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Roland Harvey

Roland Harvey is one of Australia's best-loved illustrators. In 1978, he established Roland Harvey Studios and began designing and producing greeting cards, posters and stationery with a distinctly Australian flavour. Ventures into publishing quickly followed. Some of his best-loved books include My Place in Space (with Joe Levine, Sally Hirst and Robin Hirst), Burke and Wills, The First Fleet, Sick As (with Gael Jennings) and Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas. His recent books include The Wombats Go on Camp and, of course, his bestselling family holiday adventure series - At the Beach, In the Bush, In the City, To the Top End, All the Way to W.A. and On the Farm. Roland's brilliant illustrations also feature in the Bonnie and Sam series - The Horses and Ponies of Currawong Creek, in collaboration with Alison Lester.

Roland enjoys watching people at work and at play, mentally sketching them while they go about their business. He has always loved the outdoors and some of the scenes from At the Beach and In the Bush are from real life – Roland really did make kelp sandals (like the ones in At the Beach) for his son, James!

He hopes to assist kids gain a greater sense of self by encouraging them to read critically and analyse what they read.

When did you start writing?

‘As a grubby 8-year-old early one misty winter morning at Sherbrooke Forest I returned to our holiday cottage after watching lyrebirds, and made my first book: a school exercise book crammed with mosses, lichen, fungi, fern and even a whole piece of rotten log were painstakingly taped, poked and otherwise stuck in, together with notes and mis-spelled identifications.’

What was the biggest inspiration for you to become a writer?

‘The urge to draw has always been really powerful. I always had trouble finding stories to illustrate. I started commissioning writers and pestering experts of different sorts to give me something to illustrate, a history story, or something about science.’

Where do you do your writing?

‘Somewhere I can’t see any jobs needing attention, nobody can remind me of the bank account and I can’t hear any chainsaws or television. It doesn’t matter where, but I need a sense of approval and even obligation. Late at night and early morning are productive, I seem to remember. My writing is best when spontaneous. (And it seems strange to say it, but I need something to say!)’

When you’re not writing what do you do?

‘I love physical exercise - in or on the water. I like cooking and often nick off to the market and try something new for dinner. After an intense period of writing or drawing I need to see people and go bush or make music.’

What makes you laugh?

‘I laugh with joy when I’m around my kids. Just doing stuff together. I laugh with exhilaration after wild exercise like skiing or sailboarding; a good tennis shot, or a very bad one.

I laugh at subtlety and really dry humour, and the unexpected. I even find it irresistibly funny when something really disastrous happens, particularly if it happens twice.

I love coincidences. And when a succession of stupid mistakes produces a happy outcome, it’s bliss.’

If you had to recommend everyone to read just one book what would it be?

‘One book!  Midnite by Randolph Stowe.’



Books by this Author

At the Beach

At the Beach

Published: November 2004

Look and look again with this perfect summer gift. There is so much to discover in this richly detailed book about the quintessential beach holiday. A Where's Wally meets Magic Beach from one of Australia's best-loved picture book creators.

In the City

In the City

Published: November 2007

From the creator of the best-selling At the Beach and In the Bush, comes a brilliant new holiday book set in the fascinating landscape of the urban jungle. Roland Harvey's witty, slapstick style and amazingly detailed illustrations will have children poring over every page for hours.

In the Bush

In the Bush

Published: March 2007

In this companion to At the Beach, our family goes on a holiday at Wombat Flat: a bushland setting where they enjoy all the quintessential Australian bush holiday activities.

My Place in Space

My Place in Space

Published: February 2008

Henry Wilson and his sister Rosie know exactly where they live - and not just the street, the town and the country. They know their place in space. With fabulously detailed illustrations by bestselling illustrator Roland Harvey and Joe Levine, this book will enthral children and awaken their curiosity about the Universe.

At the Beach

At the Beach

Published: October 2006

There is so much to discover in this richly detailed book about the quintessential Australian beach holiday. Where's Wally meets Magic Beach.

Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas

Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas

Published: November 2008

With stories about how Christmas is celebrated in Australia and all round the world, recipes for Christmas treats, and fabulous ideas for homemade gifts, this is the perfect Christmas book for the whole family, full of Roland Harvey's lively and humorous illustrations.

In the City

In the City

Published: January 2009

Follow a family on their holidays in the city in this brilliant book in Roland Harvey's witty, slapstick style. The amazing detailed illustrations of the urban jungle are sure to have children poring over every page for hours.

To the Top End

To the Top End

Published: November 2009

Another fabulous Roland Harvey holiday book exploring some of the most spectacular landscapes of Australia, full of adventure, mishaps, and madcap activity. A hilarious, entertaining and delightful companion to At the Beach, In the Bush and In the City.

To the Top End

To the Top End

Published: September 2011

This fabulous Roland Harvey holiday book explores some of the most spectacular landscapes of Australia. Full of adventure, mishaps, and madcap activity, this is a hilarious, entertaining and delightful companion to At the Beach, In the Bush and In the City.

In the Bush

In the Bush

Published: November 2005

A companion to Roland Harvey's marvellous picture book, At the Beach. In the Bush takes our family on a holiday at Wombat Flat: a bushland setting where they enjoy a range of bush holiday activities.

All the Way to W.A.

All the Way to W.A.

Published: November 2011

From Kalgoorlie to the Bungle Bungles, this fifth picture book in Roland Harvey's holiday adventure series takes us across landscapes and towns and introduces us to the people of Australia's west. A companion to the CBCA-shortlisted To the Top End.

On the Farm

On the Farm

Published: November 2012

In this sixth picture book in Roland Harvey's hilarious and delightful holiday adventure series, Uncle Kev has a farm, where the pigs do the polishing and the cows are the happiest in all the hills. Kev invites the family for a 'holiday', then sets them to work. There's lots to be done before the big Harvest Festival - and Kev is distracted, because he's fallen in love!

The Wombats Go on Camp

The Wombats Go on Camp

Published: October 2013

Following the adventures and misadventures of twelve knockabout kids and two teachers, this hilarious story is full of the brilliantly detailed pictures Roland Harvey is famous for.

Everything We Ever Saw

Everything We Ever Saw

Published: October 2013

Roland Harvey's hilarious illustrated family holiday books all rolled into one hugely entertaining adventure.

The Wombats Go on Camp

The Wombats Go on Camp

Published: August 2014

The first in a fantastic series by a master of wit and fun, starring ten children and two teachers and the hilarious adventures they get up to on their first ever school camp.

The Wombats at the Zoo

The Wombats at the Zoo

Published: September 2014

Our favourite group of kids and two teachers are off to the zoo for a memorable day...

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