Acclaimed journalist Peter Weiniger, an impassioned storyteller with an incisive, larrikin wit, who worked for The Australian Jewish News early in his career, passed away due to illness last week.
Weiniger was born in Shanghai in 1943, during the Japanese occupation of China, while his parents, European Jews, were sheltering there after fleeing from the Nazis.
Attending Melbourne High School, Weiniger later studied political science and government at Monash University.
In the 1970s, he interviewed community icons for his lively profile features in The AJN. He also worked for Australian Associated Press during that decade.
In 1980, Weiniger became a senior journalist at The Age, where he covered major news developments, including Victoria’s tragic Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983.
His work at The Age focused on news but also on entertainment-themed stories, and his material frequently appeared in The Green Guide, the newspaper’s weekly entertainment lift-out.
In later years, Weiniger became a lecturer in media studies at RMIT.
In a bereavement notice in The Age, his media colleagues reflected, “Our dear mate Peter has left us after several years of poor health. It was great that he could make a few lunches. We will forever remember his kindness, quick wit, cheerfulness, and genial nature.
“He had the greatest respect for his Jewish culture and heritage as well as his Chinese birthplace. He will be forever in our hearts and very sadly missed by the Friday lunch mob.”
Laid to rest last week in a funeral service conducted by Rabbi Gary Robuck of Temple Beth Israel, Weiniger is survived by his son Patrick, grandsons Camillo and Arlen, and niece and nephews Belinda, Dustin and Dean.
Weiniger’s family expressed their feelings in a tribute notice in The AJN. “Peter will be missed by his family and legion of friends who enjoyed his warmth, his sharp wit and his captivating storytelling.”
Weiniger as a child in Shanghai in the 1940s, sharing a rickshaw ride with his father. Photo: Far From Where?
Writing for The AJN in the 1970s.