Nature and Place at the Melbourne Writers Festival on behalf of the WILDERNESS SOCIETY and their ENVIRONMENT AWARDS for CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. The panel consisted of the wonderful Graeme Base (Animalia, The Eleventh Hour) and Lisa Kennedy (illus. Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy). 


# Then it was back to beautiful BRIS VEGAS and three days at The Brisbane Writers Festival.

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View from the Green Room at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

It was fantastic to be part of this year’s festival. I had three sessions at festival venues and one online session for Queensland State Schools. My session title was Don’t Call me Maggles. I spoke about Ishmael from Don’t call Me Ishmael and Maggie Butt from my latest novel The Pain, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me. I also attended the State Finals of the Readers Cup and was Quiz Master for the night. Well done to the 15 finalists from nearly 600 schools from all around the State

Thank you to everyone who came and helped sell out all my sessions. It was fantastic to talk to and meet so many friendly and enthusiastic readers. A big congratulations and thanks to Julie Beveridge and the other festival organisers and to brilliant smiling army of volunteers who looked after us and made everything so easy and enjoyable.



Readers Cup State Finals.

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# Meanwhile at home in our Brisbane backyard a year after building it and hoping they would come, they did. YAY!

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And LASTLY if you’ve been cursing the unfairness and emptiness of your life because you don’t own an Eric Vale or Derek ‘Danger’ Dale inspired T-shirt (and haven’t we all?) then curse no more and wash your mouth with soap!

The original designs you see modelled so elegantly below, plus others by the amazing JOE BAUER and ARTSPEAR ENTERTAINMENT are now available for purchase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only that, but there’s additional t-shirts and merchandise available inspired by Artspear’s comedy sci-fi feature film AUSTRALIENS (available here on DVD!) and their hugely popular movie trailer spoof YouTube channel, TOON SANDWICH.

To see all the available items GO HERE.

TOON SANDWICH now has over 100,000 subscribers. Why not check out the 15 hilarious movie trailers already posted and see why they’ve had in excess of 22 MILLION views! *Parental Guidance Recommended 


That’s it. Sorry for the long post. Thanks for getting this far. Unless of course you didn’t, in which case I don’t know why I’m even bothering to talk to you since you won’t be reading this anyway given that you obviously have the attention span of a goldfish!

I’m making a resolution to do shorter weekly blogs whether I’ve got anything to say or not. So that should be riveting. Still, I think you’ll agree that this is an excellent resolution, which I guess is why I have made it so many times before.










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