Iconic author reflects on life

Christadelphian Aged Care Homes

Gary Crew became a household name during the 1980s and 90s after publishing some of Australia’s most iconic children’s literature.

The author is now approaching his 70th birthday, and spends much of his time in his mountain home about 40 minutes north of Maranatha Aged Care where his mum lives.

Gary usually visits on a Sunday and attends the Christadelphian ecclesia with others from the Village and Home, where he often shares his thoughts and reflections.

“Naturally as you grow older your priorities become more and more spiritually related as you realise your mortality,” he said.

Gary’s began writing children’s literature in the early 1980s, and after publishing The Inner Circle in 1986, went on to write his most successful books Strange Objects and The Water Tower.

He was a high school teacher when he first began writing, but as his books became more popular he had to choose between his two careers.

“Strange Objects went completely ballistic, and then at  the same time my publishers said why don’t you have a go at illustrated books, which had never really crossed my mind,” he said.

“That went ballistic as well and I had two things in my bow, and so I gave up teaching moved my wife Christine to country.”

He is the only Australian author to have been awarded the Australian Children’s Book of the Year four times, which he won for Strange Objects, Angel’s Gate, First Light and The Watertower.

“The 1990s were huge years for me in publication terms, but it is less important for me now to be on top of the ladder than was in those days,” Gary said.

“People say my writing is dark… but it’s just a story. I see writing like doing embroidery or macrame. What I do isn’t the meaning of life.

“It never occurred to me that I did anything special, it was just a natural thing. Some people jump high, I could write, so I never respected it. It’s just something that came to me very intuitively.

“I do feel very blessed, and believe God is on my team and I’ve been looked after,” he said.

Gary is now one of the longest-serving staff members at the University of the Sunshine Coast where he lectures in Creative Writing.

He is taking time off in November to work on a new book on the Loch Ard, which was shipwrecked in Victoria in 1878 leaving only two teenage survivors.