Last Day of School

Reading. Writing. Publishing.

Research. Write. Repeat.

Nice work! You’ve found the home of micro-publisher Last Day of School. Which is really just one guy. To find out more about each book, just click on the covers.

Little Darling: Daryl Braithwaite and The Horses
February 2023

Most musicians only get one chance at fame. Daryl Braithwaite has managed to have three of them. Firstly with Sherbet, then with his solo career starting in the late 1980s. In the 2000s, he got lucky a third via the surprise and lasting success of The Horses. This book looks at Braithwaite’s musical career – and offers a few reasons to explain the popularity of The Horses.

Biff: Rugby League’s Infamous Fights
Gelding Street Press
August 2022

As well as offering a ringside view, Biff also discusses the reasons behind the fights and what happened to the players afterwards. Some escaped suspension, while others were rubbed out of the game. A few missed the chance to play in a grand final or found their careers cut short after being on the receiving end of a nasty punch.

Lull City: The Wollongong Music Scene 1955-2020
March 2022

The Wollongong music scene is now well and truly on the map, thanks to Hockey Dad, the Yours and Owls Festival and the Farmer and the Owl label. Right now is the latest of four golden ages for the scene. Lull City focuses on that period but looks back at the other high points.
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Alright! Queen At Live Aid
November 2021

  On July 13, 1985, the world tuned in to watch Live Aid. History has judged Queen as far and away the best performance on the day. This book looks into that day and goes back to the Band Aid single that spawned it all and checks out where Queen was before the big show – and what it did for their career afterwards.

Healer: The Rise, Fall and Return of Tumbleweed
September 2020

Borne out of the Proton Energy Pills, Tumbleweed were big in the 1990s, and certainly the biggest band to come out of Wollongong at the time. But then it all fell apart and the members hardly spoke. So it was a surprise when the original line-up reformed in 2009. Healer traces their history, right up to the planned release of new material in 2020.

Night Terrors: The True Story of the Kingsgrove Slasher
June 2019
Winner 2019 Ron Rathbone Prize for Local History

The Slasher was out and about in Sydney in the late 1950s – a peeping Tom who graduated to breaking into women’s bedrooms, groping them and slashing them with a razor. The afternoon tabloids had a field day with the case until he was caught.

Sounds Like an Ending: Midnight Oil, 10-1 and Red Sails in the Sunset
March 2019

It’s a song-by-song look at my two favourite Midnight Oil albums.
“This is intelligent, insightful and at times dryly amusing writing that does what the finest commentary should by brilliantly putting the music in the context of the life, times and events surrounding its creation.” – Stuart Coupe.

Beer is Fun!
October 2018

For years I wrote the blog Beer is Your Friend. This is a collection of the best bits. It was released as an ultra-limited edition print version (just 20 copies) but is still available as an ebook.

Friday Night at the Oxford
September 2018

In my day job I’m a journalist at the Illawarra Mercury. This is a collection of stories I wrote for that paper about bands in my home town of Wollongong.

The Six-Pack: Stories from the World of Beer
May 2018

An ebook-only companion to my first book The Slab (see below). That one was about beer in Australia, this one is oddball stories from around the world.

James Squire: The Biography
November 2017

The first full biography of Australian convict turned brewer, policeman, real estate tycoon and ladies’ man James Squire.  Forget the story you’ve heard from the beer brand that appropriated his name – this is the real deal.

The Slab: 24 Stories of Beer in Australia
January 2017

Tales about beer in Australia, including the origins of VB’s Talking Boonie doll, the city that was declared alcohol-free before it was even built and Word War I recruits getting drunk and smashing up Sydney.
“History as it should be written. With beer. About beer.” John Birmingham
Gourmand World Food and Drink Writing Awards – National winner