Class of 1970
David (Dave) Warner, son of a butcher, emerged from Aquinas College in the Class of 1970 with both the Ken Kelsall Mathematics and the Cullity English prizes – a young man of many talents.
Creativity ran strong in his veins: drama, writing and music all drove him to a path of creative expression and love of the arts. Initially, David was passionate about writing books but in those days neither schools nor universities offered creative writing options so he, with his seven or eight best friends, stuck together through all the performing arts adventures offered by the school.
He played Haemon in the school production of Antigone for example, but channelled his creative streak into music: garage bands and punk specifically, or “anti-rock”. Dave and his friends played through their last few years at Aquinas and are for the most part still in each other’s’ lives.
He started a degree in psychology at UWA a couple of years later and in 1973 performed in his first professional band, Pus. Dave graduated in 1975 and moved to London where he spent 18 months writing song after song. Two years later he came back to Perth and formed his second band Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs. Dave signed up with Mushroom Records and had hits including Suburban Boy and Convict Streak. His album Mugs Game went gold in 1978.
When the band decided to go its separate ways Dave gave up full-time rock touring in the early eighties and turned first to stage drama. He wrote and produced the musical Sixties and all that Pop and in the same year wrote Planet Pres which was staged at Perth’s Playhouse Theatre. He moved to Sydney to pursue screenwriting and enjoyed considerable success writing television dramas such as Packed to the Rafters, Sea Patrol and McLeod’s Daughters. His debut novel City of Light was published in 1995 and won the WA Premier’s Book Award for Best Fiction. Since then he has written three screenplay features. As an author he has dabbled in several genres and enjoyed much success. Before it Breaks (2015) won the Ned Kelly Award for best Australian crime fiction.
Looking back, author, musician and screenwriter Dave is grateful Aquinas exposed him to drama and literature in his early years. You know you’ve achieved when you are listed as a Western Australian State Living Treasure and credited with finding an original voice in Australian rock. He has stamped his authority on WA’s creative stage and has become a force to be reckoned with across multiple genres.