Australian politics, society & culture

World War II

The Road to the Apology
By Robert Manne
Two pieces of evidence I stumbled upon shortly after reading the report had a particularly powerful effect on me. One was a passage from Margaret Tucker's autobiography, If Everyone Cared. As I know now but did not yet understand, Margaret Tucker had been one of the many New South Wales Aboriginal children and
Australian Government poster - "Australia: land of Tomorrow", by Joe Greenberg, 21 September 1949, National Archives of Australia
The Official History
By John Hirst
How Do Creatures Think?
By Robyn Davidson
As I do. And have always done.I have studied them in the wild, worked with them, shared my homes with them. Though ‘pets' seems too diminished a term to give to those aliens who have, throughout my life, kept me company, amused me, amazed me. Dogs, cats, parrots, ravens ... they have reconnected me with nature when I'
Werner Herzog’s ‘Rescue Dawn’
By Luke Davies
Some Australian examples
By John Hirst
My Australian collection begins early, at Sydney Cove in 1789, the second year of the convict settlement. The nature of this anomalous society is still not well understood. Since the population consisted of convicts and military it is assumed that the military controlled the convicts. This is not so. The military had
Illustration by Jeff Fisher.
By Clive James
Instructions for a Generation
By John Button
In November, Rupert Murdoch came on a special visit and gave us a lecture, in a well-publicised keynote address to an audience of Sydney's rich and famous. He said that he was worried about a "regrettable" anti-American sentiment in Australia. From his perspective, the concern was hardly surprising.
By Chris Middendorp
The uncredited introduction to this anthology somewhat meekly proposes that we shouldn't take high honours in literature too seriously. Reminding us of the sublime authors who were not awarded the Nobel - Tolstoy, James, Conrad, Woolf, Nabokov, Greene, among others - the anonymous writer blithely concedes that,
After years of struggle Vietnam’s economy is finally improving. But will the lights stay on?
By John Button
Two kilometres from the Ana Mandara, atop a small hill, is Vietnam’s largest statue of Buddha. At the foot of the hill is the Long Son Pagoda and a monastery. Some ragamuffin kids squat on the ground, playing a game that looks like conkers. They’re concentrating, ignoring us completely. We are not ignored by two
Australia's last frontier society is long gone. So what's next for the city of Darwin?
By Tony Clifton
When I went back in September both the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, and local historian Mickey Dewar used the word “latte” in their descriptions of this comfortable, backpacker-jammed resort by the Arafura Sea. The Darwin of 2005 is hardly exciting exciting, but it did seem unfair of the recent
By James Ley
Vikram Seth’s great-uncle and aunt were a mismatched couple. Shanti Seth was a short Hindu dentist with one arm; Hennerle Caro, tall and slender, was a German Jew. This alone suggests the story of how they came to be happily married is likely to be intriguing, but Aunty Henny and Shanti Uncle also belonged to a
Charles MacKarras and the quest for authenticity
By Stephen Fay
Sir Neville Cardus, the legendary cricket writer and music critic, chose to spend the World War II years in Sydney rather than London. Young Australian musicians would seek him out at his home in Kings Cross and ask if he thought they would be able to make a career in Europe when the war was over. One young oboist
Plaques and decay. Can Kings Cross survive a $30 million facelift?
By Linda Jaivin
There’s something inescapably romantic about the idea of the Cross, that dirty half mile of Darlinghurst Road plus the suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Darlinghurst and Woolloomooloo which fall away from its ridge. The Cross is a dream of poets and drunks and trannies, of a long night that winds
‘Dead Europe’, Christoas Tsiolkas, Vintage; $22.95
‘Dead Europe’ by Christos Tsiolkas
By Robert Manne
Cameron Forbes's 'Hellfire'
By Phillip Knightley
There comes a moment after a war when the politicians who made it and the generals who fought it and the soldiers who survived it have died or are dying and the truth finally emerges. We are in the middle of that moment now with the war between Australia and Japan, 1941–45. A spate of revisionist histories, of which