by Rob Kothe
Veteran Australian yachting journalist and editor Peter Campbell has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours.
Peter Campbell1 - Australia Day Honour to Peter Campbell
The award, for 'services to yachting as a journalist' is the culmination of a distinguished national and international career in journalism that has covered all phases of the media industry, but also his notable role as media director of major yachting events, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The award also recognises his contribution to the sport as a volunteer in promoting sailing over many years at a club and class association level.
Born in Tasmania, Campbell began his sailing and career as a journalist in Hobart some 68 years ago, but for most of his life he was based in Sydney and on international assignments. He and his wife Sarah retired to Hobart in 2009, with Peter still giving much of his time to promoting the sport of sailing.
Campbell recalled two highlights of his career being at Newport, Rhode Island in 1983, covering Australia II’s historic victory at the America’s Cup, and at 3.30 in the morning on a chilly River Derwent watching Kialoa II setting a Sydney Hobart race record that was to stand for 21 years.
'The worst time ever was being media director during the tragic 1998 Sydney Hobart….my team in Hobart operated the media centre for 24 hours a day for the entire race and afterwards, handling a massive number of local, national and international media calls as yachts foundered, lost their rigs and six sailors lost their lives at sea,' Campbell told sail-world.com 'Sadly I knew most of those who died.
'But on the positive side, I recall with great pleasure the days when we, as a family, went bush in New South Wales with a Mirror dinghy on the box trailer to help establish sailing clubs on inland dams and lakes,' he added.
'I still get enjoyment in writing yachting and sailing articles for ‘The Mercury' and sail-world.com that help promote sailing in Tasmania, as well as being honorary editor of the ‘Tasmanian Yachtsman’, the magazine of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania,' the 83-year-old added.
During his long career as a journalist, Campbell has edited yachting magazines including Modern Boating and Offshore Yachting, covered five America’s Cup, including Australia II’s victory in 1983, Sydney Hobart races going back 66 years, seven Admiral’s Cup regattas in England and five Olympic Games.
Until his retirement after the 60th race, he was media director of the Sydney Hobart for more than 12 years. He was press officer for sailing at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics and also presses officer at the inaugural World Sailing Championships in Melbourne in 1999.
In addition to his Order of Australia Medal, Peter Campbell has received the Australian Sports Medal 2000, Yachting Australia’s Media Award in 1998 and 2004, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Meritorious Services Award in 2013.