The first article I had published outside university, union, or activist publications.

I started writing professionally in 2006, covering Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, where I had just completed a semester on student exchange.

Cupids Cops

Did you know porn is still illegal in NSW?

Six months later, after blogging (at australianinbeirut) and reporting for outlets including the Canberra Times and, I returned to Australia and took up a position with Alternative Media Group, writing for their three titles – City Hub, City News and The Bondi View.

An Iranian man leaves a polling station located in an East-Tehran Mosque

After a brief stint at the North Western Courier in Narrabri, at the beginning of 2008 I returned to freelancing for outlets in Australia and abroad. I then travelled to Tehran where I covered Iran’s 2009 presidential elections for The Diplomat, CBS and Fox News.

After having my trip cut short by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance I returned to Beirut where I freelanced some more, working for outlets including, Today FM (Ireland), CBC,  Qantara, The Scotsman, Executive, Time Out Beirut and

What are we afraid of? (A piece on Villawood Detention Centre)

In April I returned to Australia, where I started contributing once more to The City Hub and on occasion The City News, as well as making videos for the#ElectionWIRE youtube channel.

In February of 2011 I moved to Cairo to report on the ongoing Arab Spring. So far being here has seen me do some more work for places like, as well as new outlets like the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Russia Today, New Humanist, King’s Tribune, and Citizen Radio. I’ve also started to dabble with photography.

I had quite a couple of years in Cairo including a protracted legal battle with the authorities, and meeting and marrying the incredible Aliya Alwi. In February of this year (2013) I moved to Ecuador with her and our cat Assad. (Assad means lion in Arabic).

——UPDATE (May 2017)——

In Ecuador Aliya and I teamed up with a bunch of other people to launch You can read my stuff there.  Since then we’ve moved back to Australia, and are living in the far south coast of New South Wales.


10 Responses to Bio

  1. Pingback: Election 2010: Bright young intellectual voices his opinions | Asian Correspondent

  2. Hi Austin,
    Terry Townsend from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (, an online journal associated with Green Left Weekly.
    We’re very impressed with your latest Cairo reports. Just wondering if we might have permission to repost these, with full credit and links to the original of course, and any other attribution you may require. Unfortunately we can’t pay, but we can get your posts to get a wider audience.
    Please let me know if this is ok, to

  3. Phil says:

    Mr. Mackell,

    I am writing from a US-based street-art/graffiti magazine called “The Infamous.” I am very interested in doing an article for our next issue on Egyptian street artists and their political activism. I am looking for people inside Egypt who would be able to help me. If you are willing to help or at least willing to talk to me, please email me at

    Thank you,


  4. Dear Austin

    Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. I will put your blog on my blogroll. I am teaching in Cairo, so we should meet.

    Thanks, Warigia (Dr. Bowman of AUC)

  5. Dear Austin
    Your articles about Egypt reflect a deep understanding of the situation, and many Egyptians—who feel that the “revolution” is stuck on the reverse gear—share your views.

    We seek your permission to translate your articles about Egypt to Arabic, and publish them under your name and picture at our website (Arabic for NEW EGYPT).

    As you may know, Google Translate is very poor. We will have an actual human, fluent in both (oz) English and (eg) Arabic, translating your articles to the highest quality.

    This will allow your articles to become accessible to a potentially much bigger and relevant audience, the Egyptian people themselves, most of whom are not aware of ‘The Moon Under Water’.

  6. Pingback: Egypt arrests U.S. student, Aussie journalist | Somali Online Media and Journalist Association

  7. Pingback: السلطات المصرية تحتجز صحفياً استرالياً ومترجمة مصرية : الشبكة العربية لمعلومات حقوق الإنسان

  8. Pingback: Arabic Network For Human Rights Information

  9. heather says:

    My husband is english spking lawyer in cairo – giza -he may be able to help u. Name is shahin abofetouh. Mobile from uk 002 01001509880.

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