Craig Godfrey was born in Hobart, Tasmania, where he resides today enjoying his passion for writing fiction; usually with a tendency for history; typically using Tasmania’s rich convict past as a blank canvas and creating a good yarn over the actual fact. A journalist once told him, ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story.’
And he hasn’t.
His first success with creative writing was when he was twelve; ABC Television animated a short story of his called ‘Queeqeeg the Pixie’, which aired one afternoon on a children’s television show called Story Book.
Growing up in the sixties Craig’s imagination was nurtured on movies like Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood, Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island. In his early high school years his favourite books were the likes of Moby Dick, Great Expectations or For the Term of his Natural Life. Out of school his interests found him scavenging amongst rat nests and cobwebs in the cellars of abandoned colonial buildings, digging into nineteenth century rubbish dumps in search of old pottery bottles or fossicking in antique and junk shops for historical treasures.
At an early age, fourteen or fifteen, Craig realised he had a passion for collecting antiques; but more artefacts and relics than the finer arts. A set of convict era leg irons or a brass cannon, he says, does far more for than imagination than, say, a Wedgewood plate.
His early career preference was to become an archaeologist but an academic he was not. Craig left school and fate guided him in the most unexpected direction. He became an apprentice cook at a newly opened restaurant – Moby Dick’s - in Hobart’s up and coming tourist area, Salamanca Place.
With his certificate in hand Craig travelled extensively around Australia, working in hotel and restaurant kitchens and earning enough to move on. He was working at the Territorian International in Darwin that fateful night Cyclone Tracy devastated the city. In Sydney he inadvertently worked for the city’s leading underbelly as the chef of Alanna’s Bistro in Paddington, which he later found out was the headquarters for the local gangster, Ronny Jones.
Craig was chef for the famous wine entrepreneur Len Evens at his hugely successful Beef Room on Circular Quay the same year.
But the passion for history was always on the surface. After travelling overseas he and his then wife Leonie opened their first restaurant in Hobart. The Pirate and Parrot was an immediate success. Soon after, in 1979, they opened The Drunken Admiral Restaurant in Salamanca Place and in 1982 moved the business into a deserted warehouse – built 1822 - on the opposite side of the Sullivan’s Cove, called Old Wharf where the restaurant is just as popular today and run by Craig’s daughter Brierlie, and her husband Simon. Nephew Jameson is chef, his wife the bookkeeper and son Sebastian the creative director. A true family business.
Craig’s other passion was filmmaking. He wrote the screenplays, produced and directed two feature films in the mid 1990s. The first, To the Point of Death, was a murder mystery set in Tasmania and the other, Back from the Dead - which he endearingly calls a splatter comedy – is a story of hypnotic regression and re-incarnation set in colonial Tasmania and modern day.
Today Craig has time to fulfil his childhood dream; that of fictional writing. He enjoys writing action adventure within the context of historical drama. He believes the reader should be taken on the adventure with the writer – on a fast page turning escapade – that is entertaining and outside the realms of the here and now.
- Craig Godfrey, 2015