ON the eve of the launch of his fourth book The Great Race even David Hill admits he’s come a long way since being “thrown out” of Orange High School as a teenager.
Mr Hill told The Central Western Daily a combination of disruptive behaviour and a perceived inability to be taught, prompted his removal from school and subsequent enrolment at Molong Central School.
After leaving school Mr Hill went on to undertake a variety of jobs from garbage collector to builders’ labourer before eventually completing his education at technical college, university and then a varied career most recently as an author.
While all of Mr Hill’s books reflect his interest in Australian history it’s his book on child migrants who ended up at Molong’s Fairbridge Farm School, The Forgotten Children, that first brought him to the attention of people in the central west.
“Writing that book was a big change from what I’d done before,” Mr Hill said.
Despite the book’s success Mr Hill said he was largely unprepared for the backlash it attracted.
“I think all of my books are very important but The Forgotten Children is one of the most important things I’ve ever done,” he said.
“But it provoked some pretty strange behaviour in some people.”
In fact the book’s Molong launch was cancelled and he received feedback from a lot of people who preferred to “close the door” to that part of their history.
“Of course there were also a lot of people who had a lot of sympathy for what Fairbridge kids had been through,” he said.
Following the publication of The Forgotten Children, publisher Random House asked Mr Hill to write more books which told “the Australian story”.
His latest book, The Great Race, traces the early European exploration of Australia and in particular, the competition between the French and the British to be the first to complete the first map of Australia.
Mr Hill said he enjoyed researching the book which provided “balance for a distorted public perception of Australia’s history to date”.
“It’s been an exciting voyage of discovery for me,” Mr Hill said.
With another book already on the horizon, although no topic has been selected, Mr Hill said he needed a rest first.
“The Great Race is a big and complex story ... I need a break,” he said.
Mr Hill will launch his book at Orange City Library on October 24 at 12.30 pm.