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Other Writings > Letters to the Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

On the September 1, 1995, my first letter to the Sydney Morning Herald was published and I never looked back: I've been opining and whining ever since.

"What an insufferably pretentious letter from Peter Fyfe..." Terry of Gordon (May 18, 2009)

I've posted some of my favourite letters on the following pages:

bulletQuips: a collection of usually amusing one-lines

bulletBig Questions: wry answers to the real issues

bulletBanging On: assorted diatribes of a more lengthy disposition

bulletHeartfelt: letters I just had to write

bulletPolitics: sounding off on all manner of things

bulletThe Arts: contributions to the public debate

bulletHomosexuality and the Church: a perennial favourite!


To set the tone, a meta-letter…

Letter writers are the last true democrats, a group of selfless public-spirited individuals dedicated to keeping the bastards honest through their vibrant veracious vox populi. Anyone suggesting we're a lot of egotistical, opinionated wind-bags does so at his/her peril.

May 1, 2000

On the January 24, 2002, I celebrated "The Ted", named for the late Ted Matulevicius of Goonellabah, with the publication of my 100th letter.

For the record, I celebrated the half Ted (50th) on September 16, 1998 and the sesqui Ted on April 23, 2004. On September 7, 2005 I achieved the double Ted (200th), the two-and-a-half Ted on February 3, 2007 and the triple Ted on December 15, 2008. February 27, 2012 saw me hit the three-and-a-half, a feat the editors kindly acknowledged in that week's Postscript. The quadruple Ted fell on June 4, 2014 followed by the four-and-a-half-Ted on June 29, 2016. And finally, on October 17, 2018, the QuinTed. Hello, my name is Peter, and I'm an opine adict.

On October 20, 2012, an editorial oversight resulted in my becoming the second epistlographer ever to achieve the quinella: two letters past the post on one day!

It really is terribly addictive... and "insufferably pretentious".

But not nearly as pretentious as being deemed a C8PhD.

To celebrate its 175th anniversary, the SMH published two volumes of "Best Letters". I'm proud to say I rated two in Volume One, and five in Volume Two. It's a kind of fame.

In 2013, Allen and Unwin published "Pardon me for mentioning…" a collection of unpublished letters edited by Julie Lewis and Catharine Munro. Read all about it here and here and here. As it turns out, the title comes from one of mine...

"Pardon me for mentioning it, but bogans are even more snobbish about elitists than the well-voiced versa. Watch the reactions around the water cooler if you forget yourself and mention a night at the theatre, reading a book, or downloading an awesome jazz track. You won't get the polite interest you showed during their recap of last night's must-see episode of Fat Bogans Can Sing, Dance, and Cook."

Note: Some links to historic letters pages mysteriously went all 404. *sigh*

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2018 .

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