Stories and sketches about a man who flashed through this world like a rogue 'wandrin' star' on a unique, unplottable trajectory: John (Jack) Peake—the 'Everyman' of the blue-singletted drinkers, gamblers and workers of south-western Sydney Australia from the 1950s to the nineteen-eighties.
Jack Peake was famed for his unmatched confidence and optimism, his ability to 'sniff out a quid', his colourful turn of phrase and acerbic sense of humour, and his legendary drinking and gambling bouts. He was always at the centre of gatherings of men of his type: holding court, legs spread wide, arms crossed, hands cupping his biceps, Akubra hat tilted back. He never drank alone in any pub after the first time.
Jack would have made a very effective politician, but not a trustworthy one. He could justify the seemingly indefensible. The Nazis on trial at Nuremberg should have sent for him. He could make the most ludicrous scheme seem rational and plausible. He could have found work on a south-sea island. The book covers every aspect of his life:
His family, the Peakes of Peakhurst
Depression-era truant and war-era tearaway
Up-country rural labourer and circus roustabout
Post-war spieler and 'midnight removalist'
Short-term navy recruit
Truckie and concreting entrepreneur
Partly domesticated husband and father: Panania and East Hills
'Boat Harbour Jack' of the Port Stephens district.
Reviews of Wandrin' Star
‘Pour yourself a drink (preferably alcoholic) and sit down and read this beaut yarn. You might just find yourself thinking about your own past and larrikins you have known; or perhaps, the larrikin you once were yourself in an earlier life!’
Keith Ray, author/editor Nags to Riches and national racing radio commentator.
‘A loving sketch of a sketchy cast of Australian rogues, especially Wild Jack himself. It’s Zorba the Greek minus the Greek parts. Larger than life, heroic, hilarious, and always life-affirming.’
Eric Bertuccio, ‘Mad Man’, writer, photographer and ‘Old East-Hillian’.
You can buy Wandrin' Star right now from the online bookstore for this website at a special discounted price!
Tupperware Turnout Tonk-out
Incident with large shark Port Stephens NSW
Lugarno lamb 'on the lam'
Wandrin' Star: Wild Jack Peake of Peakhurst!
'Bloody good read. Buy it or you're a mug.'
Jack Peake pub art