Roland Harvey

Roland Harvey is one of Australia's best-loved illustrators. In 1978, he established Roland Harvey Studios and began designing and producing greeting cards, posters and stationery with a distinctly Australian flavour. Ventures into publishing quickly followed. Some of his best-loved books include My Place in Space (with Joe Levine, Sally Hirst and Robin Hirst), Burke and Wills, The First Fleet, Sick As (with Gael Jennings) and Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas. His recent books include The Wombats Go on Camp and, of course, his bestselling family holiday adventure series - At the Beach, In the Bush, In the City, To the Top End, All the Way to W.A. and On the Farm. Roland's brilliant illustrations also feature in the Bonnie and Sam series - The Horses and Ponies of Currawong Creek, in collaboration with Alison Lester.

Roland enjoys watching people at work and at play, mentally sketching them while they go about their business. He has always loved the outdoors and some of the scenes from At the Beach and In the Bush are from real life – Roland really did make kelp sandals (like the ones in At the Beach) for his son, James!

He hopes to assist kids gain a greater sense of self by encouraging them to read critically and analyse what they read.

When did you start writing?
‘As a grubby 8-year-old early one misty winter morning at Sherbrooke Forest I returned to our holiday cottage after watching lyrebirds, and made my first book: a school exercise book crammed with mosses, lichen, fungi, fern and even a whole piece of rotten log were painstakingly taped, poked and otherwise stuck in, together with notes and mis-spelled identifications.’

What was the biggest inspiration for you to become a writer?
‘The urge to draw has always been really powerful. I always had trouble finding stories to illustrate. I started commissioning writers and pestering experts of different sorts to give me something to illustrate, a history story, or something about science.’

Where do you do your writing?
‘Somewhere I can’t see any jobs needing attention, nobody can remind me of the bank account and I can’t hear any chainsaws or television. It doesn’t matter where, but I need a sense of approval and even obligation. Late at night and early morning are productive, I seem to remember. My writing is best when spontaneous. (And it seems strange to say it, but I need something to say!)’

When you’re not writing what do you do?
‘I love physical exercise - in or on the water. I like cooking and often nick off to the market and try something new for dinner. After an intense period of writing or drawing I need to see people and go bush or make music.’

What makes you laugh?
‘I laugh with joy when I’m around my kids. Just doing stuff together. I laugh with exhilaration after wild exercise like skiing or sailboarding; a good tennis shot, or a very bad one. I laugh at subtlety and really dry humour, and the unexpected. I even find it irresistibly funny when something really disastrous happens, particularly if it happens twice. I love coincidences. And when a succession of stupid mistakes produces a happy outcome, it’s bliss.’

If you had to recommend everyone to read just one book what would it be?
‘One book!  Midnite by Randolph Stowe.’

Books by Roland Harvey

Off We Go Around Australia

Published: March 2021

Four of Roland Harvey's hilarious illustrated family holiday books all rolled into one hugely entertaining Australian adventure. The perfect companion for this new era of holidaying at home.

In the Bush Book and Jigsaw Puzzle

Published: November 2020

A fabulously entertaining book and jigsaw gift set from one of Australia's favourite illustrators.

All the Way to W.A.

Published: January 2019

The entertaining and hilarious fifth book in Roland Harvey's family holiday adventure series. All the Way to W.A. will take you from Kalgoorlie to the Bungle Bungles, introducing all the wonderful people and places in Australia's west.

On the River

Published: August 2018

The paperback edition of Roland Harvey's journey along the mighty Murray River from the mountains to the sea.

On the River

Published: June 2016

Follow the mighty Murray River from the mountains to the sea on an epic journey with Roland Harvey and his pelican friend, in this glorious picture book full of humorous, intricate illustrations and fascinating information.

The Wombats at the Zoo

Published: September 2014

Our favourite group of kids and two teachers are off to the zoo for a memorable day.

The Wombats Go on Camp

Published: August 2014

The first in a fantastic series by a master of wit and fun, starring ten children and two teachers and the hilarious adventures they get up to on their first ever school camp.

On the Farm

Published: November 2012

In this sixth picture book in Roland Harvey's hilarious and delightful holiday adventure series, Uncle Kev has a farm, where the pigs do the polishing and the cows are the happiest in all the hills. Kev invites the family for a 'holiday', then sets them to work. There's lots to be done before the big Harvest Festival - and Kev is distracted, because he's fallen in love!

To the Top End

Published: September 2011

This fabulous Roland Harvey holiday book explores some of the most spectacular landscapes of Australia. Full of adventure, mishaps, and madcap activity, this is a hilarious, entertaining and delightful companion to At the Beach, In the Bush and In the City.

Horse Crazy! The Complete Adventures of Bonnie and Sam

Published: September 2009

Friendship, horses and adventure in an Australian country town combine in this collection of four full-colour Bonnie and Sam stories for young readers. Created by two of Australia's bestselling storytellers and illustrators.

In the City

Published: January 2009

Follow a family on their holidays in the city in this brilliant book in Roland Harvey's witty, slapstick style. The amazing detailed illustrations of the urban jungle are sure to have children poring over every page for hours.

In the Bush

Published: March 2007

In this companion to At the Beach, our family goes on a holiday at Wombat Flat: a bushland setting where they enjoy all the quintessential Australian bush holiday activities.

At the Beach

Published: October 2006

There is so much to discover in this richly detailed book about the quintessential Australian beach holiday. Where's Wally meets Magic Beach.

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