I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and while my one dream in life was to write a novel I never knew it would come true in Africa. I wasn’t born in South Africa or Zimbabwe, or any of the African countries I write about.
After doing very well at a school that was better known for its Rugby League (which I was no good at) than its academic prowess, and very badly at university for a couple of years (I dropped out), I got a job working as a newspaper journalist on a suburban newspaper in Sydney.
I later went on to work as a press secretary for the New South Wales government and then back to journalism, this time on a newspaper in rural England where my journalistic highlights included stories on giant pumpkins and a pack of dogs that attacked other dogs (‘Dogs bites Dog’ was the headline).
Tony served 34 years in the Australian Army reserve, including six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as an Army public affairs officer.
My wife, Nicola, and I first visited southern Africa as tourists in 1995 on what was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip - it turned out to be anything but. We became hooked on the continent – its wildlife, scenery and people.
We’ve been back to Africa every year since then, with the exception of 2002 when the Australian Army sent me on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Afghanistan, with a gun (two, in fact, which I never fired in anger). I served in the Australian Army Reserve for 34 years in the infantry as a private, as an air dispatch corporal, and, finally, as a public relations officer. I finished up as a rather old Major with two dodgy knees thanks to a misspent youth parachuting with the army.
Here’s me chilling with a few of the locals in Afghanistan, somewhere near the border with Pakistan. I have a look on my face that says: ‘I’d rather be on a beach in Mozambique having a beer’.
I left my last full time job as second-in-charge of a Sydney public relations company in 1997 (or was that 1996, I can never remember), with the intention of writing a novel. I did finish a manuscript, not set in Africa, but it was never published, for the very good reason that it was rubbish. If I get desperate for money one day I’ll give it a jolly good edit and re-write and see if anyone will buy it.
Having failed to realise my childhood dream of getting published I slipped back into part time PR work and freelance writing.
My wife and I kept on travelling to Africa and on our third trip to Africa, in 1998, I wrote a manuscript about a fictitious tour around southern Africa. The book was accepted by Pan Macmillan and published as ‘Far Horizon’ in 2004. Since then I’ve literally spent half my life in Africa - six months of every year living in the African bush where I research and write my books - and the remainder of the year in Sydney.
I’ve written at least one novel a year since Far Horizon was released (two in 2018), and I’ve also written seven biographies with other people.
I really enjoy meeting my readers and I’ve even escorted a few tours with some of them around Africa. Here is me with a group of readers and friends and our guides on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. If you’re interested in learning about future tours or where you can meet me, please sign up for my newsletter via the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Other than writing I like reading (all authors say that), jukeboxes (I have two), Land Rovers (I have three), beer, running (which I need to do because of the beer), travelling in Africa, taking pictures of wildlife, and singing at parties (I am a terrible singer, but I am good at remembering lyrics).
If we ever meet (and I hope we do because I like meeting my readers) you will most likely say that I am taller than you imagined – this is because I am 6’6” (198cm) tall.