Peter was born In Queensland during World War II. After a nomadic childhood, he joined the RAAF at age 17, training as an aircraft electronics technician. He spent the early to mid-1960s in Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Thailand) before serving with the Australian Army’s 161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight in Vietnam during 1967-68.
Continuing his 25-year military career (1957-1982), Peter was commissioned into the Engineer Branch of the RAAF in 1970. He resumed his academic and engineering studies, enjoying career progress in operational, instructional and project positions. From 1978 until 1982 he served at the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where he represented Australian Defence Force interests on international committees dealing with Allied forces interoperability and collaboration on research and development.
Peter resigned from the RAAF in 1983 to settle his family and return to full-time studies. A BA (Modern Asian Studies) at Griffith University (1983-85) followed, with majors in economics, the Indonesian language and the history and politics of Southeast Asia. In 1986 he joined the Australian Public Service. His qualifications and experience led to involvement in policy development in Canberra during the 1990s.
Peter retired in 2005 to undertake a writing project. His military background and keen interest in the history of Australia and Asia led to the publication of his first work of non-fiction: Possums and Bird Dogs (Allen & Unwin, 2006). This work, the story of Army Aviation operations in South Vietnam (1965-72), filled a substantial gap in Australia’s military history and was well-received. The first issue of 2,500 copies (paperback version) sold quickly, together with a special hardcover version (700 copies) produced for collectors and veterans. A decade later, the book continues to sell through Allen & Unwin as well as e-book distributors. Print-on-demand hard copies are available From Allen & Unwin.
Peter is married to Robyn Nolan FAPS, an experienced clinical psychologist. The couple have two sons, Michael and Brett. In 2002, they sponsored Mingma Sherpa, a teenage girl from the Mt Everest region of Nepal, to undertake secondary and tertiary education in Australia. Mingma, now married and an experienced secondary school teacher, lived with them until 2015 as their unofficially adopted, much-loved daughter. There is another book to be written about her challenging journey to complete this 12-year project.
As well as tutoring Mingma throughout her studies, Peter remained active as a writer, traveller and blogger. Examples are included on the Travel Blogs and Short Story page. A series of his satirical articles on topical issues was also published in to The Australian newspaper (see Scrapbook page) . In 2014 he commenced researching and writing his current biography project. Trang: The More You Give is now in print. It's the history of a young Vietnamese girl's struggle and achievements from student to the first female professor at RMIT, on the board of SBS, reporting on children in detention and much more.
Peter is an experienced raconteur, entertaining local U3A audiences with tales of his travels with Robyn and the joys of his (usually unplanned) experiences during his eventful retirement.