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Teacher for Justice »

Lucy Woodcock's Transnational Life

Publication date: 2019
‘Teacher for Justice is a major contribution to the history of the women’s movement, working‑class activism and Australian political internationalism. But it is more than this. By focusing on the life of Lucy Woodcock – an unrecognised and under-researched figure – this book rewrites the history of twentieth-century Australia from the perspective of an activist who challenged conventions to fight for gender, race and class equality, exploring the complex and multi-layered intersections of these aspects. It explores Woodcock’s personal relationships and the circles she mixed in and the friendships she forged, as well as the conventions she challenged as a single woman in possibly a same-sex relationship. The book makes a key contribution to the history of progressive education and the experience of women teachers. Above all, it charts the life of a transnational figure who made connections globally and, in particular, with refugees and with women in India and the Asian region. It is a detailed, thoroughly researched and richly textured history which places Woodcock within the context of the times in which she lived.’ Joy Damousi, Professor of History, University of Melbourne ‘Meet Lucy Woodcock, a complex, undaunted woman in a tough and changing world. From her role as a public school principal in Depression and wartime, to her union and feminist organising, to her transnational engagements for peace, this clear and thoughtful book brings to life forgotten forms of activism. It’s the gripping story of how Lucy navigated the minefields of gender, class, race and coloniality to change her world.’ Raewyn Connell, Professor Emerita, University of Sydney ‘Just over a century ago, the last of the pupil-teachers, Lucy Woodcock, co-founded the NSW Teachers Federation. So many of the principles and traditions that underpin our union today can be traced back to the lifelong work of Lucy Woodcock. She fought for the industrial rights of teachers deep in the knowledge of the broader social and economic context in which she lived and worked. Too often the role of working-class women whose influence is profound is ignored. This biography installs Lucy Woodcock into her rightful place as pivotal player in the history of twentieth-century Australia.’ Maurie Mulheron, President, NSW Teachers Federation ‘A fascinating history of a fascinating woman: Lucy’s interests were so broad and so modern – equal pay, racism, internationalism, Indigenous rights and anti-war struggles were all part of Lucy’s world. She had a vision beyond nationalism, championed the cause of world peace when peace was being treated as a dirty word and saw women as global citizens. Lucy was one of the heroes of our disgracefully unfinished Equal Pay struggle.’ Hon Dr Meredith Burgmann, anti-racism and peace activist, former President of the NSW Legislative Council

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Dictionary of World Biography »

Sixth edition

Authored by: Barry Jones
Publication date: May 2019
Jones, Barry Owen (1932– ). Australian politician, writer and lawyer, born in Geelong. Educated at Melbourne University, he was a public servant, high school teacher, television and radio performer, university lecturer and lawyer before serving as a Labor MP in the Victorian Parliament 1972–77 and the Australian House of Representatives 1977–98. He took a leading role in reviving the Australian film industry, abolishing the death penalty in Australia, and was the first politician to raise public awareness of global warming, the ‘post-industrial’ society, the IT revolution, biotechnology, the rise of ‘the Third Age’ and the need to preserve Antarctica as a wilderness. In the Hawke Government, he was Minister for Science 1983–90, Prices and Consumer Affairs 1987, Small Business 1987–90 and Customs 1988–90. He became a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO, Paris 1991–95 and National President of the Australian Labor Party 1992–2000, 2005–06. He was Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Convention 1998. His books include Decades of Decision 1860– (1965), Joseph II (1968), Age of Apocalypse (1975), and he edited The Penalty is Death (1968). Sleepers, Wake!: Technology and the Future of Work was published by Oxford University Press in 1982, became a bestseller and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish and braille. The fourth edition was published in 1995. Knowledge Courage Leadership, a collection of speeches and essays, appeared in 2016. He received a DSc for his services to science in 1988 and a DLitt in 1993 for his work on information theory. Elected FTSE (1992), FAHA (1993), FAA (1996) and FASSA (2003), he is the only person to have become a Fellow of four of Australia’s five learned Academies. Awarded an AO in 1993, named as one of Australia’s 100 ‘living national treasures’ in 1998, he was elected a Visiting Fellow Commoner of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1999. His autobiography, A Thinking Reed, was published in 2006 and The Shock of Recognition, about music and literature, in 2016. In 2014 he received an AC for services ‘as a leading intellectual in Australian public life.

‘True Biographies of Nations?’ »

The Cultural Journeys of Dictionaries of National Biography

Edited by: Karen Fox
Publication date: April 2019
Dictionaries of national biography are a long-established and significant genre of biographical and historical writing, existing in many forms across the globe. This book brings together practitioners from around the English‑speaking world to reflect on national biographical dictionary projects’ recent cultural journeys, and the challenges presented to them by such developments as the transition to a digital environment, a new alertness to the need to represent diversity, and the rise of transnationalism. Exploring their paths forward, the chapters of this book collectively make a powerful argument for the continued value and importance of large‑scale collaborative biographical dictionary research.

