Peggy Warner

Peggy Warner (Homegrown Hobsons Bay writer image).jpg

Peggy Strafford Warner was born on 29th January, 1915, in Williamstown, Victoria, the third daughters of Lily Hick (nee Strafford), who was a milliner and Ernest Hick, a lawyer. She attended Strathmore Grammar School and MLC.

Peggy began her working life in the early 1940s as secretary to the editor of The Herald in Melbourne and later joined the paper's reporting staff. She married Denis Warner, also a reporter and celebrated war correspondent, in 1945.

Over the next fifty years, with her growing family (children Shelley, Nick and Annabel, she lived in post-war Japan, Singapore and the United States, travelling widely, absorbing diverse cultures and making friends with people around the world. She saw what was left of Hiroshima, witnessed the Japanese War Trials, saw “sickness, semi-starvation and dejection,” and endured the knowledge that, several times, her husband was almost “blown up by a Japanese kamikaze plane”.

Over the years she wrote eight books, four of them in collaboration with her husband. Peggy's books were as diverse as the places she would live in. The first, Don't Type in Bed, was a colourful, vivacious account of her early married life with a roving reporter. She also wrote Asia Is People, an insightful and at times humorous study of Asian moods and life in the early 1960s. The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War 1904-05, co-written with Denis, was one of the first major accounts of Japan's rise as a world power. Covering a previously little known conflict, it was used as a textbook for students at the US Naval War College.

Peggy Warner died on 4th September, 2010.

Life in, and connection to, Hobsons Bay

Peggy was born in Williamstown and lived there until her marriage. Despite living abroad for most of the remainder of her life, Williamstown remained close to her heart. She reminisced about her joyful childhood there and her extraordinary life after leaving it in her heartfelt final book, an autobiography titled Over the Other Side: From Williamstown to the World, which she began writing when she was 89 and which was published when she was 93.

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As well as her columns and articles written during her career as a journalist with the Melbourne Herald, Peggy wrote or co-authored eight books:

  • Don't Type in Bed: Life with a Roving Journalist, Peggy Warner (F.W. Cheshire Melbourne, 1958)
  • Asia is people, Peggy Warner (1961)
  • The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05 (Hardcover), Denis and Peggy Warner (1974)
  • The Great Road: Japan's Highway to the Twentieth Century, Denis Warner and Peggy Warner (Richmond, Hutchinson 1979)
  • The Sacred Warriors: Japan’s Suicide Legions, Denis and Peggy Warner with Commander Sadao Seno (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982)
  • Disaster in the Pacific: New Light on the Battle of Savo Island, Denis Ashton Warner, Peggy Warner and Sadao Senoo (1992)
  • The coffin boats: Japanese midget submarine operations in the Second World War, Peggy Warner and Sadao Seno (London: L. Cooper in association with Secker & Warburg, 1986)
  • Over the Other Side: From Williamstown to the World, Peggy Warner (HR Publications, 2007)
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