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John Arnold

The most recent edition of La Trobe Journal is an exploration of Melbourne’s gay and lesbian past. Amusingly titled Queen City of the South, it investigates an aspect of this city’s history that has frequently been overlooked or ‘hidden’. In the Introduction, guest editor Graham Willett argues that the compilation will help bring to light ‘striking stories and deep insights’ about the ‘sexual subcultures’ of Melbourne. These ‘stories’ will enrich not only our understanding of the city’s history, but also the history of homosexuality in Australia. There are essays on gay male networks in Melbourne during the interwar years, the gay liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the queer presence in our museums, and the (in)visibility of homosexuality in the Australian Communist Party.

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This special issue of La Trobe Journal is guest edited by Lynette Russell from Monash University, and John Arnold, the Journal’s new general editor (since No. 82). Titled Indigenous Victorians: Repressed, Resourceful and Respected, it showcases new historical scholarship that draws on the State Library of Victoria’s unrivalled collections. Topics covered in the twelve essays are diverse: Aboriginal guides to the Victorian goldfields, fisheries in western Victoria, cricketers at Coranderrk, Lake Tyers Aboriginal settlement, the Victorian Aboriginal Advancement League, and government legislation relating to Aboriginal Victorians, among others.

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In what now seems to be the vanished country of the early years of my career, begun in the State Library of Victoria in the 1970s, I vividly remember John Arnold enthusing about his interest in the polymath Jack Lindsay (1900–90), son of Norman (another polymath) and one of the founders of the short-lived but gorgeously named Fanfrolico Press, whose legacy of fine books excited the keen interest of collectors. I was impressed that my precocious younger colleague had devoured Jack Lindsay’s three volumes of autobiography and had entered into an admiring correspondence with a man who in his Australian youth had found himself possessed by the written word.

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The La Trobe Library Journal began life in 1968 as a modest, even dowdy sixteen-pager produced by the Friends of the (still very new) La Trobe Library. Its purpose was to publicise the Library and its holdings. For the first decade of its existence, the journal was edited by that quiet achiever of Australian letters, Geoffrey Serle. Over the following twenty years it was edited, and largely written, by a succession of librarians, high-lighting not only the riches of the Library’s collections but also the calibre of its staff.

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Since its initial publication in 1906, Who’s Who in Australia has dominated the market for contemporary biographical information in Australia. Founded by Fred Johns, an Adelaide journalist and Hansard reporter, it began as Johns’s Notable Australians, changed to Fred Johns’s Annual, became the Who’s Who in the Commonwealth of Australia for the sixth edition in 1922 and settled on its current name in 1927. After Johns died in 1932, the publication was taken over by the Herald and Weekly Times, and Who’s Who was issued every three years from 1935 to 1991.

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The World of Norman Lindsay edited by Lin Bloomfield & A Letter From Sydney edited by John Arnold

October 1983, no. 55

The World of Norman Lindsay is compiled by Lin Bloomfield, proprietor of the Bloomfield Galleries in Paddington, NSW, and an authority on Lindsay’s work. It was first published more expensively in 1979. This elegant paperback will make it widely accessible, which is a matter for satisfaction. It contains comprehensive, short, expert articles about Lindsay’s life and achievements as an artist and the reminiscences of Lindsay’s children, grandchildren, models, friends, and colleagues. Good illustrations, some in colour, cover every era of his works in all their variety, and the book also includes photographs of people and places.

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