Veteran radio star Bob Maumill turns the page on a new story

At Have a Go News we celebrate ageing – and we hope that our breadth of interesting characters and stories which we feature in our pages continues to demonstrate that age is no barrier to achieving goals, even when life throws you a curve ball or two along the way.

One of WA’s most recognisable voices of the airwaves, Bob Maumill has overcome a few hurdles in the last few years.

A cancer diagnosis and some rather severe surgery to rebuild his face, along with follow up treatment, left Bob feeling housebound and despondent.

He said he spent hours awake at night worrying the cancer would return or he would be rendered immobile.

“I needed something to snap me out of my self-pity and fear. I needed a project to work on. I began reading historical fiction. None of it related to Western Australia. I knew we had great stories to tell,” he said.

After this metaphorical kick up the pants Bob began writing his first book Letters from a Hard Country.

“I researched the turbulent times of colonial Western Australia and the Goldfields and began writing. It was the therapy I needed.

“I enjoy writing as a form of creative self-expression. I have friends my age who draw, paint and enjoy photography. Some are recovering from serious illness or the loss of a spouse or dear friend. Others are having difficulty confronting the challenges of living a long life. Writing, reading, and researching stimulated my mind and gave me a project to focus on. In doing so I moved on from fear and self-pity,” Bob said. 

Last month Have a Go News attended the launch of Bob’s first book Letters from a Hard Country which saw his two-year mission come to fruition. 

Ably emceed by Tony McManus and officially launched by David Templeman MLA, a room full of family, fans and colleagues all gathered at the South Fremantle Football Club to pay homage to Bob Maumill and the new book. 

Bob said that at age 85 years writing the book has been an extension of something he has always enjoyed, storytelling. 

“Over the years, I have written lots of short stories, the original story and screenplay for a film, newspaper columns, and radio advertising copy; Letters from a Hard Country is my biggest and most satisfying project.”

As an avid lover of historical fiction, I was keen to rip through the book and managed to read it in a week. I should note that David Templeman told me he read the book in about two days. 

We agreed it was a gripping story which brought out the best and worst in people. It was an intense and detailed look at Western Australian life at the turn of the 20th century, centred around the rush across the Goldfields.

There were characters in the book who made me cringe and characters who I supported. I loved the way in which Bob held nothing back, particularly entwining Aboriginal characters into the story and giving the reader a deeper insight into how first nation people’s lives were changed by colonial settlement. It wasn’t preaching, it was thoughtful and the Aboriginal characters in the book were ones to champion and offered the reader a deeper cultural understanding. 

Bob said tapping into the minds and personas of his characters, both good and evil, is what makes them real to the reader. 

“Creating those characters is something I enjoyed doing. It was easy for me.

“The Goldfields are rich in history and stories. When researching old newspapers seeking a central theme, I read the story of Wingella and his escape. It was the spark I needed, and the book grew from there.

“When writing about Aboriginal language and traditions I consulted with the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre Aboriginal Corporation (GALCAC). The impact of colonisation on the Aboriginal inhabitants is a story often ignored. I tried to tell it without resorting to lecturing. I hoped by understanding each-others’ stories, we could come together in friendship.”

Bob said he had mixed feelings when he wrote the last line. 

“Writing it had been such an important part of my day, (and sometimes much of my night). I may write a sequel, depending on how this book is received.”

Letters from a Hard Country is a sweeping and classic historical Western Australian story written by a classic Western Australian.

Bob is available for author talks and book signings, contact him on email at

Purchase the book for $25 direct from