Hilary McPhee (ed.) with Ann Standish: Memoirs of a Young Bastard

Rampaging in Melbourne

John Thompson


Memoirs of a Young Bastard: The Diaries of Tim Burstall November 1953 to December 1954
edited by Hilary McPhee, with Ann Standish
Miegunyah Press, $59.99 hb, 368 pp, 9780522858143


With Tim Burstall’s death in 2004, Australia lost a key figure in the rebirth of a distinctive and energetic national film industry. While critics disdained his rough ocker populism, Burstall’s Stork (1971), Alvin Purple (1973), and Petersen (1974) were significant commercial successes and demonstrated the viability of a product willing to show Australians to themselves. Burstall argued that a film industry without artistic standards was undesirable, but that so too was an industry cut off from market considerations.

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Published in April 2012, no. 340
John Thompson

John Thompson

John Thompson is a historian and writer now living in Sydney after a long career at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. He holds a doctorate in history from the Australian National University and has written for various journals. He is a frequent reviewer for Australian Book Review. The author of The Patrician and the Bloke: Geoffrey Serle and the Making of Australian History (2006), he co-edited (with Brenda Niall) The Oxford Book of Australian Letters (1998). His anthology Documents that Shaped Australia was published in 2010.