Richard Neville (writer)

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Richard Neville
Born (1941-12-15) 15 December 1941 (age 74)
New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Author, TV presenter, Futurist
Nationality Australian
Spouse Julie Clarke (writer)
Children Lucy, Angelica

Richard Neville (born 15 December 1941) is an Australian author and self-described "futurist", who came to fame as a co-editor of the counterculture magazine Oz in Australia and the United Kingdom in the 1960s and early 1970s. He was involved with the Sydney Push libertarians at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the early 1960s during the production of the Sydney-based Oz magazine.[1]


In late 1963 or early 1964 Neville, then editor of the UNSW student magazine Tharunka, met Richard Walsh, editor of its University of Sydney counterpart Honi Soit, as well as artist Martin Sharp. Neville and Walsh wanted to publish their own "magazine of dissent" and asked Sharp to become a contributor. The magazine was dubbed Oz.

Sydney Oz hit the streets on April Fool's Day, 1963. Its irreverent attitude was very much in the tradition of the student newspapers, but its growing public profile quickly made it a target for "the Establishment", and it soon became a prominent casualty of the so-called "Censorship Wars".

During the life of Australian Oz, Sharp, Neville and Walsh were twice charged with printing an obscene publication. The first trial was relatively minor, and should have been a non-event, but they were poorly advised and pleaded guilty, which resulted in their convictions being recorded. As a result, when they were charged with obscenity a second time, their previous convictions meant that the new charges were considerably more serious.

The charges centred on two items in the early issues of Oz - one was Sharp's ribald poem "The Word Flashed Around The Arms", which satirised the contemporary habit of youths gatecrashing parties; the other offending item was the famous photo (used on the cover of Oz #6) which depicted Neville and two friends pretending to urinate into a Tom Bass sculptural wall fountain, set into the wall of the new P&O office in Sydney, which had recently been opened by the Prime Minister Robert Menzies.

Sharp, Neville and Walsh were tried, found guilty and given prison sentences. Their convictions caused a public outcry and they were subsequently acquitted on appeal, but the so-called "Oz Three" realised that there was little future battling such strong opposition. In his 1970 book Play Power, Neville (who was born in 1941) boasted of having a "hurricane f..k" with a "moderately attractive, intelligent, cherubic fourteen-year-old girl from a nearby London comprehensive school".

London Oz[edit]

In late 1966 Neville and Sharp moved to the UK and in early 1967, with fellow Australian Jim Anderson, they founded the London Oz (his sister Jill Neville was already in London). This was most notable for the then-longest obscenity trial (1971) in UK history regarding the publication of the Schoolkids OZ (May 1970) issue; leading to the conviction of Neville, Anderson and Felix Dennis, later overturned on appeal. London Oz ended in November 1973.

Later career[edit]

For the next few years Neville travelled the world, reporting on youth cultures, social inventions and the shape of the future. He broadcast regularly on ABC Radio and wrote for an array of newspapers and magazines. In New York in 1977, Neville was commissioned to write a book about a serial killer incarcerated in Delhi, who preyed upon Western backpackers. The resulting biography of Charles Sobhraj, co-authored by Julie Clarke, was a global best-seller. It inspired several TV docu-dramas.

In the 1980s, Neville returned to Australia and joined the Nine Network's popular Midday Show, where he reported on popular culture, wild ideas and the quest for sustainability. His segments often aroused controversy, such as when he inhaled marijuana on camera (to test its impact on driving). These segments evolved into the Network Ten series Extra Dimensions, looking at sustainability and human potential.

In the 1990s, in a variety of media, Richard explored the new role for business in the 21st Century. This led to keynote addresses at national conferences, and the essay collection Out of My Mind (Penguin). He also published his Sixties memoir Hippie Hippie Shake, which has been adapted as a film, although both projects have been trenchantly criticised by Neville's former friend Germaine Greer.[2]

Neville is also the co-founder of the Australian Futures Foundation, which aims to bring "futures thinking" into the mainstream.

Current associations[edit]

Richard is now a principal at Sydney's Neville Freeman agency.


In the television drama The Trials of Oz (1991), Neville was played by Hugh Grant.

The Irish actor Cillian Murphy starred in the yet to be released Hippie Hippie Shake, in which he plays Neville. Produced by Working Title, the film is directed by Beeban Kidron, and co-stars Sienna Miller and Emma Booth.


  • Play Power. London: Cape, 1970. No ISBN
  • The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj Richard Neville and Julie Clarke. Sydney: Pan Books, 1980 ISBN 0-330-27144-X
  • Playing Around. Milsons Point, NSW: Arrow Books, 1991. ISBN 0-09-182547-4
  • Hippie, Hippie, Shake: The Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, the Screw ups—the Sixties. Port Melbourne: William Heinemann Australia, 1995. ISBN 0-85561-523-0
  • Out of My Mind: From Flower Power to the Third Millennium—the Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties. Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 1996. ISBN 0-14-026270-9
  • Footprints of the Future: Handbook for the Third Millennium. North Sydney, NSW: Richmond, 2002. ISBN 1-920688-03-X
  • Amerika Psycho: Behind Uncle Sam’s Mask of Sanity. Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2003. ISBN 1-876175-62-1
  • Out of my mind


External links[edit]