Geoffrey Bolton

When John Hirst accepted the challenge of writing a history of Federation of scholarly quality but fit for a broad popular readership, he may have felt himself on a hiding to nothing. Previous historians have succeeded in convincing Australians that the story of the making of the Australian Commonweal this at best dull. Who wants to know about a collection of hirsute, largely overweight and overdressed middle-class politicians arguing about the nexus between the Senate and the House of Representatives?

Unlike the Americans, we did not begin with a ringing declaration of independence from Mother England. Unlike the French Revolution, we offer no images of impassioned crowds storming Pentridge. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is no substitute for the Marseillaise. Unlike the old Soviet Union, our constitution contains no mission statement of community values and aspirations, and some, such as Don Watson, argue that we are the poorer for it.

... (read more)

When John Hirst accepted the challenge of writing a history of Federation of scholarly quality but fit for a broad popular readership, he may have felt himself on a hiding to nothing. Previous historians have succeeded in convincing Australians that the story of the making of the Australian Commonwealth is at best dull.

... (read more)

Traditional academic festschrifts often lack coherence and consistency, especially when the honorand’s former students and colleagues, as more or less duty-bound contributors, share little in common beyond that association ...

... (read more)

Robert Porter reviews 'Paul Hasluck' by Geoffrey Bolton

Robert Porter
Monday, 02 March 2015

Geoffrey Bolton has written a fine biography of one of Australia’s eminent sons, one not well recognised or widely remembered. Paul Meernaa Caedwalla Hasluck was born in Western Australia in 1905 and rose to become an accomplished journalist, a historian, public servant and diplomat, a minister of Parliament in the Menzies era, contender and possibly logical succe ...