a radio feature
There’s a long tradition, or maybe many long traditions, of ships that sail the sky. They’ve been turning up in different parts of the world for around 1000 years. Continue Reading
It is 1940 and wherever he goes in Australia, Noel Coward receives rapturous applause. His tour of the great Southern land is tightly packed with luncheons, concerts and fundraisers. 1,500 people attend three different functions on the one day in Adelaide and as he is leaving Sydney 900 business girls (as news reports refer to them) mob him in Market Street. Nurses ask him to sign their uniforms. Solders lift him up on their shoulders. Mayors present him with keys to the city. He is even introduced to a Koala.
The scene is Sydney Road, Brunswick, Victoria. It’s 19th May 1933 and Friday night shopping is in full swing. But an angry crowd is gathering. These are not shoppers. These are protestors. The depression has hit this area hard. Police are on high alert, and when they hear a young man, called Noel Counihan, speaking from inside a cage, chained to the verandah post, of what is now the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, tempers fly. The police attempt to break the cage open and finally resort to using a battering ram as the crowd cheers for Noel. Continue Reading
I’m grateful to the Australia Council Literature Board for this grant of $40,000, which will give me the space and time to complete my book about the Australian poet, writer, critic and mentor, Nancy Keesing.
Australia is leading the world in a new approach to archives. It is challenging traditional archivists to embrace a more multilateral approach, one which suggests many versions of the past. But what does this mean archives are about become? Do they describe our past or our future? If we are to believe in Archive Fever then we might find our archives produce our history as much as they record it. Continue Reading
argery has sent me a package by registered mail. The identification number is 497442495011. It cost $13.80 to send and does not contain any dangerous goods. All of which does nothing to describe the contents. As I tear open the top, old family photographs spill out over my desk. And the smell, a particular smell, tumbles out of the envelope. It too is old. It’s that quaint smell of the past, which exists somewhere between remembered mustiness and the time before you were born. Continue Reading
his is the most successful prison break in Australian history. It was an international rescue effort that took years to organise, and which finally freed six Irish prisoners from Fremantle Gaol. The rescue ship was an American whaler called The Catalpa. The escape was so dramatic that it’s now a symbol of human resilience, even resurrection. Continue Reading