Whenever someone asks me if I’m working on a book at the moment, I tell them, ‘I’m always writing something.’ And it’s true. It may not be a book (but I do usually have a long-term project on the go), however my laptop and I continue to be close friends.
Highlights for 2022 included the launch of my 7th non-fiction book, A Great and Restless Spirit, and launch of the Oxley Men’s Shed Writers Group second anthology, Offcuts 2: Sketches and Stories from the Shed, which I edited.
In between I was involved in a whole raft of interesting and sometimes challenging writing, publishing and mentoring activities.
Feb – May: Mentoring non-fiction writer through Queensland Writers Centre (QWC)
10 March: Talk to The Gap Uniting Church Men’s Group: ‘Putting a life into words’
25 March: Launch of A Great and Restless Spirit: The incredible true story of Australian Harry Hawker at Avid Reader Bookshop, West End, Brisbane by Assoc Prof Tim Mavin.
29 May: Chalkies video presentation, State Library of Queensland, Anzac Square Memorial Galleries
18 June: Community talk, Anglican Church, Sherwood: ‘Two restless spirits: Bert Hinkler & Harry Hawker’
July: Article published online by Military Heritage & History Victoria: ‘The Chalkies: 1966-73’
August: Publisher Hachette Australia advised me they are doing a new print run of 1500 copies of my 2013 book, Hustling Hinkler.
September: Mentoring non-fiction writer through QWC
September: Invited article, ‘Writing and learning; Learning and writing’, Australian Council for Adult Literacy Newsletter
17 September: QWC workshop: ‘Kickstart Your memoir Writing’
28 October: Talk to Aviation Historical Society of Australia (Qld) ‘Two restless spirits: Bert Hinkler & Harry Hawker’
29 October: Launch of Offcuts 2: Sketches and stories from the Shed @ Oxley Men’s Shed by Councillor Nicole Johnston
Co-authored research publications, Griffith University, 2022
Le, A. H., Billett, S., Choy, S., & Dymock, D. (2022). Supporting worklife learning at work to sustain employability. International Journal of Training and Development, pp. 1– 21.
Billett, S., Dymock, D., Hodge, S., Choy, S., & Le, A. H. (2022).: Shaping Young People’s Decision-Making About Post-School Pathways: Institutional and Personal Factors (book chapter). In The Standing of Vocational Education and the Occupations It Serves (pp. 103-136). Springer, Cham.
Billett, S., Dymock, D., Choy, S., Hodge, S., & Le, A. H. (2022). Informing and Advising the Zones of Influence Shaping Young People’s Decision-Making About Post-School Pathways (Phase 3) (book chapter). In The Standing of Vocational Education and the Occupations It Serves (pp. 373-395). Springer, Cham.
Dymock, D. & Tyler, M. (2022) Issues in developing professional learning for the VET sector in Victoria, Commissioned paper, Vocational Development Centre and Australian Council for Educational Research.
No matter how much I write and for what purpose, Mark Twain’s advice always rings true:
‘The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.‘
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.
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.
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 June2pm -3pm, St Matthews Church Hall,
cnr Sherwood & Oxley Rds Sherwood, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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.
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.
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
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.
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.