Ian McPhedran (born 1957) is an Australian author and retired journalist. Having begun his journalism career at The Canberra Times, from 1998 he worked as a defence writer for the News Corp Australia mastheads, including the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and Northern Territory News, before announcing his retirement in January 2016. HarperCollins has published seven books by McPhedran, who won a Walkley Award in 1999.

Ian McPhedran
Born1957 (age 62–63)
OccupationJournalist, author
SpouseVerona Burgess


Prior to 1998, McPhedran was foreign affairs and defence writer for The Canberra Times.[1] Between 1998 and 2016 he worked as a defence writer News Corp Australia, writing for publications including the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and Northern Territory News, before announcing his retirement in January 2016.[2]

At the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, McPhedran reported on the war from Baghdad, staying at the Meridien Palestine Hotel.[3] McPhedran was expelled from the country by the Iraqi Government soon after ABC photojournalist Paul Moran was killed by a suicide car bomber in northeastern Iraq on 23 October 2003.[4][5] McPhedran reported that Iraqi officials had accused him of not following regulations when he left his hotel to visit the Information Ministry building without a minder.[6][7][8][9]

McPhedran's first book, The Amazing SAS, was published by HarperCollins in 2005. Michelle Grattan's review in The Age criticised McPhedran for offering the 'official account' of an incident in Afghanistan in which innocent people died after being mistaken for insurgents. She suggested that further discussion and analysis was needed of the incident, but overall she praised McPhedran's remarkable access.[10]

In 2009 McPhedran was invited by the Australian Defence Force to take part in an "embedding trial". McPhedran suggested the ADF's model should rather be called 'media hosting' and he was sometimes frustrated by a lack of access and time wasting during the trial.[11]

Family and personal lifeEdit

McPhedran, the oldest son born to his Anglo-Burmese refugee father, Colin McPhedran, and Australian mother, was raised in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.[12][13]

McPhedran is married to journalist Verona Burgess. They live in Balmain, Sydney.[6]

White Butterflies, a book written by Ian McPhedran's father Colin with editing assistance from Verona Burgess, tells the story of Colin's journey on foot from Burma to India during World War II to escape the Japanese invasion of Burma. Colin, then 11 years old, embarked on the journey with his mother and two siblings but only he survived.[14]



  • The Amazing SAS: The inside story of Australia's special forces. HarperCollins. 2005. ISBN 9780732279813.
  • Soldiers Without Borders: Beyond the SAS: a global network of brothers-in-arms. HarperCollins. 2008. ISBN 9780732285555.
  • Air Force: Inside the new era of Australian air power. HarperCollins. 2011. ISBN 9780732290252.
  • Too Bold to Die: the making of Australian war heroes. HarperCollins. 2013. ISBN 9781743097632.
  • Afghanistan: Australia's War. HarperCollins. 2014. ISBN 9780732299132.
  • The Smack Track: Inside the Navy's war: chasing down drug smugglers, pirates and terrorists. Harper Collins. 2017. ISBN 9781460752920.
  • The Mighty Krait: The little boat that pulled off Australia's most daring commando raid of WWII. HarperCollins. 2018. ISBN 9781460709801.


  1. ^ National Library of Australia, Getting the story: media, truth and conflict: Speaker biographies, Australian Government, archived from the original on 30 June 2009
  2. ^ a b Healey, Briana (11 January 2016). "News Corp's national defence writer Ian McPhedran retires from journalism". Influencing. MediaConnect Australia Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Australian journalists held in Iraq". The Age. Fairfax Media. AAP. 2 April 2003. Archived from the original on 8 December 2003.
  4. ^ Bromley, Michael (2004). "Chapter 12: The battlefield is the media: war reporting and the formation of national identity in Australia—from Belmont to Baghdad". In Allan, Stuart; Zelizer, Barbie (eds.). Reporting War: Journalism in Wartime. Routledge. p. 233. ISBN 0415339979.
  5. ^ Overington, Caroline (5 April 2003). "Embed with the Pentagon? Not necessarily". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b McPhedran, Ian (2 April 2003). "'My Journey Through Hell'". Sky UK. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Australian journalist mourned". BBC. 2 April 2003. Archived from the original on 20 July 2003.
  8. ^ Lawson, Annie (3 April 2003). "Australian trio still held in Iraq". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Crackdown on foreign journalists". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 2 April 2003. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015.
  10. ^ Grattan, Michelle (21 August 2005). "The Amazing SAS". The Age. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012.
  11. ^ McPhedran, Ian (9 September 2009), "Embedding" trial report (PDF), Australian Broadcasting Commission, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2016
  12. ^ "Trekkers to march 450km from Burma to India in honour of Colin McPhedran and his family". Inner West Courier Inner City. News Corp Australia. 8 October 2015.
  13. ^ Bogle, Deborah (13 April 2013). "On the road to Mandalay with Scott Hicks and SFA". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia.
  14. ^ McPhedran, Colin (2002). White Butterflies. Canberra, ACT: Pandanus Books. ISBN 1 74076 017 4.
  15. ^ "UN award for McPhedran". The Canberra Times. ACT. 28 August 1993. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Jamie Freed Australia's aviation journalist of the year". Australian Aviation. Phantom Media Pty Ltd. 30 November 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.