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Alan Moorehead

Images: Getty Images and Moorehead Family Collection

Images: Getty Images and Moorehead Family Collection

Alan Moorehead was a world-famous Australian war correspondent, author and historian, who was described by the Washington Post as one of the finest writers of the English language.

He joined the Melbourne Herald in 1933 before moving to Europe and the London Daily Express in 1937.

Moorehead observed and documented many of the major historical events of the 20th century. He debated strategy with Churchill and Gandhi, fished with Hemingway and drank with Graham Greene, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote.

He made his name as a correspondent during World War II, captivating readers with his vivid and dramatic accounts of the Allied campaign in North Africa.

Moorehead contributed to the New Yorker regularly after the war and wrote a number of bestselling history and travel books, including the award-winning ‘Gallipoli’.

But as his biographer Thornton McCamish wrote:

“His enduring legacy lies in those driven by his example to go out into the world in search of astonishing stories.”

His admirers included Manning Clark, Robert Hughes, Clive James and Germaine Greer.

“One way or another, all the expatriate writers in my generation have found themselves paying their tribute to a majestic progenitor,” Clive James wrote of Moorehead.

Speaking at the launch of JNI’s Journalist-in-Residence Program, The Australian‘s Editor-at-Large and JNI Board member Paul Kelly said Moorehead was a paradox, often better known and recognised abroad than in Australia.

“He published about 40 pieces in the New Yorker — surely a record unmatched by any other Australian,” Kelly said.

“He was a master of what every journalist aspire to achieve — to capture, accurately and authentically, the times in which he or she lives.”