Armed with an Honours degree from the Australian National University, Richard Wallace became a journalist with the Fairfax newspaper organisation that included The Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age, The Canberra Times and the Australian Financial Review among its mastheads. Posted to Europe he covered the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986 and the subsequent Geneva auction of her jewellery collection in 1987. Leaving Fairfax, Richard joined the UK Independent shortly after its creation in 1986 at the request of eccentric founding editor Andreas Whittam Smith.
His focus was researching and writing long reads for the weekend magazines. These included profiles of celebrities, actors, authors, and business leaders: Yoko Ono required specific information about the time and place of his birth for her spiritualist before she agreed to be interviewed; he spent a week on the road with 1989 Australian Ashes team and was hospitalised for alcoholic poisoning; the poet Stephen Spender took him on a night-long drinking and gambling spree with the artist Francis Bacon through Mayfair; he found himself alongside Sean Connery in the Savoy’s public toilets before a publicity interview for The Name of Rose that he later wrote up as “I had a slash with James Bond”; he covered the World Chess Championships in Leningrad; Jeffrey Barnard bought him a drink at The Coach & Horses; he was the only reporter other than a representative from The South Wales Evening Post at the inaugural Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea; and a befuddled Anthony Burgess mistook him for Rolling Stone founder editor Jann Wenner throughout a bizarre encounter in Prague.
All of which proved ample training for his career as a Public Relations executive with an American conglomerate across four continents before joining the Intelligence Services as a media analyst. His last posting was with the since disbanded Information Warfare Division within AUKUS.
In the meantime, he contributed commissioned pieces to The Cricketer magazine and The Mandarin online portal for senior civil service officers.