John Kiely’s novel approach to the world of journalism

This article was originally published in 2014.

Lifetime Melbourne journalist John Kiely has written a fiction novel Press Gang about, yes, the dramatic life of a journalist — exposing political corruption, sex crime, the perils of covering a foreign battle, internal newspaper intrigue, and of course his own love life and family difficulties.

Published by Connor Court, it is a combination of imagined events and actual incidents observed or experienced by Kiely.

Ironically, one chapter covers a union battle against police – which Kiely just dreamed up a year or more before the Myer construction battle began.

Kiely began as a copy boy on The Argus, eventually covering courts, police rounds and parliament, then sub-editing.

When The Argus folded in 1957 he went to Britain subbing on the Manchester Guardian then four different Fleet Street papers over four years – deliberately moving from office to office to gain experience.

Then it was home to the Melbourne Herald, rising to Deputy Editor, later to The Age for 14 years, again rising to Deputy Editor. Finally back to the Herald Sun, finishing up editing pages from home on his computer.

Kiely wrote a successful play, Conspiracy, about the legal actions against High Court judge Lionel Murphy. It ran to full houses.

His novel is to be launched by author Kerry Cue on Monday May 19, upstairs at DiMattina’s Restaurant and Bar at 306 Lygon St, Carlton, with a 6pm start. Food and drinks afterwards will be available at bar prices. Anyone wishing to attend should email Connor Court executive Dr Anthony Cappello at

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