Speeches »

[20 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 107 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald, Di Young & Tim Olsen speak about My Last Drink at The Sydney Institute
Professor Ross Fitzgerald is proud to say that he has been sober for over fifty years. Thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and the support he found among its members. As a prolific author, Ross Fitzgerald has again taken up the subject of recovered alcoholism in a new book My Last Drink, co-edited with Neal Price, an artist and writer who now lives in Hobart, Tasmania. The book brings together the stories of 32 recovering alcoholics and …

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[14 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 46 views ]

              Semut wins the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History
The prize for Australian history went to Semut : The untold story of a secret Australian operation in WWII Borneo, by Christine Helliwell, who has worked and at times lived among the Borneo’s indigenous Dayak peoples for more than 40 years. In his review for The Australian’s Book pages, critic Ross Fitzgerald described the book as “brilliant.”
“Some Dayaks previously had never encountered Europeans, while most Allied soldiers previously had never met indigenous people,” Fitzgerald …

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[13 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 37 views ]


The Sydney Institute Review of Books, Summer Reading, December 2022.

My Last Drink: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics
Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price (eds)
Connor Court Publishing, Queensland, 2022
ISBN:9781922815224, RRP: $29.95
My Last Drink is also available from Amazon and Booktopia
Reviewed by Alan Gregory

This is a grim, but often highly entertaining, read as 32 recovering alcoholics tell the story of how they survived alcoholism. All contributors to My Last Drink accept the dictum that once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. This is despite the fact that many of the authors have …

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[10 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 52 views ]

My favourite book for 2022 is Grainne Cleary’s Why Do Birds Do That? (Allen & Unwin). If readers wonder why birds in Australia behave as they do, and what are their peculiar habits, the answers are to be found in this beautifully produced paperback.
As a wildlife ecologist who promotes citizen involvement, Cleary argues that the ability of certain species, “including some that are threatened, to thrive in our gardens means that gardens help to support and maintain their needs”. Hence it is incumbent on Australians to make our gardens more …

Columns »

[6 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 57 views ]

The First Labor Government in the World proved a week was a long time in politics
Queensland has had many political firsts. These include the fact that Australia’s only Communist Party MP, Frederick Woolnough (“Fred”) Paterson, was a two-term member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

Widely known throughout Queensland as “The People’s Champion”, Paterson represented the state seat of Bowen for the Communist Party of Australia from 1944 to 1950. This was until his electorate was gerrymandered out of existence by the state Labor government.
On St Patrick’s Day 1948, during …

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[1 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 63 views ]

Louis Nowra, Sydney: A Biography
NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, ISBN: 9781742235927
pp 498, $39.99.
  As is the case with one of my favourite Australian writers and playwrights, Louis Nowra, Sydney is also my adopted city.
Although from 1977 to the 1990s I worked in Brisbane, like Nowra, I was born and educated in Melbourne. I too have fallen in love with the beguiling city of Sydney.
Born in December 1950, Nowra has for many years resided on the border between Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo, and is married to his third wife, the …

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[30 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 29 views ]

My Last Drink, 32 Stories of Recovering Alcoholics
Edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price
Connor Court, 2022, 189 pages, $29.95
Reviewed by Matthew White
One does tire of celebrity reprobates. A fast way to attract attention and build a ‘profile’ in our lazy society is to write about one’s appalling behaviour towards others. Its acceptability enables a form of confession and avoidance, and, if properly promoted and garnished with a veneer of bohemianism, it is more like confession and appointment to the firmament of New Ideaidolatry. Attention, advertisement, writers’ festivals, prizes, perhaps even honours, …

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[24 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 34 views ]

Unrepresentative Victorian swill
Preference trading corrupts Victorian politics
The Victorian election promises to deliver one of the most bizarre legislatures that Australia has ever seen. This is due to an electoral system in the Upper House that is so easily manipulated.
Victoria is the only state that persists with a Group Voting Ticket (GVT) – a list of written preferences that parties instruct the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) to adhere to when distributing votes. This system enables micro parties to be elected with less than a few hundred votes. At the …

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[17 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 31 views ]


Reviewed by Rocco Loiacono
Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price (eds)
My Last Drink: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics
Connor Court, 2022, 190 pages, $29.95
In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Dr Jordan Peterson remarked: “It’s really something to see, constantly, how many people are dying for lack of an encouraging word. And how easy it is to provide that if you’re careful.” My Last Drink –an anthology of highly personal and inspiring stories, edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price – demonstrates how important an encouraging word can be in …

Speeches »

[5 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 78 views ]

MY LAST DRINK: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics
Speech by Ross Fitzgerald
The Sydney Institute, October 31, 2022.
Thank you, Gerard. It’s very good to be here. Indeed, as my Uncle George used to say, at my age it’s very good to be anywhere.
On his deathbed I said to Uncle George, “You know you were my favourite relative.” To which he responded, “There wasn’t much competition!”
And thanks Gerard for your sage advice concerning this book, My Last Drink: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics.
It was you Gerard who convinced my Tasmanian-based co-editor, Neal Price, …

Columns »

[15 Oct 2022 | No Comment | 44 views ]

Judicial complexities 
Regarding “ ‘No body, no parole laws’ a win for family” (14/10), on the face of it the law passed in NSW parliament on Thursday for convicted murderers who don’t co-operate with authorities in finding their victims’ bodies to never be granted parole might seem to be a very good idea. 
But without any reference to a specific case, what if a convicted murderer is innocent? As someone who was a long-time community member of the Queensland Parole Board and then of the NSW State Parole Authority, I wonder: what …