Peter FitzSimons

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Peter FitzSimons
Peter FitzSimons (8446505665).jpg
FitzSimons wearing trademark Red bandanna at a film premiere, February 2013
Born (1961-06-29) June 29, 1961 (age 56)
Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Journalist, writer
Genre Journalism

Peter John FitzSimons AM (born 29 June 1961, Wahroonga, New South Wales)[1] is an Australian journalist, radio and television personality/presenter and author, based in Sydney. He is a former national representative rugby union player.

Early life[edit]

FitzSimons grew up in Peats Ridge,[2] in the Central Coast of New South Wales, near Sydney. He was the seventh and last child of Beatrice Helen (née Booth; 1920–1994), OAM, and Peter McCloy FitzSimons (1916–1992), a citrus fruit farmer who had seen active service in World War II as an AIF artilleryman.[3] He attended Peats Ridge Primary School, and Knox Grammar School before accepting an American Field Service Scholarship to go to Ohio for a year. Upon his return he earned an arts degree at the University of Sydney, studying government and political science,[4] and resided at Wesley College from 1980 to 1982.[5]



FitzSimons' club rugby was played first with the Sydney University Football Club and then with the Manly RUFC in Sydney in the 1980s under the coaching of Alan Jones.[1] Between 1985 and 1989 he played with CA Brive in France for four seasons, becoming the club's first ever foreign player. He played seven Tests at lock for Australia between 1989 and 1990, debuting against France in Strasbourg in November 1989, on the Wallabies 1989 tour of Europe. Five of his career international appearances were against France. His final Test match was against New Zealand in Christchurch.[6]

FitzSimons has recounted how he was the only Wallaby (up to 2010) to have been sent from the field in a match against the All Blacks. The dismissal occurred when FitzSimons was playing for an invitational South Australian side against the All Blacks at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide in 1992.[7] Drew Mitchell was subsequently dismissed while playing for Australia against the All Blacks in 2010.[8]

Former Wallaby winger David Campese has previously criticised FitzSimons for starting a brawl in Australia's first Test against France in 1990.[9][10] Campese labelled FitzSimons' actions "a disgrace to the good name of rugby"[9] and asserted that "he was doing the game and its reputation enormous damage."[10] Campese cautioned that if such fights "turn even one family away from the game, then they have been too costly."[10]

However, Campese later told Canberra sports journalist Geoff Hawke, in the Canberra Times, that he regretted publishing his comments about FitzSimons. Campese is reported saying that, “Fitzy is a good friend but he’s very upset about what I said about his fighting in a French Test last year. At the time, I thought it was okay, but in hindsight I probably should have toned it down.”[11]


FitzSimons has written for The Sydney Morning Herald since 1988,[12] and has been a sports columnist for that publication since 1987.[13] He regularly appears on the Australian Foxtel programme, The Back Page, hosted by rugby league journalist Mike Gibson. For the Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, FitzSimons writes a column titled "The Fitz Files" which looks at all the happenings over the past seven days in sport. He writes a more general version of "The Fitz Files" in The Sun-Herald on Sundays, focusing on community activities and events in Sydney. Andrew Denton has called him "Australia's finest sports journalist".[14]


In January 2006 he began co-hosting a breakfast radio program with Mike Carlton on Sydney radio station 2UE. He was brought onto the 2UE breakfast show in an attempt to boost the program's dwindling ratings. Mike Carlton was vocal in his opposition to having an on-air partner, but the move paid dividends with an immediate audience increase. However, the Mike and Fitz Breakfast Show still trailed a long way behind the number one program on 2GB, hosted by FitzSimons' former coach Alan Jones. After two years on Breakfast with Mike and Fitz, FitzSimons hung up the headphones to become a stay-at-home dad and focus on his writing.

Australian Republican Movement[edit]

FitzSimons, who has been a long-time supporter of Australia as a republic, was appointed in July 2015 as the head of the Australian Republican Movement.[15] In August 2015, he said that he wants to reignite the issue.[16]


FitzSimons' published works include:

He has written biographies of Ned Kelly, Kim Beazley, Nick Farr-Jones, John Eales, Nancy Wake, Steve Waugh and Les Darcy.[citation needed]


He is or has been involved with several organisations as a patron or board member, including:

Personal life[edit]

FitzSimons is married to Australian journalist and TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson, best known as [Nine Network]] Today Show host.[18] They have three children; sons Jake, Louis; and daughter Billi.[19]

FitzSimons has identified himself as an atheist;[20] he is an outspoken Australian republican and supports changes to the Australian flag. He is the younger brother of Dapto High School Principal, Andrew FitzSimons.[21]


On 13 June 2011, FitzSimons was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b "Player profile of Peter FitzSimons". ESPN. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Mosman Sporting Wall of Fame: Peter FitzSimons' profile
  3. ^ FitzSimons, Peter McCloy (profile at World War II Nominal Roll)
  4. ^ Speaker Profile of Peter FitzSimons at The Celebrity Speakers Bureau
  5. ^ FitzSimons, Peter (9 November 2013). "Given time, great colleges learn to fix their problems". Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Match report: New Zealand Australia, 21 July 1990". ESPN. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Peter FitzSimons". Talking Heads. ABC. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "All Blacks urge refs to ease off". ABC. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Campese & Bills 1991, p. 117.
  10. ^ a b c Campese & Bills 1991, p. 166.
  11. ^
  12. ^ His first article as a Herald correspondent was "From the Wilds of France": FitzSimons, P., "The survivors of la Besse still remember", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Tuesday, 22 November 1988), p. 23.
  13. ^ His first article as a Herald sports journalist was: FitzSimons, P., "French give Scots some pointers", The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 1987, p. 53.
  14. ^ "Panelist: Peter FitzSimons". Q&A. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Peter FitzSimons appointed head of Australian Republican Movement". The Guardian. 20 July 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Peter Fitzsimons reignites the Australian Republican Movement". ABC. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Fellows of the Senate: Peter John FitzSimons
  18. ^ "Galleries: 1992 Weddings". Perth Now. p. 4. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Clune, Richard (25 July 2010). "Today show hosts a perfect match". Sunday Telegraph. Australia: News. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Is Religion a Con? A special evening with Peter Fitzsimons", 12 June 2012, The Independent Theatre
  21. ^ McInerney, Katelin (16 May 2008). "Dapto High celebrates 50th birthday". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Peter FitzSimons AM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  23. ^ AAP (13 June 2011). "Former Wallaby FitzSimons honoured". ARU. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  • Campese, David; Bills, Peter (1991). On a Wing and a Prayer. Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0-356-17958-3. 
  • Campese, David; Meninga, Mal; Jenkins, Peter; Frilingos, Peter (1994). My Game Your Game: David Campese and Mal Meninga Talk Football. Pan Macmillan Australia. ISBN 9780330356169. 

External links[edit]