He taught at Comet Hill for a couple of years around 1970, then in Castlemaine, before returning to Swan HIll, where he was raised and finally retired, at the end of his long teaching career.
These were small schools, but nothing like those he describes in his first novel, Captains of the Community.
It’s the story of Jakob Tonander, who is sent to a tiny country school in the 1960s, where he learns the hard way that life wasn’t meant to be easy.
A love story as well as an adventure tale, the novel came about at the prompting of Peter’s friends.
“I’ve written so many school texts,” he says, “and people kept saying to me, why don’t you write a novel?
“I made up the school, but it pretty well keeps to history.”
Peter travelled around a fair bit as a young man, even cutting cane with his brother up north.
He was also a footballer, like Jakob in his story, but unlike Jakob, he wasn’t much good.
“Played left-right-out,” he says, but remembers well the South Bendigo team he warmed the bench for.
From his small farm just outside Swan Hill, Peter is now making up for lost time.
He has followed his first novel with a second one, a book for younger readers about a 12-year-old London boy who “digs his way to Australia to escape bullies at his school”.
“It’s humorous, a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it’s had a tremendous response,” he says.
Captains of the Community is available at Dymocks in Bendigo.