Also Innovators »

How one computer salesman contributed to the digital revolution

Publication date: April 2019
‘Thank you for your order, Mr Mainframe Customer. The cost is £5 million and the lead-time for manufacture will be two years. In the meantime you will have to build a special computer centre to our specification. For our part, our project team will help you recruit and train potential programmers and we shall advise on how you might use the system.’ How different from today when the customer will want to see a specific application running before he puts a hand in his/her pocket. Chris Yardley lived the changes as a computer salesman and tells his story of a career living and working in five countries. Warts and all. The ecstasies, the heartbreaks and idiocies of major corporations.  His career was not a planned one. In a growing industry, opportunities presented themselves and Chris believes he grasped every one presented. Having written his story, he has had every chapter verified by at least one person who features in that narrative. His respondents have universally endorsed the facts with comments such as ‘Wow, I’d forgotten most of that’. ‘You have a fantastic memory.’ ‘I never knew before the full facts of what happened.’ ‘How have you remembered all the circumstances?’ ‘It really is a people business.’ This is the only book that has followed a computer sales career over almost 50 years.

A Doctor Across Borders »

Raphael Cilento and public health from empire to the United Nations

Publication date: February 2019
In his day, Raphael Cilento was one of the most prominent and controversial figures in Australian medicine. As a senior medical officer in the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, he was an active participant in public health reform during the inter-war years and is best known for his vocal engagement with public discourse on the relationship between hygiene, race and Australian nationhood. Yet Cilento’s work on tropical hygiene and social welfare ranged beyond Australia, especially when he served as a colonial medical officer in British Malaya and in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. He also worked with the League of Nations Health Organization in the Pacific Islands and oversaw international social welfare programs for the United Nations. On one level, this professional mobility allowed ideas and practices of public health and government to circulate between colonial spaces of northern Australia, the Pacific Islands and Asia. On another, it meant that Cilento’s Pacific colonialism and colonial experience shaped his understanding of Australian national health and welfare. Rather than attempt a comprehensive biography of Cilento, this book instead uses this border-crossing career as a means to explore several material and discursive facets of Australia’s relationships to the Pacific and the world.

Rosalie Gascoigne »

A Catalogue Raisonné

Authored by: Martin Gascoigne
Publication date: 2019
Rosalie Gascoigne (1917–1999) was a highly regarded Australian artist whose assemblages of found materials embraced landscape, still life, minimalism, arte povera and installations. She was 57 when she had her first exhibition. Behind this late coming-out lay a long and unusual preparation in looking at nature for its aesthetic qualities, collecting found objects, making flower arrangements and practising ikebana. Her art found an appreciative audience from the start. She was a people person, and it pleased her that through her exhibiting career of 25 years, her works were acquired by people of all ages, interests and backgrounds, as well as by the major public institutions on both sides of the Tasman Sea. In the media Read the ANU Reporter article: Art in road signs.

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Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 1, 2018 »

Publication date: December 2018
In this first issue, a diverse range of essays primarily relates to questions of individuals and the contexts in which they functioned, the ‘middle ground’ between a life and the times. Four of them concern Australian women who operated and negotiated various fields of endeavour, only one of which—the role of headmistress of a girls’ school—was unambiguously a woman’s domain. The profile of Miss Annie Hughston (1859–1943) shows how a strong figure could have a disproportionate influence on women entering male bastions. Similarly, Nancy Atkinson, a pioneering bacteriologist at the University of Adelaide, was not only a scientific researcher of note but a teacher of generations of graduate students. Yet when the chair in her field finally became available, she was overlooked in favour of a male English import, despite having acted in the role for many years. She was valued it seems more for her teaching than her research, a classic tendency to ascribe to women in scientific circles a nurturing rather than a knowledge-creating function. Jean Andruana Jimmy (1912–1991), a Yupngayth woman from Mapoon in north Queensland, also became prominent in community leadership and land rights activism, areas that had been assumed to be male spheres. Yet leading her community was by no means as revolutionary as was often assumed by outside European observers, for Andruana saw herself resuming a role that was entirely consistent with women’s responsibilities. Sophie Scott-Brown’s portrait of the playwright and director Eunice Hangar examines the nature of reading as ‘a simultaneously social and individualistic activity’ and its implications for understanding the way Australians have read English writers. The article on the nineteenth-century journalist and gold commissioner Fredrick Dalton explores the potential of nineteenth-century mobilities in the formation of identity. Karen Fox explores how family history, in this case the Stephen and Street ‘legal dynasty’, can illuminate an understanding of legal and power relations in a geographic setting. The article on André Kostermans, a renowned Dutch Indonesian botanist, is also on one level a story of shifting identity. Born in the Dutch East Indies, and trained in botany in Holland, Kostermans was interned by the Japanese during World War II, and used his skills to supplement the diet of his fellow prisoners of war, and to develop a ‘bush’ procedure for producing surgical-grade alcohol, actions that undoubtedly saved the lives of many. After the war, his career was almost ruined by the Indonesian government’s response to his homosexuality. In the final essay, the University of Xian scholar Tiping Su discusses the problem of the ‘missing’ Chinese in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, explaining the various issues in identifying and historicising the many Chinese who sojourned in Australia, as well as those who stayed.

