Armed with a loan from my parents and a swag of naive bravado unique to precocious 15-year-olds, I launched a hip-hop magazine, distributed nationwide. I wrote the articles, sold the advertising and had to get permission to use the home phone to call contacts and conduct interviews. Got a shoutout from a member of the Pharcyde on JJJ, managed a couple of bands and dabbled in music production, which amounted to one demo song, which sounded terrible.
Moved to Sydney working odd jobs including at an investment bank. Started freelancing for street press publications, getting paid for album reviews, gig reviews and band interviews with free tickets and CDs.
Just before my 21st birthday, I was appointed Assistant Editor and later Editor of Revolver Magazine, the coolest street press rag in Australia IMHO.
To detox from being a music press editor in my early 20s, I moved to Central Australia to work for World Vision on programs to tackle petrol sniffing in Indigenous communities. A key highlight was playing a lead role on the project to build a recording studio at Papunya, utilising old contacts from the Sydney music scene. Peter Garrett visited to officially open the studio, and during my time there we recorded songs with Paul Kelly, Troy-Cassar Daley and Bunna Lawrie (Coloured Stone).
Landed my first ‘real’ journalism gig, working as the political reporter at News Corp’s Centralian Advocate in Alice Springs. Nearly got arrested covering a ‘break in’ of the Pine Gap spy base and got a national scoop by interviewing Australia’s most notorious bikie gang – the first to be granted an audience with them for publication.
Transferred to another News Corp newspaper The Cairns Post, starting as Business & Tourism Editor before being promoted to Chief-of-Staff. In the first couple of hours of my first day on the job, we got word Steve Irwin had just died up the road in Port Douglas – a sign I was meant to be in that newsroom at that time. Lifelong memories include our coverage of Cyclone Yasi, which involved relocating the newsroom to a nearby hotel ballroom due to the risk of storm surge to the Post’s office building. I also wrote a controversial opinion column called The King, published each Saturday. Apart from the hate mail, it was the most fun I’ve had writing for any publication I’ve worked at.
Transferred to a role with The Sunday Mail, where I continued to write my column for a bigger audience across North Queensland. I loved covering the top half of the state, including a junket writing assignment to cover the Townsville 500 Supercar race.
Poached back to The Cairns Post in the role of Editor-at-Large, without question the media world’s greatest job title.
After writing about – and lacerating – politicians for so long, I decided to get off the sidelines and jump onto the field of state politics. Won the seat of Cairns at the March 24 election, becoming the first Liberal politician in history to win the seat. Promoted to the role of Assistant Minister for Tourism, a great honour.
Booted out of office at the January 31 election, along with the government. Wrote Campbell Newman’s biography and launched a startup news site called Cairns Now, breaking a couple of big statewide stories in the process.
Founded the media and marketing company Tropic Group, a dynamic little startup that included an online news site, print magazine, events like Meet Eat Repeat and a design+marketing studio. I was managing director and editor, along with about 87 other roles every small business owner must do.
After successfully steering Tropic Group through the COVID-19 pandemic – one of the toughest endurance races for just about every business on the planet – I exited the company to work on some exciting new projects.