• Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
    Ross with Archibald Prize winning Australian artist John Olsen
  • Lyndal, Ava and Ross
  • Lyndal, Emerald and Adrian with our grandchild, Ava
  • Ross's dog Maddie
  • Ross and Lyndal's 40th anniversary
  • Daughter Emerald with our grandchild Ava
  • Standing for the Senate in NSW with The Australian Sex Party
  • Ross becomes a member of The Order of Australia.
  • Ross with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin.
    Ross with Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin.

Reviews »

[18 Jul 2017 | No Comment | 20 views ]

TELLING STORIES AT THE PERIPHERY OF A NATION
‘A Historian For All Seasons: Essays for Geoffrey Bolton’
Edited by Stuart Macintyre, Lenore Layman and Jenny Gregory
Monash University Publishing 2017
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-925495-60-7
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-925495-61-4
RRP $39.95
by Ross Fitzgerald
When our daughter Emerald was little, the only person she called by their full name was Geoffrey Bolton. She was obviously impressed by him and why wouldn’t she have been? After all Bolton, my friend and intellectual mentor, was tall and full-bearded and looked like an Old Testament prophet. He cut a striking figure.
In 1963, when his …

Reviews »

[8 Jul 2017 | No Comment | 14 views ]

‘Hans Heysen’
By Lou Klepac
The Beagle Press, 216pp, $120 (HB)
The author of this impressive book, Lou Klepac, has had a long association with the life and work of German-born Hans Heysen, a pioneer of Australian art who transformed how we see, draw and paint the Australian landscape.
Indeed, when Klepac became curator of paintings at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1966, Heysen was still on its board of trustees. Before he died in 1968, the then 90-year-old artist invited the author to The Cedars, a 60ha property near Hahndorf …

Columns »

[6 Jul 2017 | No Comment | 19 views ]

It’s over
by ROSS FITZGERALD
The first duty of a leader is to keep the team together. This is Malcolm Turnbull’s biggest failure. The federal parliamentary party is split, some of its strongest talent is banished to the backbench, party members are resigning in droves and the government is pursuing policies it would condemn coming from Labor.
Turnbull has never understood that loyalty is a two way street. You’ve got to give loyalty in order to get it. This involves fidelity to principles as well as loyalty to people. As leader of the …

Columns »

[28 Jun 2017 | No Comment | 11 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald
Students of Australian prehistory were once thin on the ground and interest in the field was equally limited. But that all began to change in the 1960s when work opportunities in the field began opening up. The search for archaeological traces of Australia’s ever more remote inhabited past was at last taking off as a discipline in the nation’s expanding universities.
Importantly, the subject already had acquired a dynamic exponent and champion in the person of John Mulvaney from Melbourne University. Mulvaney had completed …

Columns »

[23 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Trouble in Libland | 28 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
The clock is now ticking on Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. He currently faces active resistance from more than a score of Coalition MPs who didn’t enter public life to mimic the Labor Party. To them, the current PM’s not just leading a ‘Labor-lite’ government; he’s in the process of undermining fundamental Liberal Party values.
Edmund Burke defined a political party as a group of people working to advance the national interest according to a set of principles upon which they all agree. As John …

Reviews »

[16 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Review of Sydney Noir | 36 views ]

History
‘Sydney Noir: The Golden Years’
Michael Duffy and Nick Hordern
NewSouth, $34.99
Can a crime era be described as golden? That depends on your point of view, I suppose. If you’re a criminal or a corrupt cop, the description might, or might not, be apt. Hence ‘Sydney Noir’ is subtitled “The Golden Years” with more than a modicum of irony.
This compelling, well-researched and finely written book focuses on the Sydney underworld from 1966 to 1972. Good times to be a crim, apparently.
These “golden years” saw the replacement of illegal gambling as the main …

Reviews »

[8 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Behind The Headlines –with Rupert Murdoch’s Man About Town | 18 views ]

‘Making Headlines’
By Chris Mitchell
Melbourne University Press 2016
ISBN: (Paperback) 9780522870701
ISBN: (E-Book)9780522870718
RRP: $32.99 pb
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
For years from the mid-1990s onwards I wrote a regular column for Chris Mitchell when he ran Brisbane’s ‘Courier-Mail’ and then, from July 2002, when he was editor-in-chief of ‘The Australian’. This was the case until he retired from his extremely demanding editorial position in December 2015.
My experience is that Mitchell genuinely believes in freedom of speech and in the free play of ideas. Indeed, I can’t remember a single instance when he tried to prevent …

Reviews »

[3 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on Crucial month on the road to World War 11 | 15 views ]

‘Four Weeks One Summer’
By Nicholas Whitlam
Australian Scholarly Publishing, 284pp, $44
The causes of World War II are still debated, but was there a seminal moment?
As Australian author Nicholas Whitlam makes clear, there is almost universal consensus the conflict had its origins in the dubious settlement arrangements of World War I.
The breakdown of the established order in Europe, hyperinflation, the Depression and perceived political appeasement all laid the groundwork.
While there has been much speculation about how the war could have been avoided, Whitlam’s ‘Four Weeks One Summer’ centres on this question: when …

Columns »

[1 Jun 2017 | Comments Off on A Vainglorious PM’s Bankrupt Budget | 18 views ]

By capitulating as dramatically as he has, Malcolm Turnbull further highlighted the question of his character while simultaneously trashing his party’s brand. Is there any principle he stands for or would fight for, other than personal ambition, blind vanity and his current position?
A Vainglorious PM’s Bankrupt Budget
by ROSS FITZGERALD
For the past few weeks in Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been congratulating himself on how well the budget has been received. No one in the Coalition party room has yet chosen to contradict him, but that doesn’t mean he’s right.
In …

Reviews »

[30 May 2017 | Comments Off on Labor’s Nemesis | 12 views ]

Labor and Santamaria by Robert Murray
Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2017
103 pages, $24.95
A disastrous division in its ranks in the mid-1950s kept the Australian Labor Party out of power federally for twenty-three years. Until Gough Whitlam was elected Prime Minister in 1972, there hadn’t been a federal Labor government since 1949, when Ben Chifley was defeated. The infamous Labor Split fundamentally reshaped Australian politics, both nationally and in the states, especially in Victoria and Queensland.
In 1970 Robert Murray published ‘The Split’, a groundbreaking analysis of Labor in …

Books »

[24 May 2017 | 2 Comments | 37 views ]

MADNESS IN MANGOLAND
A book set in a fictitious Queensland that seems frighteningly familiar is up for the country’s only award for humour writing which is held every two years.
Local writer Ian McFadyen and Sydney-based historian and author, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, collaborated on GOING OUT BACKWARDS, which is subtitled A GRAFTON EVEREST ADVENTURE. It has been short-listed for the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing which is run by the State Library of New South Wales.
The book is set in Mangoland and in it the protagonist, the shambolic Dr Professor Grafton …