John first put the story of Pilliga Pete to paper and cassette tape back in 1984. See original article further below.
Waters has kids down to a tea. North Shore Times 26 Nov 10 @ 03:36pm by Charis Chang
“DAD, would you like a cup of tea?” asks seven-year-old Archie Waters, for the third time in 30 minutes.
His dad, singer and Offspring actor John Waters, drinks the milky brew with relish: “Thank you Archie - that’s really nice.”
The scene is sweetly reminiscent of Waters’s days as a Play School presenter and 19 years on he has not lost his touch with children.
Waters, 61, appeared on the ABC children’s show from 1972 to 1991. But his varied career includes TV series such as All Saints; hit mini-series All the Rivers Run; movies such as Breaker Morant; musicals Hair, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar; and his one-man tribute show to John Lennon, Looking Through a Glass Onion.
In a return to his children’s work, Waters has just released a CD, The highly unlikely but quite possibly true story of Pilliga Pete and Clarrie the Cocky. He narrates and sings on the album, produced by Greenwich resident Martin Erdman’s Du Monde Music label.
Waters wrote the story 30 years ago for the two children he had with actor Jenny Cullen. And it still entertains, delighting the three young children he has with wife Zoe Burton.
His family accompanied him to the CD launch at Lane Cove Country Club this month, where Waters turned up channelling a rock’n'roll vibe in black jeans and T-shirt.
Having joined a band when he was 16, Waters said music was his first love while Play School was an unexpected detour. “But I think there was a side of me that liked the beauty of children’s thinking, I always liked talking to children,” Waters said. He said Pilliga Pete was inspired by six months he spent working as a station hand. “Someone told me a story about an old drover with a pet cockatoo that flew into camp one day and ended up staying with him. “It was a bit of a local curiosity out near Longreach and I thought it was so charming and cute, this man with a companion cocky.”
Born in London, Waters said he sometimes felt like an outsider in Australia, despite being one of the country’s best-known actors. But it did help him see things in a different light. “To me, it’s quite exotic whereas Australians are sometimes embarrassed about the rural life,” he said.
Pilliga Pete, which features Waters’s illustrations, is available at music and ABC shops.