Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 10, 2020

Vale Mungo MacCallum (1941-2020)

It is with regret that I share the news of the death of Mungo MacCallum.

MacCallum was a perceptive, funny, irreverent reporter of Australian politics and he’s been part of our lives ever since the Whitlam years.  He wrote for The AustralianThe Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC; and he published in Quarterly Essay: Girt By Sea: Australia, the Refugees and the Politics of Fear (Quarterly Essay #5); and Australian Story: Kevin Rudd and the Lucky Country (Quarterly Essay #36). I’ve reviewed his droll history of Australia’s prime ministers, The Good, the Bad and the Unlikely (2012). (See my review).

His published other books listed at Goodreads include

There are tributes here:

Politics just won’t be as interesting without him.


  1. I heard a nice tribute to him on the ABC radio last night. Quite an interesting man.


    • I missed that.
      I wonder if I can find a podcast of it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It came up in informal chat and one of his neighbours who knew him rang up and told some interesting little tales. It was quite impromptu.


        • Ah. Ah well. What a nice thing for the neighbour to do:)


  2. A legend.


  3. He was a funny and we’ll informed writer, political commentator. I loved to read him in Nation Review back in the mists of time.


    • Oh yes, wasn’t that a terrific newspaper in its heyday!


  4. I have only just finished an article about his retirement from his writing commitments. What an amazing man,entertaining to the end. The last time I saw him he was buzzing around on his motorised scooter at the Byron Writers’ festival greeting all comers. Feel very sad.


    • Hello Penelope, I think it was only a little while ago that I heard something about retirement, but I didn’t realise it was because he was so very unwell. He was such an ‘institution’, I suppose I thought he would go on forever. He’s irreplaceable — everyone is so serious these days, and when they’re not, they’re not really amusing anyway!


  5. I hadn’t seen that Lisa. Mr Gums and I do cryptic crossword books together when we go out for coffee, and when our favourite SMH Donald Harrison ones stoped being published we searched around, and found one that had been put out of Mungo McCallum’s from The Saturday Paper. We have nearly finished it, and they only every did one. It’s been fun tussling which his brain over the past few months.

    Years ago – like in the 1970s – I bought a book he wrote about the media. He’s been around along time contributing to Australian thought, so this is sad.


    • Yes, it’s a real loss. the world needs more quirky thinkers like he was…


  6. Vale Mungo @


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