Lifestyle

The journalist who helped Melbourne get the joke



With the Chinese People’s Liberation Army at the gate, the family fled Shanghai to Melbourne and settled in St Kilda.

It was a huge culture shock. His father would take public transport from St Kilda to Broadmeadows every Saturday morning, where a young friend of his managed to buy a coffee machine, one of the few in the early years. 1950 in Melbourne. Weiniger, too, remains the same: in a city ruled by Australian Rules, he remains loyal to the football that remains intact and is renowned as a goalkeeper. But years later, he was last laughed at in front of elementary school bullies when his 1982 children’s book How to play football Still sold worldwide 20 years after its release. However, he also remains a lifelong follower of St Kilda Football Club.

Weiniger attended North Caulfield Primary School before being admitted to Melbourne Select High School. When he matriculated, he took the first round of admissions at Monash University’s original Clayton campus, but was bombed after just a year of not studying economics.

However, with the goal of fulfilling his father’s wish to have an accountant for his son, he went through another failed year at the Australian National University in Canberra, where he finally got a taste of his future. himself, working as a regular for Rupert Murdoch’s new national daily. Australianin 1964. The camaraderie of such an out-and-out endeavor quickly broke the class divide in Australia: Weiniger likes to recall that Murdoch discovered him late at night in the bus shelter and drove him home.

Weiniger returned to Melbourne and began the first of many short stints above Australian Jewish News, then to Southeast Asia while the Vietnam War was going on and finally became a freelancer in Cambodia. He also works part-time for a news agency in Vientiane when reporters often leave Laos on business trips.

Weiniger spent time in Israel before returning to Melbourne to work for the AAP news agency in 1976 before rejoining Jewish News. He is also married. It did not last, but gave birth to a son. Three years later, he was invited to work as a researcher/reporter on Age when the new editor, Michael Davie, decided to restore the daily column of page two.

Weiniger added variety and humor to the newsroom, and quickly shared the writing of News Diary with Jan McGuinness and Kevin Childs. His own diary appeared for about a year until a lengthy journalist’s strike in May 1980 caused Davie to rethink and Davie returned to England. He then worked for a while as a general news reporter before finding his niche as an art reporter where he did the job. his breakthrough on comedy in Melbourne.

For Jon Hawkes, a founding member of Circus Oz, this piece was priceless. “He understands and sympathizes with the intentions of this crowd, he likes their aesthetic and he appreciates their efforts. He becomes friends with the people he writes about, he cares about their problems and he writes beautifully. He moved on to more diverse topics in the decades that followed, but I will always remember and cherish his contribution to the odd, confrontational, and amateur.

Ralph Kerle, of Flying Trapeze, wrote on Facebook that Weiniger was instrumental in bringing public attention to the many successful performances there in the ’70s and ’80s. “It was important that he squabbled for space. his reviews… legitimize the Fitzroy pub scene as part of the larger Melbourne theater scene.” He saw the first late-night Los Trios Ringbarkus performance and convinced Ralph to invite two record-breaking season-break performers to attend. “…this moment with Los Trios Ringbarkus was a breakthrough for me and for future shows,” recalls Ralph. “In my experience, Peter was a very humble, caring person and was crucial to the public success of the early Fitzroy scene.”

It’s not all sunshine. A critical review of the show Last Laugh angered its owner, John Pinder, so much so that he quickly sent a bucket of slime to wait for Weiniger to arrive at his desk in his newsroom.

However, his warmth is such that his friendships include some with whom he attended kindergarten and elementary school. They were at his funeral with black and white classroom photos in plastic folders.

Along with other friends, he has traveled to places like Vietnam, the Pacific and Türkiye. There, Weiniger was determined to get a massage, despite a friend’s attempts to discourage him. The average masseur can be three times the size of Weiniger, at least four times his weight and has a strangler’s wrist. But he insisted, and two hours later came back with excruciating pain and was walking like a robot. It took him days to recover.

Back home, change was happening and so Weiniger left the arts and comedy reporting business as a new generation of comedians moved into the dead TV and restaurant scene. He continued to write and edit many Year old section, including Epicthe Green guide And FOR EXAMPLE. His last work on Age is writing editorials where his international experience and interests come first. In 1998, he was among many journalists fired. He taught journalism at RMIT University for a decade before falling ill in 2011.

His sister, Nelly, died before him.

Weiniger is interred at Springvale Botanical Cemetery. Before the traditional shoveling ceremony, his son, Patrick, wore a St Kilda scarf.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Camilo and Arlen.

Kevin Childs and Damien Murphy are colleagues and friends of Peter Weiniger.

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