Expo and Book Launch

I have edited a second collection of stories from Oxley Men’s Shed, Brisbane. Offcuts: Sketches and Stories from the Shed, will be launched as part of the Shed’s Expo at 10am on Saturday 29 October. 18 California Road, Oxley. All welcome.

As the title indicates, this year’s anthology includes not only another collection of amusing and amazing stories, but sketches from the Shed’s Drawing Group. There’s also a selection of photos from the writers to illustrate their stories.

Darryl Dymock

‘One of my top reads for 2022’

Great Gift for Father’s Day! Or any day!

A Great and Restless Spirit: the incredible true story of Harry Hawker by D R Dymock, author of Hustling Hinkler.

His one need was speed

If Harry Hawker MBE AFC (1889-1921) was alive today, he’d be churning desert dust in the Dakar Rally, strapped in a rocket on a SpaceX flight, or taking pole position in Formula 1.

Victorian-born Hawker moved to England at age 22 and became an overnight aviation legend. In his day, he flew faster, higher and for longer than anyone else in Britain. His one need was speed.

When he wasn’t racing planes, cars and speedboats, Hawker was helping design and test WWI fighting aircraft. His boss, aviation trailblazer Tommy Sopwith, thought he was a genius.

Behind him stood a remarkable Englishwoman who kept his feet on the ground. But the mother of two grew increasingly anxious as her go-getting husband continually pushed the boundaries.

Especially when he disappeared attempting the first transatlantic flight …

And bubbling away was an underlying weakness that would literally help bring Harry Hawker down. Forever.

‘One of my top reads for 2022’

‘I had a job to put it down.’

Order A Great and Restless Spirit from all good bookshops, including Avid Reader and Riverbend Books, Brisbane.

OR order the e-book online from all the usual sellers: Booktopia, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.

Kickstart Your Memoir Writing

A Queensland Writers Centre workshop with Darryl Dymock

in-person and online: 17 September 2022

EVERYONE HAS STORIES ABOUT THEIR LIFE. THIS WORKSHOP WILL GIVE YOU THE IMPETUS YOU’VE ALWAYS NEEDED TO START TELLING YOURS.

Getting started is often the hardest part of writing about your life, especially if you’re not sure how or where to begin.

In this workshop, you’ll not only write the first sentence of what will become your ongoing life history, you’ll be able to use a proven framework for deciding what to write about, where to start and how to go on. Even if you’ve never strung sentences together since your schooldays!

This workshop is aimed primarily at beginners, but you’re also welcome if you’ve already taken early steps with your memoirs but need some direction to keep going. Do this for yourself, and your family.

For more information and to register, click the link here.

Two Restless Spirits: Harry Hawker & Bert Hinkler

Advance notice of author talk 18 June 2022

Drawing on selected images from across the world, in this personal presentation Brisbane-based author D R (Darryl) Dymock compares the spectacular but very different life journeys and tragic endings of two remarkable Australian aviation pioneers: Harry Hawker and Bert Hinkler.

Saturday 18 June 2pm -3pm, St Matthews Church Hall,

cnr Sherwood & Oxley Rds Sherwood, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Books for sale on the day

Can’t make it to the talk? You can still order both books through any bookshop, including Avid Reader, Brisbane and Riverbend Books, Brisbane, Queensland. Or download the e-book online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, or check out ABE Books in the US.

Print ISBN: 9781925380415

e-book ISBN: 9781925380453

While other Nashos were fighting in Vietnam, Australian Army quietly sent conscripted Education Taskforce to PNG

We had a great State Library (SLQ) session on Sunday morning 29 May 2022 at Anzac Square Memorial Galleries, Brisbane. Four other ‘Chalkies‘ and I recalled our experiences as conscripted Army teachers in Papua New Guinea 1966-73.

An amazing selection of images from the time, professionally assembled by Mt Nebo Multimedia. Terrific backup from SLQ’s Alice and Greg.

The author, centre, with other National Service recruits, 3 Training Battalion, Singleton, NSW, early 1969
Troops of 1 Pacific Islands Regiment, Education class, Taurama Barracks, TPNG, c1970
Trooping the Colour, Taurama Barracks, TPNG, c1968

Thanks to librarian India Dixon, the videos will be added to the State Library of Queensland resource collection as part of their military memories program.

This is the book of the videos!

Until next time

Darryl Dymock

Harry Hawker the movie?: ‘A grand narrative set in marvellous locations’

Readers are responding very positively to my latest book, A Great and Restless Spirit: the incredible true story of Harry Hawker.

One of them told me it was ‘a grand narrative set in marvellous locations’, and suggested it would make a great movie.

‘a grand narrative set in marvellous locations’

The other good news, especially for regional and international readers, is that ‘A Great and Restless Spirit’ is now available as an e-book.

