• Lyndal, Emerald, Ava & Ross at "Greystoke"
  • Ross Fitzgerald and Lyndal Moor at Catalins's on Valentines Day 2019
    Ross Fitzgerald and Lyndal Moor at Catalina's on Valentines Day 2019
  • Ross with comedian Barry Humphries. Sydney 2019.
  • Ross's 74th birthday
  • Ross & Lyndal celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary
  • Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
    Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
  • Lyndal, Emerald and Adrian with our grandchild, Ava
  • Ross's dog Maddie
  • Ross and Lyndal's 40th anniversary
  • Daughter Emerald with our grandchild Ava
  • Ross becomes a member of The Order of Australia.

Columns, Reviews »

[19 Sep 2020 | No Comment | 0 views ]

RADIO GIRL: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend by David Dufty. Publisher: Allen&Unwin, 2020, pp 302, $22.99
Review by ROSS FITZGERALD
Florence Violet McKenzie, nee Wallace (1890-1982), usually known as Violet or Mrs Mac, is someone who, up to now, I’d never heard of.
But thanks to David Dufty, an expert in Australia’s military intelligence during World War Two, I now realise how crucial she  was in training our first women code-breakers (initially in signals, not in code-breaking as such) and also, as an early feminist, in persuading the navy to establish the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS).
Importantly, Mrs Mac was Australia’s first female electrical …

Reviews »

[18 Sep 2020 | No Comment | 5 views ]

Deborah Cassrels, ‘Gods and Demons’ (ABC Books, 336pp, $34.99).
Review by ROSS FITZGERALD
Bali is a special place for Australians. For some of us it’s a touchstone, a much-loved haven.

Until she died in January, my darling wife Lyndal, who spoke Bahasa Indonesian and some Balinese, travelled with me each year to Bali. We always stayed at the Puri Saraswati Bungalows, a home away from home in culturally rich Ubud, next to the Royal Palace.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Yet despite an influx of immigrants, mainly from Java, Bali remains predominantly …

Columns »

[10 Sep 2020 | No Comment | 7 views ]

ROSS FITZGERALD
 

I’m at risk, but I don’t want lockdowns

It’s hard to credit in a democracy like Australia, but five and a half million Melburnians are set to continue under virtual house arrest almost indefinitely. On Sunday, Premier Dan Andrews‘ roadmap to reopening turned out to be a plan for even more lockdowns. Unless cases in Victoria drop to below current New South Wales levels, the curfew will continue beyond October 26; and restaurants won’t be open for indoor service until after November 23, and then only if there are no …

Columns »

[31 Aug 2020 | No Comment | 93 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD

Cigarettes in Australia have never been subjected to prohibition. Advances in manufacturing, marketing and advertising of cigarettes, starting over a century ago, saw cigarette smoking steadily increase for half a century. Soon after World War II, a majority of Australian men smoked, although smoking rates among women never reached such high levels.

After World War II, shocking research about the dangers of smoking began to appear. First a trickle of research, then a flood. Now we know that up to two of every three long-term smokers will die from …

Columns »

[30 Aug 2020 | No Comment | 15 views ]

It’s time to get a sense of proportion about the virus
ROSS FITZGERALD
One of Scott Morrison’s key innovations, as border protection minister, was to stop the practice of making announcements every time an illegal migrant boat arrived. “I’m not in the business of providing shipping news for people smugglers” he used to say. It certainly helped that government policies, most notably boat turn-backs, were actually defusing the crisis. But by refusing to front the media on a near-daily basis, he avoided elevating the issue and giving a platform to doom-mongers.
It’s hard not …

Columns »

[30 Jul 2020 | No Comment | 78 views ]

The so-called National Cabinet
This is no way to produce sensible policy
ROSS FITZGERALD
Last month, Australia’s top bureaucrat congratulated himself on the creation of the so-called National Cabinet, saying that this had made Australia’s response to the pandemic “one of the best, if not the best, in the world in terms of the federations”. Earlier, the Prime Minister had likewise patted himself on the back for making a monthly National Cabinet meeting with the premiers and chief ministers a permanent feature of Australian governance. These National Cabinet meetings would be, Scott Morrison …

Books »

[28 Jul 2020 | No Comment | 94 views ]

‘Fifty Years Sober: An Alcoholic’s Journey.’

by Ross Fitzgerald, Hybrid Publishers, $27.50.
Reviewed by Rama Gaind
It’s realism at its starkest. “The reality is that if I hadn’t stopped drinking and drugging at twenty-five years of age, I wouldn’t have made twenty-six”. This is Professor Fitzgerald’s 42nd book and an updated edition of his 2010 memoir ‘My Name is Ross.’
Ross Fitzgerald, an Emeritus Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University, has been a successful academic, writer, reviewer and commentator in the media. He acknowledges that it remains a daily battle to remain …

Reviews »

[24 Jul 2020 | No Comment | 176 views ]

One of the best non-fiction books of the year is an elegant memoir by Paul Bugden who, from 1995 at the height of the AIDS epidemic, ran Bugdens Bookshop in Kings Cross for almost 20 years.

Released this month, Tales of an Accidental Bookseller tells the true story of a struggling actor and aspiring filmmaker who, amid great personal loss and tragedy, finds redemption in the most unlikely place – the second hand book trade.

Tales of an Accidental Bookseller is available for $29.99 from bugdensbooks@bigpond.com

It is an enthralling and fascinating read.

Professor Ross Fitzgerald AM is the …

Reviews »

[9 Jul 2020 | No Comment | 265 views ]

The Insider : The scoops, the scandals and the serious business within the Canberra bubble
by Christopher Pyne
Hachette Australia, 
$34.99, pp 321,  ISBN 9780733643422 

review by ROSS FITZGERALD
The trouble with political memoirs is that it’s very hard to get the balance right between the book-length version of an after-dinner speech, with its jokes and stories; and an elaborate re-telling of recent history, invariably told to make a hero of the author. Christopher Pyne’s account of his part in the post-Howard years occasionally prompts a chuckle and sometimes has interesting things to say. By …

Reviews »

[4 Jul 2020 | No Comment | 265 views ]

UNDER FIRE : HOW AUSTRALIA’S VIOLENT HISTORY LED TO GUN CONTROL
By Nick Brodie
Hardie Grant, 289pp, $29.99
ONE PUNCH : THE TRAGIC TOLL OF RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE
By Barry Dickins
Hardie Grant, 182pp, $29.99
reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
From the beginning of white occupation, guns and booze have played a pivotal role in our culture, from the so-called Rum Rebellion in January 1808 to Martin Bryant’s murder of 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, in April 1996.

Bryant’s consumption of booze was excessive: a bottle and a half of liqueur, plus port wine and other sweet …

Columns »

[30 Jun 2020 | No Comment | 263 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald
Founded in London in January 1884, with the aim of establishing a socialist society by peaceful means, the Fabian Society in Britain speedily evolved into the first modern-style think tank. It did much to craft the policies advocated by the British Labour Party, which was founded in London in February 1900.
The Fabian Society’s early success had its echoes in Australia.  Fabian societies sprang into life in several of our capital cities after the Labor Party first emerged as a force to be reckoned with at the state and federal level. …