LifestyleFormer Bundaberg journalist releases memoir

Former Bundaberg journalist releases memoir

The Colt with no Regrets
Elliot Hannay is about to release his memoir “The Colt with no Regrets”, examining how a regional city impacts national events. Photo courtesy Townsville Bulletin

Veteran journalist Elliot Hannay has published his memoir The Colt With No Regrets, which details his 50 years experience covering local news, including in Bundaberg.

The new book has received positive reviews in the national media and it's been endorsed by noted figures across the Australian political spectrum.

The Colt With No Regrets
The front cover of The Colt With No Regrets

Elliot, who started work as a cadet journalist at the News Mail 62 years ago, said he was delighted that The Colt With No Regrets had been described as a book that opens a window into the rich history of regional newspapers and life in country towns.

He will visit Bundaberg for the first time in many years on 17 October for a book signing at Dymocks between 10am and 12 noon.

Elliot recalled being on local government rounds in the 1960s and 70s when reporters were assigned to provide extensive cover of city and shire council meetings across the region.

“Editors back then would expect reporters to get four of five major council stories that night and have a notebook of up to 40 fillers,” Elliot said.

“Every decision and all the debates got a run. We even listed where potholes were being filled and on night rounds attended every bun fight in town, from the CWA and RSL to canegrowers and progress association meetings,” he said.

“Most of my high-profile colleagues on retirement write about the Canberra Press Gallery or their encounters with our nation’s power brokers, but I often wondered why books about regional journalism and growing up in a country town never seemed to get into print.

“However, I sensed people would be interested in a yarn about life in a town where shift workers had developed their own social culture.

“Young men and women employed in sugar mills, the rum distillery, the foundry, journos, printers, pressmen and comps, coppers, firemen, ambos, doctors, and nurses who worked and socialised when most of Bundy was fast asleep.

“Disturbing encounters with a home-grown chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in North Queensland during the Mabo Native Title campaigns, death threats and $3 million writs from Kings Cross gangsters and corrupt coppers in the pre-Fitzgerald era of Queensland, and filing exclusive news from the inner-sanctum of the Chinese Communist Party 40 years ago are genuine career highlights.

“But I am most proud of my earlier work as an eager but naive young cadet journalist walking the streets of Bundy desperately searching for news, from baby shows and boxing nights to court cases and council meetings.

The Colt with No Regrets
Elliot Hannay says he is most proud of his time as a young journalist in Bundaberg.

“As an old-school journo I am also chuffed that my book has been endorsed from the Left and the Right of politics. From Phillip Adams the veteran leftist broadcaster and columnist to Bob Katter the controversial long-serving politician from crocodile country.”

The Colt With No Regrets is published by Wilkinson Publishing and is available at most book stores and through Booktopia and Amazon. It is also in e-book format on Kindle and Amazon.