Michael, a New Zealander by birth, was educated in Apia, Samoa, and then Wellington College, New Zealand. He migrated to Australia in 1966, graduating in Law at Sydney University in 1972. He practised initially in Moree in North-Western New South Wales, then Queensland and finally Sydney. His experience in international commercial litigation stimulated a fascination of the interaction between agriculture and mining, an interest which he retains to this day. His sporting passions are judo, Rugby Union and yachting. A love of travel and history led to extended research of maritime matters and a focus on Duncan Dunbar and his life.
In 2017, Jardine Matheson granted Michael access to their business records which were deposited in the University Library, Cambridge. Access to these records is only granted if Cambridge University is convinced of the merit of such a project. With access granted, Michael spent extended periods in the restricted Special Collections area of University of Cambridge University library, and weeks travelling widely in the UK tracing records and meeting descendants of Duncan Dunbar and his associates.
Whilst there in 2017, his application for a visa to visit the sites of the Second Opium War in China was granted with no restrictions. That visit allowed direct observation of the Bocca Tigris area and forts near Humen in Guangdong Province, the nearby Opium Burning Ponds and the adjacent museums. Those visits and later trips to the UK garnered photos and copies of original records in Duncan Dunbar’s own handwriting. These records completed the essential sources of information for this first-ever biography of the man who dominated the English shipping trade in Asia, and the migrant trade to Australia and New Zealand.
Michael has a daughter and grandchildren in London, a son in the US and other sons in Sydney. Michael and wife Patti live part of the year in Sydney and part in Queensland
‘Lion Rampant: Duncan Dunbar and the Age of Sail', Michael's first book, has been embraced worldwide. His second is currently being written and should be printed in late 2022.