Peter Andren grew up in railway towns in country New South Wales. (Andren's father was a stationmaster.) He gained a BA from Macquarie University and, after graduting from the Alexander Mackie Teachers College, taught from 1966 to 1968. Andren then moved into the television industry working for metropolitan and regional networks.
In 1996 Andren contested and won the Federal New South Wales seat of Calare as an independent. He remained the member for Calare in the House of Representatives until 2007.