Ross Fitzgerald to raise a glass of the soft stuff to a life well lived
PROBABLY Australia’s most celebrated teetotaller will toast his Order of Australia in the same style he has his long list of other achievements in the past 44 years.
“I’ll be going to an AA meeting at 8pm, to give thanks from whence it all has come, academic and author Ross Fitzgerald laughs as he tells ‘The Australian’.
“Had I not stopped drinking and using all other drugs from Australia Day 1970, I wouldn’t have been around to do the work that the award’s about.
“I stopped at 24, if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have made 25.
That body of work includes 36 histories and biographies, of which he considers the leading achievements his histories of Queensland, and biographies on “Red Ted Edward Theodore — who Professor Fitzgerald describes “as probably the most talented politician never to be prime minister — and Fred Paterson, Australia’s only communist member of parliament.
“My contribution as an academic and to history and politics would also include some of the columns IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve written for ‘The Australian’, he says.
As well as chronicling his battle with alcoholism in ‘My Name is Ross: An Alcoholic’s Journey’, Professor Fitzgerald has four “very rude sexual-political satires featuring his antihero Grafton Everest, although he admits he still wants more success on that front.
“I would have liked to have written a well-regarded work of fiction, he says. “TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve all bombed in Australia but done very well in Great Britain and South Ã‚ÂAfrica. And ‘Soaring’, which I consider my best work of fiction, did the opposite — plummeting would have been too active — although it did win the Eros Foundation erotic novel of the year award in 1994. Outside academe, Professor Fitzgerald spent 10 years with the Queensland Parole Board, was on the NSW state parole authority for nine years, and was on the expert advisory group for alcohol and other drugs, and opened the 2003 alcohol summit.
Professor Fitzgerald, who lives in Sydney but remains an emeritus professor of history and politics at Brisbane’s Griffith University, received his OA for significant service to education in the field of politics and history as an academic, and to community and public health organisations.
‘The Australian’, June 9, 2014, p 5
MEMBER (AM) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
Professor Ross Andrew FITZGERALD, Redfern NSW 2016
For significant service to education in the field of politics and history as an academic,
and to community and public health organisations.
Current Emeritus Professor, History and Politics, Griffith University, Queensland; Personal
Chair, 1996-2002; Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor, 1987-1996; Lecturer, 1977-1986.
Has published 36 books on history, philosophy, politics, alcohol and sport.
Member, Government Expert Advisory Group on Drugs and Alcohol, 2000-2013.
Current Member, Physiotherapy Council of New South Wales.
Member, New South Wales Heritage Council, 2003-2009.
Member, New South Wales State Parole Authority, 2002-2012.
Member, New South Wales Administration Decisions Tribunal, 2002-2012.
Member, Queensland Parole Board, 1997-2002.
Chair, Centenary of Federation Queensland, 1999-2002.
Centenary Medal, 2001.