Based in Armidale (NSW) during the 1970s and in Sydney from 1983 through until the late 1990s, Peter Mitchell has been the principal songwriter/lead singer/guitarist with several rock bands, notably Captains of Industry, and has for many years also collaborated with his younger brother Ian. the author of several self-published books, Mitchell has carved out simultaneous careers in the public service and as an academic.
Raised in Blacktown (Sydney), Mitchell's parents moved to Armidale when he was nine years old. During his early years he developed a passion for words and music. After forming several high school bands, he travelled to England in 1975 to develop his songwriting. After returning to Armidale and completing his high school education he drifted through a variety of jobs, including a rouseabout/assistant researcher at Tibooburra. While in Broken Hill in 1982 he recorded the albums Almost Human and Far Cry. The following year he moved to Sydney and formed Captains of Industry (1983-1985), the band which perhaps best articulated his musical vision.
During the late 1980s and 1990s Mitchell focused his creative energies largely through writing and recording, and mostly in collaboration with Ian Mitchell. Between 1985 and 1989, while working fulltime as a storeman and driver, he completed a BA (Hons) degree at University of Sydney. At the same time he also produced the albums Wolf in a Riding Hood (1985); Broken Man (1986) a thematically linked 10 song cycle; Ghost Around the Town (1986), Music for Sundays in Winter (1987), and Arid Man (1988). A 1992 album, Spontaneous By Design, by recorded by his band Blood Brothers (aka the Song). Over the next two years Mitchell also produced a slim volume of poetry titled Songpoems and re-worked a selection of his early songs, giving them an acoustic and keyboard-dominated sound. These comprise Half Remembered Sorrow (1992). The Mitchell brothers formed another band, The Rudiments, in 1994 and released a 5 song EP under the title I Want You To Be With Me. In 1995 Mitchell published The Great Unknown, an autobiography in song. The book is accompanied by a 3 CD "best of" compilation co-produced with Ian Mitchell. The brothers subsequently formed The Great Unknown Band, and released the album Bald Rapunzel (ca. 2000).
As an author Mitchell has self-published the travel memoirs All About Shadows: Travelling in Italy, France and England (1997), Ulysses and Penelope: Travelling in Ireland (2006), and Forgotten Don Quixote: Travelling in Spain and Portugal (2007). In addition to his life as songwriter/musician and performer Mitchell was employed by the Department of Immigration between 1990 and 2003. After working as a field investigator he was promoted to the position of Manager of the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. In 1999 he was reassigned as Manager of the Kosovar and East Timorese "Operation Safe Haven" at East Hills.
Mitchell's academic career has seen him awarded a Dip Ed. (University of New England) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Western Sydney). He has been commissioned to write histories for the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia and the Freeman Sports Club and has reviewed poetry and presented conference papers for TEXT: The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs (2005-06). In 2006 he began his candidacy as a Ph D student at the Central Queensland University.
[Source: Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive]