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Alexander S Foxhall

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Oakey Visit Inspires Children's Book
Wednesday, December 19, 2001  9:17:00 AM

by Alexander S Foxhall

Press release relating to the imminent release of Wonderful Blunderful Down Under.

A visit to the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in 1998 inspired Peranga author Alex Foxhall’s latest children’s book, Wonderful Blunderful Down Under.
“I was living in Canberra at the time, and had travelled to Oakey to discuss the implementation of a new computer system,” he explains. “Whilst dining in the Officer’s Mess, I met two civilian engineers who had been contracted to solve a bird problem on the airfield. Although they were very nice gentlemen, I couldn’t help but notice that both were rather eccentric. With quite a bit of exaggeration, they formed the basis for the main characters in my book.”
Wonderful Blunderful Down Under centres on Cocky Creek Airport, a tiny outback airstrip with a huge bird problem. The flock of galahs is posing such a hazard to aircraft, in fact, that many of the pilots are threatening to cancel their flights. Knowing this could cause the closure of Cocky Creek, airport manager Mr McPhee is at a loss. Enter the inept pairing of George W. Peebles and Horatio Klumpp, airport safety engineers of the highest calibre – or so they tell McPhee. Add a couple of mischievous Aussie kids and a bemused aboriginal tribe and you have what publisher Noreen Wise describes as “an original Outback tale filled with slapstick humor and suspense, guaranteed to leave readers in stitches.”
Alex admits that Peebles and Klumpp aren’t the only characters in the story that are based on real people. “I must say that Bluey and Macca, the two mischief-makers, bear an uncanny resemblance to my two eldest sons. And believe me,” he adds with a smile, “I didn’t have to exaggerate too much there!”
And why did he choose an outback town? “I think people all over the world are fascinated by the outback. It’s where the unique Australian culture is at its richest,” says the 32-year old father of six. “I really love Australia, and I want to tell the world about it.”
And he’s certainly seen enough of it. During his twelve years as a logistics officer in the RAAF, Alex and his family have lived in Adelaide, Wagga Wagga, Sydney, Ipswich, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin and Peranga. “Moving was okay at first, as each new place is like an adventure. After a while, though, you start to wish you could settle somewhere. When a position became available in Oakey this year, we decided that was where we’d like to live. I applied for the position, got it and so we bought a place in the area.” And even though they have never lived in the Toowoomba area before, Alex says he feels like they’re finally home.
“I come from a family of seven, and grew up in Adelaide, and later the Sunshine Coast,” Alex explains. “When I and my four siblings left school, one by one we moved away until at one stage no two of us were living in the same state! Over the past five years, however, we have been gradually converging on the Downs. My father Peter is now the children’s pastor at Spring Street Assembly of God church, and my mother Jill teaches at USQ. My sister Madeleine Tiller is a journalist with The Chronicle, and another sister Melanie Cameron sings with Toowoomba band Fallen Starz. Another sister is also looking to relocate to Toowoomba from Cairns in the future.”
So how long do the Foxhall family think they can stay in one place? “Oh, we’ve moved for the last time,” says Alex resolutely. “I’ll be resigning from the RAAF soon, and want somewhere quiet to write my books. Peranga seems like the perfect place.”
Suitable for children aged seven and up, Wonderful Blunderful Down Under is due for release in February by American publisher Huckleberry Press. For more information on the book, visit their website:

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