Bill Pinwill


SYDNEY — Bill Pinwill died of a heart condition on June 6, aged 52. He was a "distinguished" journalist in more than the usual sense of the word: be remembered not only for the stories covered and positions held, but also for his influence on those he met both personally and professionally. His funeral on June 11 was addressed by, among others, novelist Christopher Koch and Brian Toohey, co-author with Pinwill of Oyster, the book on the Australian Secret Intelligence Service which the Hawke government tried, unsuccessfully, to block from publication. Following is the transcript of a taped message from London by John Pilger, which was played at the wake.

Bill Pinwill was one of the finest journalists I ever knew. He was also a particular friend to me, and I shall never forget his friendship and the strength it gave me. A few years ago when I needed support, it was Bill who speedily and generously came to my defence. He did this with such care, both for me and for the truth. When Bruce Ruxton described Bill and me as collaborators, he intended the pejorative, but he honoured me by associating me with Bill.

I know that all his collaborators, Debbie and Brian especially, will miss him terribly. Bill had that extraordinary combination of warmth, intellectual and professional vigour, a true sense of irony and a dryness of humour that made him such an attractive person.

He also had a political vision and a vision of journalism that you hear about so rarely these days. Journalism, he said, is the weaving together of the strands of history, of putting each piece carefully in the puzzle with just one aim: that of setting the record straight.

Bill was always one of the first people I wanted to see whenever I returned home. There are too few like him, and I shall miss him.