Honeysuckle Creek

lordsydney 3
Lord Sydney
The life and times of Tommy Townshend

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William Charles Wentworth
Australia's greatest native son

Air Disaster Canberra
Air Disaster Canberra
The plane crash that destroyed a government

Australia 1901 - 2001
Australia 1901 - 2001
a narrative history

Andrew Tink

portrait closeFrom the time I was a toddler and first pulled books off my parents’ shelves, printed images and words have fascinated me. But it was only after 30 years in law and politics that I developed enough confidence to write a book.

After obtaining so-so results at law school and doing rather better in history, I practised as a barrister in Sydney before being elected to the NSW Parliament in 1988.

For eleven years, I sat on the front bench, among other things as shadow attorney-general and shadow leader of the House. In those jobs, I wrote my own press releases and soon learned that if the point I wanted to make could not be expressed on one A4 page, I was wasting my time.

It dawned on me that if I didn’t get a journalist’s attention by the middle of line one of the first paragraph, I was still wasting my time. Every word had to count. Having been indifferent to The Old Man and the Sea at school, I now appreciated Ernest Hemingway’s spare prose. And I better understand why my favourite composer is Jean Sibelius. 'Never write an unnecessary note', he said. 'Every note must live'.

To view a speech I gave, which outlines my writing journey, enter ‘ANU Graduation Ceremony 9’ in your search field, follow the prompts, and then scroll along to the one hour twenty-one minute mark.

I began dabbling in writing and in history which had been my favourite subject at school. After obtaining a contract with a publisher to write the first book length biography of William Charles Wentworth, I left Parliament in 2007. In 2010, William Charles Wentworth, Australia’s greatest native son won ‘The Nib’ CAL Waverley Award for Literature.

My second book, Lord Sydney [the life and times of Tommy Townshend], was released in mid-December 2011. This first comprehensive biography of Lord Sydney is now in its fourth printing.

Air Disaster Canberra the plane crash that destroyed a government, my third book, was released in April 2013. On 12 November 2014, the former prime minister, John Howard, launched my fourth book: Australia 1901 – 2001 a narrative history.

My latest book, Honeysuckle Creek: the story of Tom Reid, a little dish and Neil Armstrong’s first step was released on 1 November 2018.

To me, the importance of books was best expressed by the Scottish philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881):

    In books lies the soul of the whole past time, the articulate and audible voice of the past when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.