Charles Wooley

I have been a journalist in print, radio and television for almost half a century. You might think long enough to get good at it. But there is always so much more to learn. Like the mysterious art of blogging.

I started early, in student newspapers, and freelancing for ABC radio while I was still at University in the remote and rocky island of Tasmania at the southern end of the world. In my share house we must have been practicing socialists, or at least my housemates were. When a cheque arrived from the ABC they would say ‘Hey, Wooley’s got a cheque from the radio. We’re all going to the pub.’

The cheque got a little bigger when I got my first job in television.

I remember getting $15,000 a year. A fortune. I got married early and bought a house for the same sum and after that my mates had to buy their own drinks. When I moved from radio to television in my early twenties it was an exciting new medium. If you arrived in town with a camera, people came to look rather than to throw things. The big problem was that no one had yet learned how to perform on television. Farmers would dress up in their Sunday best for an interview in the apple orchard. Interviews were rather formal and not very revealing as was this one in Victoria during horrendous bush fires…

  • Q. Farmer Jones we’re standing in your paddock and as far as the eye can see the bush fire has destroyed everything.
  • A. Yeah. It’s not real good.
  • Q. And behind you, your homestead has burned to the ground.
  • A. Yeah, it’s not real good.
  • Q. And the fences are all destroyed and the cattle down on their sides, badly burned but still alive.
  • A. Yeah it’s not real good.
  • Q. And your wife and one of your kids are in hospital with burns.
  • A. Yeah it’s not real good.
  • Q. Farmer Jones, thank you.

We worked it out eventually, my subjects and I, just as I hope this ‘Wooley thinking’ blog will also develop as a work in progress. I will shamelessly borrow from my work on ‘60 Minutes’ at the Nine Network as well as various scribblings for newspapers and many other unfinished projects. I am a great believer in the wisdom and convenience of recycling.

Politics and war, floods and famine, improbable fishing stories, crazy religions, mad philosophies, movie stars, tropical islands and frozen wastes. Such is the stuff of my life and so no wonder I might be just a little mad. It is certainly not a life that could be called normal but it seems I’m stuck with it. Forever compelled to constantly travel the world I find interesting stories everywhere. Many of which seem to fit nowhere. Hopefully these too will at last find their home here in the blogosphere.