Print ISBN: 9781925380415

Print copy available from Avid Reader bookshop, Brisbane, Australia or you can order it through any other good bookshop.

e-book ISBN: 9781925380453

Already the e-book is available in different formats, including:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=9781925380453&crid=2IQ7IAR0RW49A&sprefix=9781925380453%2Caps%2C1358&ref=nb_sb_noss

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-great-and-restless-spirit-darryl-r-dymock/1141254251?ean=9781925380453

Keep an eye out for the movie!

Until next time

Darryl Dymock

‘When a full 24 hours had passed without any contact, no one had to say what that meant …’ – Exclusive book extract

Exclusive extract from ‘A Great and Restless Spirit’ by D R Dymock:

Unaware of the mid-ocean drama, Muriel continued to mark off the hours Harry had been in the air. As the day went on, she began to prepare to head over to Brooklands, hopeful she would soon be reunited with her husband. There was quiet anticipation among the Sopwith representatives, military officers, and government and aero club officials gathered at Brooklands that Monday afternoon, 19 May, 1919. It promised to be a momentous occasion for the future of cross-Atlantic travel and for British aviation.

Muriel and her brother, RAF Captain Laurence Peaty, had driven over from Hook in the Sunbeam. Word had come through that the American fliers were trapped in the Azores by the weather, so NC-4 had not yet been able to make the final hop. There was still a possibility that Harry and Grieve could claim the transatlantic gong.

Nevertheless there was also an undercurrent of anxiety about the two fliers. No messages had been received; no sightings reported. Based on the reported Sunday departure time from Newfoundland, by Muriel’s 22-hour timeline the Atlantic should touch down at Brooklands at around 4.30pm. Unlike some others, she wasn’t worried by the lack of contact with the plane because she knew Harry and Grieve weren’t counting on the wireless during the flight.

But as the afternoon ticked by, concern started to grow. The Royal Air Force sent planes out from its Aldergrove base in Ireland to probe along the transatlantic route, but the pilots came back with nothing to report.

When Muriel crossed off hour number 22, and there was still no sign of the plane, the tension among the waiting group must have been palpable. They all knew that by then the Sopwith’s fuel tank would be close to empty. When a full 24 hours had passed without any contact, no one had to say what that meant.

Title: A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Harry Hawker, Australian test pilot, aircraft designer, car racing driver, speedboat racer, world-beater

Author: D R Dymock

ISBN: 9781925380415

Publisher: Armour Books, Brisbane

RRP: AU$33.99 paperback

Publication date: March 2022

A poet and a king thought this pilot was dead, but …

High-profile mystery plane crashes have confounded and intrigued the world since flight began – but this dramatic true story was the first.

A Great And Restless Spirit by D R Dymock tells of the disappearance of record-breaking Australian pilot Harry Hawker and his navigator over the Atlantic Ocean in 1919… and of how kings and nations were captivated by the event. The book has just been released.

A transatlantic feat

In May 1919, 30-year-old Harry Hawker and his navigator attempted the first transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland, and in a plane with no radio or radar.

Millions waited for news of their triumph – but the plane never arrived. After six days, and with no sightings or leads, almost everyone gave them up for dead. Banjo Paterson wrote a eulogy for Harry’s passing. King George V sent Harry’s English wife, Muriel Hawker, a telegram of condolence. But Muriel refused to believe her husband was dead.

If things don’t go quite right, never give up hope, Harry had told Muriel before he left. She took him at his word.

‘As there seemed to be two sides to the question whether he was alive or not, and no definite proof of either,’ Muriel said, ‘I decided I’d cling firmly to the belief that he was alive.’

An extraordinary life

Muriel Hawker’s faith in her daredevil husband had reaped rewards before. Harry’s ‘need for speed’ made him a fierce competitor in car and speedboat races around the globe and, when he wasn’t racing, Harry designed and tested WWI planes.

His boss, aviation guru Tommy Sopwith, believed Harry was a genius – but Muriel kept her husband’s feet firmly on the ground. Would this remarkable woman’s hope be rewarded this time, too?

In A Great and Restless Spirit, author D R  Dymock tells the incredible true story of Harry Hawker MBE AFC and the woman who refused to give up on him.

About the author: D R (Darryl) Dymock (author site) is the Brisbane-based author of several well-received non-fiction books, including Hustling Hinkler and The Chalkies. This is his second aviation biography. He is a mentor with the Queensland Writers Centre, and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Griffith University.

About the book:

Armour Books, Brisbane | AU$33.99 paperback | ISBN: 9781925380415

Available through Avid Reader Bookshop, Brisbane or order through any other good bookshop.

Countdown to a Great and Restless book launch

Here’s A Great and Restless Spirit in good company for March events at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane.

A Great and Restless Spirit will be launched at Avid Reader at 6.30pm AEST on Friday 25th March, 2022. And you’re invited! In person, or online.

