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Articles Archive for November 2015

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[29 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 77 views ]

Grafton Everest is a rotund, larger-than-life political larrikin from Australia’s northernmost state and has been thrust to the balance of power in the national Parliament thanks to some dubious preference whispering.
Sound familiar?
The brainchild of Griffith University history and politics emeritus professor Ross Fitzgerald, Grafton Everest from the fictional Australian state of “Mangoland first appeared in 1986 in the form of ‘Pushed from the Wings: An Entertainment.’
“I was at Griffith University during the worst periods of the Joh regime and volume two of my history of Queensland got pulped. I got …

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[28 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 100 views ]

The Dismissal: In the Queen’s Name
By Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston
Viking, 432pp, $39.99 (HB)
The information — much of it new — contained in this up-to-date analysis of the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as prime minister is utterly fascinating. Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston, political journalists on this newspaper, have uncovered fresh documents and interviewed scores of participants in the events leading up to, during and after the momentous day of November 11, 1975. In the main, they have made good use of what they found and learned.
Subtitled “In the Queen’s …

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[21 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 60 views ]

University reform is not one size fits all. We really do need to recognise the special role that regional universities play in regional and remote Australia. Failure to do so will fail the regional economies that drive the Australian economy whether it be through traditional exports from agriculture, mining and tourism or growing ones like renewable energy, niche market advanced engineering and value added food and tourism products.
Regional Australia is difficult to service because populations are relatively small and thinly spread over large areas. It contrasts with more densely-packed …

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[21 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 57 views ]

Amazon Men: The World’s Greatest Forest That has Eluded and Deluded Explorers for 500 Years
By Adam Courtenay
Endeavour Press, 251pp, $US9.99
As well as being one of the best-known US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt was a larger-than-life adventurer. In 1913 he explored the rainforests of the Amazon, an experience he recounted a year later in his fascinating book ‘Through the Brazilian Wilderness’. He regarded the Amazon as a paradox and a prime example of the casual brutality of the tropics, agreeing with Charles Darwin’s assessment: “one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse, made by …

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[21 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 118 views ]

Many historians are interested in the progress of social movements, some of which are dubbed inevitable. However, that ducks the question of timing.
Becoming a republic and same-sex marriage are said to be inevitable in Australia. But why have they not happened already?
Despite the defeat in the 1999 referendum, 62 per cent of Australians in 2001 still favoured a republic. In 2012, after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 58 per cent wanted to retain the monarchy. And this week the Australian Republican Movement announced that 51 per cent of Australians — a …

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[14 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 79 views ]

A Carefree War: The Hidden History of Australian WWII Child Evacuees
By Ann Howard
Big Sky Publishing, 216pp, $24.95
Of the many hidden histories of World War II, the story of the voluntary evacuation of children in Australia remains one of the most poignant and fascinating. Ann Howard, author of this scrupulously researched and usefully indexed book, was herself a child evacuee from European hostilities. She was removed to what was regarded as the relative safety of the antipodes.
Howard interviewed more than 100 Australians, many of whom provided photographic evidence along with oral …

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[7 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 78 views ]

‘Hope Farm’ (Scribe, 353pp, $29.99) is the second novel from Melbourne writer and musician Peggy Frew, following her excellent 2011 debut ‘House of Sticks.’ It’s the resonant tale of Silver, a girl on the verge of womanhood growing up in a string of communes in the early 1980s, and her mother, Ishtar, a single mum with a troubled past and a taste for charismatic but shonky men.
Frew is a gifted writer, evidenced here by finely balanced observations and atmospheric description. The commune of the title, Hope Farm, is on the …

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[7 Nov 2015 | No Comment | 107 views ]

Making Magic: The Marion Mahony Griffin Story
By Glenda Korporaal
Oranje Media, 342pp, $34.95
Marion Mahony, the second woman to graduate with an architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, went on to become the first licensed female architect in the US.
After working as a loyal assistant to Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago for almost 15 years, Mahony (1871-1961) teamed up with a handsome man five years her junior, with whom she had previously worked at Wright’s architectural practice and whom she was soon to marry. This was the hugely talented, but …

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[7 Nov 2015 | One Comment | 162 views ]

People were puffing away on cigarettes for hundreds of years before anyone twigged to the dangers. In the West, we initially weren’t smoking that much but, as the 20th century progressed, so our ­tobacco habit increased.
By the middle of the century most Australian men smoked but few women did.
Although it had been suspected cigarette smoking was harmful, the seriousness of this risk was ­unconfirmed until researcher Richard Doll in Britain conducted his landmark 1952 study.
The importance of Doll’s study into the risks of smoking was quickly recognised. Iain Macleod, then …