The Rush that Never Ended: A history of Australian mining, fifth edition
MUP, $44.95 pb, 464 pp
The Fuss that Never Ended: The life and work of Geoffrey Blainey
edited by Deborah Gare et al.
MUP, $39.95 pb, 240 pp
‘He looks a bit like Marty Feldman with two good eyes.’ So wrote a journalist of Geoffrey Blainey in 1977. In The Fuss That Never Ended, a collection of essays on Blainey arising out of a Melbourne symposium, Bridget Griffen-Foley no less irreverently compares the historian to a character played by Steven Seagal in a movie she saw on television – not because he shares Seagal’s ‘fake tan, ponytail, high-pitched voice, rippling muscles, kickboxing prowess or lurid, technicolour knee-length leather coat’, but because of his ‘style of investigation’ as a young historian. Blainey, she suggests, was neither bookworm nor archive rat. He went into the field, spoke to real people, visited historical sites. His work even helped his first employer, the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, to exploit long-forgotten mineral deposits. Since producing his history of that company in his early twenties, he has been Australia’s leading mining historian, and one of that industry’s staunchest defenders. It has probably been easier for most people to swallow Blainey’s historical and economic arguments in favour of mining than Hugh Morgan’s biblical ones.