Interview: Peter Temple talks with Kerry O’Brien

Author Peter Temple was interviewed by Kerry O’Brien on Thursday night’s 7:30 Report. Here is  a transcript of some of Peter’s comments.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Well, just describe how Jack Irish developed as a character, how he emerged on the page.

PETER TEMPLE: I wanted to have somebody who had… I’m interested in lawyers. I’m interested in the way they think, I’m interested in the law and I wanted him to be a lawyer, but I didn’t want him to have the nuisance of actually practicing the law. But I also wanted him to have other interests, so… so I just put in a few of my own interests, like cabinet making and things like that.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Horse racing.

PETER TEMPLE: And horse racing! It was very difficult to combine all these things because I didn’t realised that I had to have a plot to involve both a conventional crime, as it were, but it had to have a horse racing angle to it too.

So there’s always been this – the moment at which these plots have to be solved simultaneously, as they are quite different strands. But in all of that Jack grew up and I invented a history for Jack. And it’s that he had played- his whole family had played football for the Fitzroy Football Club, and there were these survivors from those days, these diehards who wouldn’t-didn’t think that Brisbane was actually a legitimate club.

And I invented a pub for them to drink at and all of these things and he came alive to me very quickly. And has, um… I feel affectionate about him. Pardon?

KERRY O’BRIEN: And then you sent it to your agent…

PETER TEMPLE: The publisher was wonderful. She soared immediately. She thought that was hilarious and she said, “You know what I like about the book, Peter? I like the football and the horse racing”…

PETER TEMPLE: No, I don’t think Jack Irish is gone for… Well, you know, the fates willing, I don’t think so. I think there should be one more Jack Irish. There are things undone there. I want to do a Melbourne Cup Jack Irish.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Ah! What, the ultimate sting? The ultimate sting!

PETER TEMPLE: Yes! I want the ultimate sting. I’m taking advice on it at the moment.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Well, you’re a punter yourself; this is obviously a fantasy of yours.

PETER TEMPLE: It is. It is. I want to win the Melbourne Cup with a 100-to-one shot…

The full interview can be seen here:


  1. Brian Odgers says

    I saw your interview with Kerry O’Brien where you thought there was another book for Jack Irish on the Melbourne Cup with a 100 to1 win.

    My family has real life happening involving my uncle Jmaes Smith and the shrewd brothers – a bunch of NZ scoundrals who did just that in 1936 with a horse called Wotan. If you were interested I could relate this intregueing story of just how they duped everyone – the betting opened at 200 to 1- my little diminutive innocent Aunt with a bagful of money placing the bets. She was married to Jim a real hard case-absolutely no education surviving on his wits.
    Time has moved on with all the brothers/familyinvolved are in the great horse track in the sky. Anyway you are quite free to pick out my story – it may be interest.
    Look it up on the Web-”Wotan 1936 Melbourne Cup” to their background and successes-Peter Jackson, Gaine Carrington and Wotan.
    Good Luck with the book
    Brian Odgers

  2. It’s a great story, Brian. I like the picture you paint of your aunt with the bag of money. Thanks for your interest.

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