All you have to do is click on this link to register for the launch. You can also pre-order the book (ISBN 9781925380415. Armour Books)

Here’s an extract from A Great and Restless Spirit to whet your reading appetite:

Outside, the weather matched their mood as they set off—sombre, dark and cold. The wind was whipping the trees around their house, and the rain danced in the headlights as they headed to Euston Station. For some reason, despite the almost cyclonic conditions, Harry opted to take the Sunbeam.

The big car might well have had a neatly riveted bonnet, but it also had no hood over the passenger compartment. So, as they roared through deserted London streets in drenching rain slashed by an occasional knife edge of sleet, Harry crouched behind the whisper of a windscreen.

Muriel hunched in the well on the passenger side, her head resting against her husband’s knee. She quietly wished that she’d married someone without ambition, like a farmer’s son. Someone who didn’t feel the need to go where no man had ever gone before. If only I could sleep away the time ahead, she thought.

When they reached Euston station, they had one final hug, said one final goodbye. As Harry disappeared into the carriage, Muriel was inconsolable. She couldn’t wait for the train to pull out.

Heading disconsolately back to the car, all she could think was that Harry had gone from her. The only thing she could do was wait for the future to unfold itself.

A Great and Restless Spirit: Harry Hawker THE VIDEO

I’d like to introduce you to Harry Hawker, the subject of my latest book, A Great and Restless Spirit. And below you can find a link to the YouTube video.

ISBN: 978-1-925380-415

Harry Hawker was an Australian-born test pilot, aircraft designer, racing car driver, speedboat racer, and all-round world-beater.

In his day he was a celebrity before there were celebrities.

But he wasn’t looking for fame. All he wanted to do was push the boundaries.

He had a dream of speed that he pursued throughout his whole, regrettably short, life.

I wanted to write about Harry Hawker firstly because of the way he insisted on pushing the boundaries in the air, on the racetrack and on the water. But I’m also fascinated by what made him ‘a great and restless spirit’.

And how did his wife Muriel cope with that insistent restlessness, especially when it became life-threatening?

You can register for the in-store and online book launch at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane, at 6.30pm AEST Friday 25 March here

YOUTUBE VIDEO: You can see a sneak preview of what’s in the book in the YouTube video by clicking here

I hope to meet up with you if you’re in the Brisbane area. Perhaps sign a book 🙂 Otherwise I’d love to hear from you whether you’re elsewhere in Australia or in another country.

Until next time

D R (Darryl) Dymock

D R Dymock: A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Harry Hawker Publication date: March 2022

ISBN: 978-1-925380-415

Order through all good bookshops, including Avid Reader, Brisbane: avidreader.com.au

Book launch 25 March: A Great and Restless Spirit


Harry Hawker MBE AFC (1889-1921) Image: George Grantham Bain Collection., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dear friends and colleagues near and far

If you’re free and in the vicinity, I’d love to see you at the Brisbane launch of my new book on Friday evening, 25 March, 2022. (Covid permitting!).

The book is called A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Australian Harry Hawker – test pilot, aircraft designer, racing car driver, speedboat racer, world-beater.

It will be published by an independent Brisbane publisher, Armour Books.

If Victorian-born Harry Hawker MBE AFC (1889-1921) was alive today, he’d be churning desert dust in the Dakar rally, strapped in a rocket on a SpaceX flight, or taking pole position on the Formula 1 start line.


Harry Hawker helped design and test numerous successful wartime aircraft in Britain in WWI. He was also a a master of looping the loop.
  • Hawker moved to England at age 22, and in his day flew faster, higher and for longer than anyone else in Britain. His one need was speed. And if he couldn’t find it in the air, he was a fierce competitor in racing cars and international speedboat races.
  • When he wasn’t racing, Hawker was designing and testing WWI planes. His boss, aviation guru Tommy Sopwith, was convinced the Australian was a genius.
  • In the book you’ll also meet Harry’s remarkable wife, Muriel, who mostly kept his feet on the ground. But even she worried about his need to go where no man had ever gone before.
  • And in the background there bubbled away an underlying weakness that would eventually contribute to Harry Hawker’s death in a flaming solo plane crash. He was just 32 years of age.

When he wasn’t in the air, Harry took to car and speedboat racing. Image: Copyright Brooklands Museum.

I hope you might be able to join me for the launch of A Great and Restless Spirit at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane at 6.30pm on 25 March. It should be a good occasion, and there’s no obligation to buy😊.

Please put the date in your diary. You’ll be able to register nearer the time on the Avid Reader website: avidreader.com.au

And if you’re not from Brisbane, please keep watch for the book’s publication. I hope it will be available in both print and electronic form.

Please feel free to pass this message on, or to post it on social media. All welcome.

Best regards

Darryl Dymock