Peter Macinnis

Workshop Availability

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Regional NSW & Interstate (as a part of series)

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Peter Macinnis is a full-time writer with many books to his name, mainly related to science, history or both. He writes books, magazine articles and occasional radio talks, most of which turn up on the ABC's Ockham's Razor.

His hobbies include having temporary obsessions, many of which end up becoming topics to write about, bushwalking swiftly, pausing only to bother plants, insects and other wild things, reading, science and technology as they existed in the 19th century, the curiosities of Australian history, reading, recreational mathematics, creative computing, reading, being a grandfather, contributing new ideas in unexpected places—and writing. Not to forget reading.

While he thinks of himself mainly as a writer for the general (i.e.,adult) market, he is amused to find that most of his awards have come from a far more challenging area: writing for children. In the past fourteen years, four of his books have been named as Notable by the Children's Book Council of Australia, two were short-listed for the CBCA Eve Pownall awards, with one becoming an Honour Book in 2008 and one named book of the year in 2010. He has also collected a number of other awards associated with science writing.

Once a bureaucrat, often a teacher, he now holds all of the papers needed to prove that he is retired, but refuses to stop.

Peter's Books

Australian Backyard Naturalist
Peter Macinnis, published 2012 by National Library of Australia.

In Australian Backyard Naturalist, Peter enthusiastically explores the animals that inhabit the places in which we live, from the furry to the slimy, the large to the tiny. He keeps readers entertained with stories about his own adventures with Australia’s creepy crawlies and other creatures, as well as collectors’ and naturalists’ stories from the times of first European settlement to recent times.

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Peter's Workshops

All of Peter's workshops have been linked to the Australian Curriculum English Standards and Outcomes. For more information about the following workshops or to have something customised to suit your needs please contact

Becoming a Backyard Naturalist

Based on 'Australian Backyard Naturalist', it concentrates on showing kids how to find unexpected wildlife in their own backyards/schoolyards, coupled to a bit of microscopy. This typically runs for about an hour, but can easily be extended by adding other units. The school needs to have some plants and preferably, a compost heap or a pile of leaves that has been largely undisturbed for a couple of months.

Suitable for: Years 5 to 9.

Making Facts Interesting: Exploring Trove Historical Newspapers

Peter will lead students in research skills by computer, focusing on the Trove Historical newspapers collection and/or the little-considered art of presenting factual material in an interesting way.

Suitable for: Years 8 to 12.

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