The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

AWAY WITH WORDS He­len Hutcheon

(Im­pact Press, $24.95)

There’s a firm clue to the evolv­ing ca­reer of vet­eran Aus­tralian jour­nal­ist and ed­i­tor He­len Hutcheon on her mem­oir’s cover. There she is, in the 1960s, look­ing very fetch­ing in a smart suit with nau­ti­cal hat aboard the liner Ibe­ria. It was taken when she worked in the pub­lic re­la­tions de­part­ment of P&O for seven years af­ter she had be­come a graded jour­nal­ist and it was this pe­riod that in­spired her later pas­sion for cruis­ing. Af­ter re­tir­ing from edit­ing mag­a­zines and writ­ing for tourism in­dus­try jour­nals, Hutcheon is a re­gional correspondent for Bri­tish-based Seatrade Cruise News. It seems like a very agree­able cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion, back to a form of travel she loves.

In this lively ac­count, she shares vi­gnettes of her early days rep­re­sent­ing P&O (in­clud­ing an on-air news gaffe in which she told view­ers all about a chil­dren’s “pid­dling” pool aboard one ship) plus tales of work­ing on pub­li­ca­tions such as Woman’s Day, Vogue Liv­ing, which she edited (and re­calls ad­vis­ing read­ers how to make a tennis dress and rac­quet cover from pil­low cases), and with Ita But­trose on Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly. Hutcheon writes of a world of priv­i­leged ac­cess to roy­als (Princess Grace of Monaco, for one), car­bon pa­per and copy­tak­ers, all un­known to the new breed of blog­gers and dig­i­tal spe­cial­ists. I shared a mo­tel room with her one night in Kather­ine, NT, many moons ago and she woke me be­fore dawn as she bashed away at a por­ta­ble type­writer, look­ing rather like Aun­tie Mame in im­mac­u­late peignoir and tur­ban. “Don’t you have a dead­line, too?” she asked, look­ing point­edly at her watch. More: book­topia.com.au; bookde­pos­i­tory.com.


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