The Lives of Stories »

Three Aboriginal-Settler Friendships

Authored by: Emma Dortins
Publication date: December 2018
The Lives of Stories traces three stories of Aboriginal–settler friendships that intersect with the ways in which Australians remember founding national stories, build narratives for cultural revival, and work on reconciliation and self-determination. These three stories, which are still being told with creativity and commitment by storytellers today, are the story of James Morrill’s adoption by Birri-Gubba people and re-adoption 17 years later into the new colony of Queensland, the story of Bennelong and his relationship with Governor Phillip and the Sydney colonists, and the story of friendship between Wiradjuri leader Windradyne and the Suttor family. Each is an intimate story about people involved in relationships of goodwill, care, adoptive kinship and mutual learning across cultures, and the strains of maintaining or relinquishing these bonds as they took part in the larger events that signified the colonisation of Aboriginal lands by the British. Each is a story in which cross-cultural understanding and misunderstanding are deeply embedded, and in which the act of storytelling itself has always been an engagement in cross-cultural relations. The Lives of Stories reflects on the nature of story as part of our cultural inheritance, and seeks to engage the reader in becoming more conscious of our own effect as history-makers as we retell old stories with new meanings in the present, and pass them on to new generations.

Carl Strehlow’s 1909 Comparative Heritage Dictionary »

An Aranda, German, Loritja and Dieri to English Dictionary with Introductory Essays

Edited by: Anna Kenny
Publication date: August 2018
Carl Strehlow’s comparative dictionary manuscript is a unique item of Australian cultural heritage; it is a large collection of circa 7,600 Aranda, 6,800 Loritja (Luritja) and 1,200 Dieri to German entries compiled at the beginning of the twentieth century at the Hermannsburg Mission in central Australia. It is an integral part of Strehlow’s ethnographic work on Aboriginal cultures that his German editor Baron Moritz von Leonhardi published as Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien (Strehlow 1907–1920) in Frankfurt. Strehlow and his editor had planned to publish a language study that included this comparative dictionary, but it remained unpublished until now due to a number of complicated historical and personal circumstances of the main characters involved with the dictionary. Strehlow’s linguistic work is historically and anthropologically significant because it probably represents the largest and most comprehensive wordlist of Indigenous languages compiled in Australia during the early stages of contact. It is an important primary source for Luritja and Aranda speakers. Both languages are spoken in homes and taught in schools in central Australia. The reasons for presenting this work as a heritage dictionary—that is, as an exact transcription of the original form of the handwritten manuscript—are to follow the Western Aranda people’s wishes and to maintain its historical authenticity, which will prove to be of great use to both Indigenous people and scholars interested in language.

Clio’s Lives »

Biographies and Autobiographies of Historians

Publication date: October 2017
Including contributions from leading scholars in the field from both Australia and North America, this collection explores diverse approaches to writing the lives of historians and ways of assessing the importance of doing so. Beginning with the writing of autobiographies by historians, the volume then turns to biographical studies, both of historians whose writings were in some sense nation-defining and those who may be regarded as having had a major influence on defining the discipline of history. The final section explores elements of collective biography, linking these to the formation of historical networks. A concluding essay by Barbara Caine offers a critical appraisal of the study of historians’ biographies and autobiographies to date, and maps out likely new directions for future work. Clio’s Lives is a very good scholarly collection that advances the study of autobiography and biography within the writing of history itself, taking theoretical questions in significant new directions. The contributors are well known and highly respected in the history profession and write with an insight and intellectual energy that will ensure the book has considerable impact. They examine cutting-edge issues about the writing of history at the personal level through autobiography and biography in diverse and innovative ways. Together the writers have provided reflective chapters that will be widely read for their impressive theoretical advances as well as being inspirational for new entrants to the disciplinary area. — Patricia Grimshaw, University of Melbourne Clio’s Lives brings together a most interesting and varied cast of contributors. Its chapters contain sophisticated and well-penned ruminations on the uses of biography and autobiography among historians. These are clearly connected with the general themes of the volume. This delightfully mixed bag makes very good reading and, as well, will serve as a substantial contribution to the study of the biography and autobiography. — Eric Richards, Flinders University