Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Sandra Hall

Phillip Knightley, Murray Sayle and other authors of the Daily Mirror’s historical feature used to relish their days sitting in the Sydney ‘public library’ researching and writing pieces on rape, pillage, sexual betrayal and murder most foul. Decades later, in the early 1990s, I began spending days sitting in what had become the State Library of New South Wales wading through yellowing copies of Sydney’s tabloid press. On one such day in the late 1990s, I stumbled across a card in a catalogue for an index to the Daily Mirror’s muckraking stablemate, Truth. The discovery or creation of a new newspaper index is always a thrill for media historians. I immediately submitted a call slip for the index, and up came a hefty ledger of alphabetical references to Truth for the late 1920s. Lodging more call slips, I ended up surrounded by ledgers ranging from 1925 to 1947. They were all handwritten, and presumably laboriously compiled by a librarian at Ezra Norton’s company, Truth & Sportsman Ltd. Who knows what went through the librarian’s mind as he or she indexed stories of divorce, rape, incest, prostitution, white slavery and cocaine rackets covered by one of Australia’s most notorious newspapers.

... (read more)

Out of Place by Jo Dutton & Beyond the Break by Sandra Hall

May 2006, no. 281

These are both second novels by previously successful authors. Each has an atmospheric sense of place and a dominant female figure. In Beyond the Break, it is the flamboyant and dangerous Irene. In Out of Place, the matriarch Eve, a postwar Italian migrant, keeps her family together through her insistence upon the traditions and the healing rituals of the old world, including especially the cooking.

... (read more)

Inland by Gerald Murnane

March 1988, no. 98

Some of the narrators of Gerald Murnane’s novels and stories tend to view oceans and coastlines with the fear and loathing of flat earth believers. Just the whiff of the sea breeze is enough to spoil the day for them, the grit and the glare of sun-touched sand distresses them and they speak with contempt of the ‘idiot noise’ of the sea and of those who swim and play in the waves and on the beaches. Seaside holidays, they imply, are for frivolous people stupidly turning a blind eye to the ocean’s treachery – its dark moods, its black holes, and its sinister capacity to gnaw at and dissolve something as solid as rock.

... (read more)