Manning Valley

Legendary People

Di Morrissey, writer and novelist

Born in Wingham, Di Morrissey is Australia’s number 1 best selling author. With sales of over several million copies, she is consistently in the top of the bestseller lists, with each book outselling the previous one. In 2011, she celebrated the milestone achievement of 20 years in publishing – that’s 20 books in 20 years! Her twentieth novel, The Opal Desert reached number 1 on the overall bestseller lists and her 22nd novel is being released in October 2014, ‘The Road Back’.

Di Morrissey’s books have touched the hearts and emotions of readers around the world. She writes about personal relationships, the environment, Aboriginal reconciliation, identity and Australia’s relationship with its South East Asian and Pacific neighbours. All her novels are inspired by a particular landscape.

Her first job was with Australian Consolidated Press, then responsible for papers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Australian Women’s Weekly. Starting as a copy girl at their headquarters in Sydney, she was able to convince the chief of staff to give her a cadetship for four years of training as a  journalist.  Research, writing and communicating became the tools of her trade, skills which were later brought to all her novels.

After many years living, working and travelling overseas, Di came back to write her award-winning novel, ‘The Valley’ based on characters in the Manning. Di now lives in the valley and is an environmentalist and activist giving of her time for local issues that she’s passionate about.  Di is Patron of Manning Valley Tourism due to her love of the region which has many found childhood memories.

Di Morrissey has done it all, she was a journalist on London’s Fleet Street, worked for CBS in Honolulu, had acting roles and was the entertainment reporter on Good Morning Australia for many years.


Liz Hayes, reporter

Elizabeth “Liz” Hayes is an Australian television presenter and was born and raised in Taree in the Manning Valley.  In a long career with the Nine Network, Liz Hayes is best known for her work as a reporter on 60 Minutes, and as a former co-host of  Today that she held for a decade.

She started her career as a cadet journalist on the local Manning River Times newspaper, becoming assistant editor and then moved to Sydney, working for New Idea and TV Week for a few weeks, before becoming a reporter for Network Ten’s Eyewitness News.

In 1981 she was signed to the Nine Network, reporting for National Nine News and then presenting the National Nine Morning News.

In 1986 Hayes was appointed co-host of Today with Steve Liebmann and stayed co-host for ten years with Tracy Grimshaw replacing her. In 1996, Liz  joined 60 Minutes as a reporter and remains in this position today where in 2011, she celebrated 30 years with the Nine Network.