Paul Lyneham

Born 13 August 1946. Attended Camberwell High School 1957-1961

Paul Lyneham, journalist and television current affairs interviewer, came to Camberwell High from Balwyn State School. He concedes that at Camberwell he was probably regarded as ‘a serious behavioural problem’ and, in particular, the ‘bete noire’ of Athol Jones, the Senior Master. Paul has always had a longstanding love affair with popular music and is best remembered for having organised Camberwell’s first rock and roll concert, in the gymnasium, at which he performed.

His family moved to the ACT in 1962 and, in a curious twist of fate, Paul Lyneham finished school at Lyneham High School, Lyneham, a Canberra suburb. He then enrolled in a BA at the Australian National University, where he studied Political Science, Economics and English, but did not complete his degree. As an undergraduate, Paul was the editor of Woroni, the ANU students’ newspaper. Here, he renewed his acquaintance with Graeme Harding, a former Camberwell High friend and a fellow student. The two formed a rock band, known at first as ‘The Orgasms’, and later called ‘Bitter Lemons’ and which was rated one of the top Australian bands. While Paul and Graeme were playing at a Law Students’ Society function, on board a boat in Lake Burley Griffin, Graeme fell off the back of the boat and, tragically, drowned (Camberwell High School. 1941-1991: a Jubilee Retrospective, p.61).

Paul’s ‘addiction’ to journalism, as he calls it began at Balwyn State School, where he produced a weekly class newspaper. So, after leaving the ANU, he became a cadet report with The Australian and The Canberra Times, where he covered police matters, community and civic events. In 1969 he went to the ABC in Melbourne, working first in radio and then in television news, and in 1970 went to London as Foreign Correspondent. From here he reported directly on the Ethiopian famine, recurring Middle East crises, the Northern Ireland troubles, the Paris Peace Talks that formally ended the Vietnam War and, even, as he tells it, the rise in British politics of the Extremely Silly Party.

Back in Sydney, for four years he made and presented documentaries for Four Corners. His 1979 report on the Utah Coal Company in Queensland won him a Logie Award for the best news documentary. For seven years he worked with the Seven Network, both in London, covering the Falklands War, and Canberra, where he reported on the plight of Father Brian Gore, an Australian Roman Catholic priest imprisoned by the Marcos regime on trumped-up mass murder charges. For this story, Paul commuted back and forth between Australia and the Philippines.

In the nineties Paul worked as the federal political correspondent for the ABC’s 7.30 Report and was regularly seen interviewing Federal parliamentarians and other public figures, for which he received lots of positive feedback and many brickbats. Paul interviewed innumerable world leaders, including two British Prime Ministers, Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher.

Paul Lyneham was married to the writer Dorothy Horsfield. He had three children, a dog and a ‘beloved Kingswood car’. In his latter years, Paul enjoyed his involvement with an occasional group of aged rockers called ‘Pacemaker and the Gerries’, and he also liked gardening. Paul Lyneham died of lung cancer on 24 November 2000.