> Skip to content
  • Published: 31 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780857987594
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

The Fair and the Foul

Inside Our Sporting Nation




Sport in Australia is a national obsession. In this book David Hill recalls his encounters with the great and the good in Australian sport, as well as some of its darker moments.

If anyone is qualified to talk about sport in Australia, it's David Hill. In this book, with the benefit of his years of personal experience both playing and working in the sporting world, he vividly narrates its rise in Australia since the end of the nineteenth century, from the first cricket tour of England in 1868 by an Australian team – an Aboriginal team – to our earliest successes at the Olympics in 1896, when Edwin Flack was the only Australian competitor and won two gold medals, to the golden age of the 1950s when Australia ruled the world in tennis, swimming and athletics.

In this book David also recalls his battles as president of the North Sydney Bears with tobacco sponsorship lobby groups; his coup as managing director of the ABC in buying the broadcast rights for the AFL; his gargantuan efforts to clean up soccer as chairman of Soccer Australia. And he takes us through the shift in sport from the relative innocence of the amateur era to its commercialisation, which, through the years, has undoubtedly contributed to the uglier sides of our national obsession: the corruption, the drugs, the sexism and racism. Have we plunged to a nadir in recent times, or are these characteristics of our sporting nation an inevitable and permanent effect of the need to succeed?

This book is a riveting, personal take on a subject that so many Australians follow fanatically – a must-read for sports lovers, but also a compelling, revealing account for those who have never quite understood the appeal of our national obsession.

  • Published: 31 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780857987594
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the author

David Hill

David Hill is a prolific and highly regarded New Zealand writer, playwright, poet, columnist and critic. Best known for his highly popular and award-winning body of work for young people, ranging from picture books to teenage fiction, his novels have been published all around the world and translated into several languages, and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast here and overseas.

Born in Napier, New Zealand, David studied at Victoria University of Wellington and became a high-school teacher, teaching both in New Zealand and the UK. In 1982 he became a full-time writer and his first novel for teenagers, See Ya, Simon (1992), about a boy with muscular dystrophy, was shortlisted for major awards in New Zealand and the UK and won the 1994 Times Educational Supplement Award for Special Needs. An enduringly popular novel used as a class text in high schools all over New Zealand, in 2002 it was awarded the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book.

David has published more than 40 titles over the past three decades. His recent middle-grade novels include My Brother's War (2012), which in 2013 won the Junior Fiction Award and the Children's Choice Junior Fiction Award in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the LIANZA Librarian's Choice Award and was listed as a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book, a White Raven and an IBBY Honour book. This was followed by novels Brave Company (2014) – also a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction book; The Deadly Sky (2015); Enemy Camp (2016), which won the 2016 HELL Children’s Choice Award for Junior Fiction; Flight Path (2017), a Storylines Notable Book; and Finding (May 2018).

David is also the author of a number of critically acclaimed picture books with illustrator Phoebe Morris. First to the Top (2015) is their bestselling story of the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, which won the 2016 Children's Choice Award for non-fiction and was a 2016 Storylines Notable Picture Book. Speed King (2016), about the world-record-breaking achievements of Burt Munro, and Sky High (2017), recounting the life of the daring aviator Jean Batten, were both presented with Storylines Notable Picture Book awards. Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake's Mighty Ocean Quests was published in 2018 and Dinosaur Hunter: Joan Wiffen's Awesome Fossil Discoveries was published in 2019.

In 2004 David was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2005 he was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, acknowledging his significant contribution to children's literature in New Zealand.

He lives in New Plymouth with his wife Beth, and juggles his many writing projects with numerous school visits, leading professional development for teachers, mentoring new and emerging writers and tutoring creative writing.

Also by David Hill

See all

Discover more

Article
Playing by our rules

David Hill details the beginnings of Australia’s national obsession.

Related titles