After being granted a Churchill Fellowship for the year 1974 I was able to travel overseas to study, and finally bring back to Australia, information on the following: gardening presentation for television programs, organic growing techniques, modern landscaping practices and children’s playground design. The study tour took me through the United States, Britain and South Africa. This prestigious Fellowship enabled me to gain friendly, willing access to many significant institutions: US, UK and South African TV and radio stations and universities. I dealt with top-rating BBC gardening program makers and presenters in addition to botanic gardens, community food gardens, many leading horticulturalists and numerous individual journalists and media presenters.
On my return I was able to put the new knowledge gained into immediate practice, especially during the production of gardening programs for ABC-TV and Radio. This led to my being appointed main presenter on the ABC’s national ‘Gardening Australia’ program for many years. I was also inspired to form active organic-growing gardening groups in 20 different towns in Tasmania; to lecture widely on my experiences; to design several children’s play areas based on both adventure and safety; and to help create many school gardens. In addition I was able to write gardening articles for many state and national newspapers, magazines and journals. You might say that I did the ‘blooming lot’! The fact that I was able to pass on to a national audience the information and knowledge gained during this valuable, much-needed overseas study tour simply confirmed the extraordinary values and benefits that can be achieved as a result of being granted a Churchill Fellowship.
I am still involved in passing on to the general public much of the knowledge I acquired during my Fellowship study by continuing to broadcast on a weekly basis and write gardening columns for various magazines, journals and newspapers. Without question, the granting of a Churchill Fellowship back in 1974 has played a particularly significant role in my life and the many ways I have been able to communicate with the Australian public during several decades following that study tour.
Excerpt from 'Bringing Knowledge Home: Tasmanian Fellows 1965-2015’ coordinated by Patricia Corby.
Peter remained engaged as a Churchill Fellow, delighting audiences at the 2019 Convention of Churchill Fellows in Hobart with a wonderful reflection of his life.