The awesome armaments of the Highlands raskols
Death of Decency (Part I)

Don Hogg – old school journo cut his teeth in PNG

Don Hogg
Don Hogg in the late 1980s - journalist, SP bookie and wine aficionado


MELBOURNE - Many PNG Attitude readers will share my grief at the passing of Don Hogg after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer – and other afflictions.

Born in New Zealand of Maori heritage, Don served his journalistic apprenticeship with various newspapers in that country before arriving in Port Moresby in the early 1960s where, for the next decade, he represented various Australian journals – some of note, including The Australian, and others, like the unlamented Truth, of lesser regard.

These were the days when the Australian press treated Papua New Guinea as a serious place for its journalists, and they were well represented in Port Moresby and beyond.

In between filing stories (and many of his pieces were just that – as he admitted to me just recently), the ever-dapper Don fronted the bars of the Top and Bottom pubs and various Moresby clubs, ran his SP bookie operation from a shed next door to his Badili home or went fishing – often in the company of his good mate and Bully Beef Club member, Oala Oala Rarua.

I met Don in 1969 when I took over from KJ as editor of the School Papers (and godfather to Yokomo) where Don’s then wife, Gail, became a close, much-loved colleague, mentor and friend.

That was also the year that Don contributed the text for a reasonably successful large format ‘coffee table’ pictorial volume, New Guinea.

Don left PNG in the early 1970s and worked for Kerry Packer – initially as the last editor of Man magazine. He then became founding editor of the short-lived Sydney City Monthly and was a frequent contributor to Wheels and other magazines.

In 1978, Don convinced Kerry Packer to fund him and Richard Beckett (of Nation Review fame) to undertake a tour of Australian wineries – which yielded both the Bulletin Book of Australian Wineries and a different career path for him and his then new wife and family when he became executive officer of the McLarenvale Winemakers Association.

Finding life south of Adelaide a little too parochial, Don and family returned to Sydney where he took up a sub-editing role with The Australian Financial Review, supplementing his income by offering a successful program of wine appreciation cours – which eventually became his sole means of financial support.

Don spent his last years in Brisbane, in the company of a new partner, offering the occasional wine tasting and appreciation course, having a regular punt and relishing a newfound love of classical music.

As well as former wives and his partner, Don is survived by two daughters and two sons.


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Richard Jones

Like Edwin I, too, knew Don Hogg.

Not as closely as EB but we'd meet up from time to time.

Do we know how old he was when he passed?

I used to love The Truth (for which Don wrote) especially its true crime stories which focused on the Melbourne under world pre-Carl Williams and Mick Gatto. Old crooks like 'Lair' Brown used to get mentioned along with bent coppers from the late 40s-early 50s.

Later on as the years passed the Painters and Dockers with Billy 'The Texan' Longley prominent were regulars in The Truth.

But back to Don. I'd have a beer with him on an occasional basis in either the Top or Bottom Pub but never outlaid a single shilling (or a single toea) on nag racing - a notoriously crooked sport, if indeed a "sport", peopled by shonks.

I don't recall him having a love for wine, but that doesn't mean he didn't have the taste four decades back. Good on him for publicising the wines from McLaren Vale.

We visit those vineyards and cellars reasonably regularly. Just a 6-hour drive from central Victoria.

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