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John Arnold

John Arnold

John Arnold recently retired from Monash University after twenty-three years with the National Centre for Australian Studies. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash. He was the co-editor (with John Hay) of the four-volume Bibliography of Australian Literature (2001–08) and author of The Fanfrolico Press: Satyrs, Fauns and Fine Books (2008). He edits the La Trobe Journal.

John Arnold reviews 'Pride of Place: Exploring the Grimwade Collection' edited by Alisa Bunbury

August 2021, no. 434 26 July 2021
Pride of Place describes in detail a selection of the outstanding collection of Australian books, paintings, photographs, and prints that Russell and Mabel Grimwade donated to the University of Melbourne. The main focus is on Russell, but they were clearly a team with shared interests in Australian native trees and plants and the European history of Australia. Russell Grimwade was born in 1879, l ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Who’s Who in Australia 1998' researched by Maryanne Neto

February–March 1998, no. 198 01 February 1998
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 curre ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'The People’s Force: A History of Victoria Police' by Robert Haldane

May 2018, no. 401 03 April 2018
Australians tend to have an ambivalent attitude to their respective police forces. We automatically expect that they will be there in an emergency. We share their grief when one of their number is killed while on duty, yet we regard Ned Kelly as a folk hero, even though he was responsible for the murder of three policemen in 1878. Many of us are affected either directly or indirectly by serious ro ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'La Trobe: Traveller, writer, governor' by John Barnes

January–February 2018, no. 398 06 December 2017
Victorians know the name La Trobe through the eponymous university, La Trobe Street in the city of Melbourne, and the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland. Tasmanians are familiar with the town of Latrobe in the north-west of their state. But how many are aware that all the above were named after Charles Joseph La Trobe, the first superintendent of the European settlement of Port Phillip, one-time acting g ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Up Came a Squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839–1880' by Maggie Black

January–February 2017, no. 388 19 December 2016
At the launch of Up Came a Squatter, Geoffrey Blainey reflected on how important the wool industry was to Australia for more than a hundred years. He noted that forty or fifty years ago you would not have bothered to mention the fact: it was as understood as the vagaries of Melbourne’s weather. Now wool is not even among Australia’s twenty top exports. Many of those present listening to Blaine ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'The Vagabond Papers' by John Stanley James

September 2016, no. 384 24 August 2016
In March 2016 the Royal Historical Society of Victoria hosted a function to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Michael Cannon's The Land Boomers, first issued in 1966 and several times since. The various speakers paid tribute to Cannon's work as a freelance historian and editor whose many books provided fresh and accessible insights into nineteenth-century Australian life. ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Passions of a mighty heart: The selected letters of G.W.L. Marshall-Hall' edited by Suzanne Robinson

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
George Marshall-Hall was a towering figure both physically and intellectually in Melbourne in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth. Standing six-foot-three in his socks, the English-born and -educated musician was appointed the inaugural Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne in 1890. Following his arrival from London, he soon made friends with ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Blockbuster' by Lucy Sussex

September 2015, no. 374 26 August 2015
In Blockbuster! Lucy Sussex deftly relates the story of Fergus Hume and his great Melbourne detective novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. First published in 1886, it has never been out of print and has been translated into many languages and adapted for the theatre. There have been three silent film treatments (all sadly lost), and also an ABC telemovie. Yet despite its fame and longevity, the sto ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Furphies and Whizz-Bangs: ANZAC slang from the Great War' by Amanda Laugesen

March 2015, no. 369 02 March 2015
The Great War produced its own idiom and slang. Many of the new words and phrases created during the long conflict, such as ‘tank’ and ‘barrage’, became part of standard English, although often with a different nuance of meaning. The recording of Australian soldier slang was seen as important at the end of the war. It was recognised as being integral to the unique character of the Austral ... (read more)

John Arnold reviews 'Walter Lindesay Richardson MD: A Victorian Seeker' by Bruce Steele

April 2013, no. 350 25 March 2013
Helen Garner, speaking about Nora, the main character in her iconic novel Monkey Grip (1977), once said that, although she had seen and experienced many of the things that had happened to Nora, she was not Nora. In a similar vein, Bruce Steele argues in this short biography of Walter Lindesay Richardson that although there are many similarities between the lives of Richardson and Richard Mahony, t ... (read more)
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