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Lyndon Megarrity

Lyndon Megarrity

Lyndon Megarrity is a Queensland historian and tertiary teacher. He is the author of Northern Dreams: The Politics of Northern Development in Australia (2018).

Lyndon Megarrity reviews ‘Behind the Exclusive Brethren’ by Michael Bachelard

November 2008, no. 306 01 October 2008
Behind the Exclusive Brethren is the story of a religious group that goes to extraordinary lengths to remain ‘apart from the world’ but whose very ‘unworldliness’ is maintained by very worldly means. Journalist Michael Bachelard’s readable and balanced account of the Exclusive Brethren in Australia is informed by a broad understanding of the church in its international context. In the c ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Weighing up Australian Values' by Brian Howe

September 2007, no. 294 01 September 2007
One of the major cliches of recent years is the retiring politician’s parting statement, ‘I’m leaving politics to spend more time with my family’. Indeed, the tensions between work and family commitments have become a regular topic in the media. Newspaper articles sometimes cite the views of prominent social scientists, whose academic publications affirm the popular view that society as a ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'They Called Him Old Smoothie' by Peter Golding

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
John Joseph Cahill (1891–1959) rose from humble beginnings as a railway worker to become the premier of New South Wales during the 1950s. Although more interested in listening to band music on the wireless than in anything approaching High Culture, he was nonetheless instrumental in championing the cause of the Sydney Opera House. Ordinary working people, he believed, were entitled to more than ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Advance Australia... Where? How we've changed, why we've changed, and what will happen next' by Hugh Mackay

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
Advance Australia … Where? is such an eye-catching pun on Australia’s national anthem that it is no wonder that it has been used, with slight variations, as the title of at least eight books and pamphlets since World War II. Such publications have tended to express an individual author’s vision for the nation. In contrast, the latest Advance Australia … Where?, written by Hugh Mackay, main ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Australian Historical Studies, vol. 37 no.127' edited by Joy Damousi and 'Australian Historical Studies, vol. 37 no.128' edited by Shurlee Swain and Stuart MacIntyre

February 2007, no. 288 01 February 2007
‘Nothing bad has ever happened in the last 218 years of European settlement – and if anything ever did, it has been inflated out of all proportion by self-serving lefty academics.’ The perpetually angry right-wing commentators that dominate the so-called ‘history wars’ would never write anything so crass, but that is the message which appears to permeate the ‘three cheers’ school of ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Operation Jungle' by John Shobbrook

June 2022, no. 443 22 February 2022
True crime books sell. Few of them, however, are as well written as this book. John Shobbrook’s Operation Jungle is one of the most entertaining and gripping memoirs of law enforcement in Queensland that has been published by the University of Queensland Press. It is set during Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s controversial premiership (1968–87). Nostalgically recalling a time before the internet and m ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Labor People: The stories of six true believers' by Chris Bowen

October 2021, no. 436 28 September 2021
Contemporary Australian parliamentarians tend to be focused firmly on the present. Speechwriters may liberally sprinkle the speeches of politicians with references to a political party’s golden past, but an MP’s sincerest interest in history often emerges when he or she gets around to publishing a memoir of their time in office. A politician’s autobiography is an exercise that encourages sel ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Trials and Transformations, 2001–2004: The Howard government, Volume III' edited by Tom Frame

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
Queensland MP Charles Porter’s book, The ‘Gut Feeling’ (1981), relates the story of former prime minister Billy Hughes being pressed in the 1940s to pass judgement on a Liberal Federal Council statement on an industrial issue. ‘No bloody good,’ he pronounced. ‘Not sufficiently ambiguous!’ If, as Hughes implied, ambiguity is a key virtue needed for political survival, then by 2001 the ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'The Manner of Their Going: Prime ministerial exits in Australia' by Norman Abjorensen

January–February 2020, no. 418 16 December 2019
How many of us would really want to be prime minister? The road to The Lodge is littered with depressing tales of ambitious politicians abandoning their friends, principles, and even their own authentic voice in order to secure the Top Job. Then, once you’ve fulfilled your life’s ambitions, voters and your own supporters are liable to tire of you and seek a new political hero. Nevertheless, pr ... (read more)

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Elections Matter: Ten federal elections that shaped Australia' edited by Benjamin T. Jones, Frank Bongiorno, and John Uhr

April 2019, no. 410 25 March 2019
The atmosphere among Australian electors lining up to cast a vote at a school, hall, or similar institution is generally relaxed and informal, a ‘vibe’ enhanced by the friendly banter of local party members handing out ‘How to Vote’ cards. But the casualness of the Australian way of voting cannot disguise the fundamental importance of each local, state, and federal poll. As the authors of ... (read more)
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