After a series of jobs which taught him much about people but little about himself, he moved to Armidale to nearly die twice in car accidents, learn about learning, fall in love and graduate in drinking. Only one of these was fatal. In Armidale, he began to write.
Peter began a teaching career at Nowendoc in 1981 … and a family in a nearby farmhouse, the same year. Son Chris and daughter Sarah were born after he moved to Baan Baa as Teacher in Charge. At 27 he was a father of two, a lover of one, the star of the local cricket team and a pretty hopeless teacher. He still wrote.
It was back in Armidale at Ben Venue School that he really became a teacher, thanks to his supervisor who took an eraser to the bad and a polishing cloth to the good. He played cricket on Saturdays and ran it the rest of the week for Waratahs CC– his only passionate affair outside of marriage. Son Sam was born. Peter presented radio shows and wrote for local papers, notably as the satirical “Slasher”, written with a sarcastic blowtorch rather than a typewriter.
The next ten years were lost as a Principal of small schools at Wongwibinda and Tambar Springs and whilst this second half of his career was unquestionably his best teaching (including major teaching awards), the effort demanded of him in giving his charges aspirations beyond a 50km radius gradually leached his soul. His writing was full of desperation and so was family life.
In 2000, his robust world collapsed when he got tired and stopped holding it up. Full scale breakdown followed:, suicide attempts, a year of friendly faces looming from the darkness to offer assurance and lots of wrong diagnoses about his mental state. After 14 months of grim existence, he recognised he was at the whim of bipolar disorder, doctors and psychiatrists had consecutive “ah-ha” moments and the right medication and excellent therapy somehow managed to put Humpty back together - but he has since avoided the wall.
Peter writes or edits his way through most weeks, preferring to see himself as a story teller than a poet. Some stories are personal, some observational and some are as old as man’s existence and woman’s discontent. A few are his stories but most are ours, just retold through his vision.
"Six Nines" (Dec 2009) was his first book of poetry, a second collection "Head Full of Whispers" May 2012) followed and the third "Straightening My Tie", was launched by Eric Bogle in January 2015. A second edition of Six Nines appeared in early 2016 and his latest collection, "While I Wasn't Looking", will be launched in March 2017.
Individual poems have previously been published in newspapers and anthologies such as “Semaphore Dancing” – Poets At The Pub (2009) and on the websites of the ABC and The Black Dog Institute. In November 2011, "Self-Portrait of a Difficult Pleasure" was selected for the "1000 Words" exhibition at NERAM in Armidale and in January 2012 and "When Dougie Did The Double" was selected for the "100 Years of Tests" exhibition at the Sydney Cricket Ground. "His Favourite Chair", "Losing Weight By Proxy" and "Susie" from the first collection have all been selected and dramatised on stage at the Armidale Festival of Short Plays.
In Dec 2016, his first play, Geoffrey, went into production with the Tamworth Dramatic Society for staging in March/April 2017.
He also contributed an essay to “Journeys With The Black Dog” (Allen & Unwin 2007) and has written feature articles for the Northern Daily Leader, The Armidale Express, The Weekly (Mudgee), the Daily Examiner (Grafton) and frequently appears in the letters section of the Sydney Morning Herald. His website "thecricketragics" has a strong popular following, attracting more than a thousand page views a week, with subscribers from four continents visiting every day for news and views about cricket. Peter is also an accomplished and prize winning photographer. In recent summers he has appeared regularly on ABC radio as a cricket journalist.
In 2013, he began working as a volunteer for the Black Dog Institute, combining his life experience and his teaching expertise in delivering community presentations on mood disorders and teenage depression and speaking with groups of medical practitioners about a client's perspective of their services. In January of 2014 and again in October, he was a guest on ABC radio's national broadcast Conversations with Richard Fidler.
He no longer plays cricket but still hits a ball on a string and sends his hat size and phone number to Cricket Australia every September, just in case. Such optimism is evident in his poetry.