‘In God’s vineyard’

Writing to a prime minister
by
January–February 2022, no. 439
Buy this book

Dear Prime Minister: Letters to Robert Menzies, 1949–1966 by Martyn Lyons

UNSW Press, $39.99 pb, 272 pp

‘In God’s vineyard’

Writing to a prime minister
by
January–February 2022, no. 439
Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1956 (Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy)
Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1956 (Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy)

Letter writing thrives on distance. Out of necessity, in the early years of European settlement, Australia became a nation of letter writers. The remoteness of the island continent gave the letter a special importance. Even those unused to writing had so much to say, and such a strong need to hear from home, that the laborious business of pen and ink and the struggles with spelling were overcome. Early letters reflected the homesickness of settlers as well as their sense of achievement and their need to hold on to a former life. It’s possible to see the emergence of a democratic tradition of letter writing in those needful times. Rich or poor, well educated or semi-literate, they all felt the urge to connect.

Brenda Niall reviews 'Dear Prime Minister: Letters to Robert Menzies, 1949–1966' by Martyn Lyons

Dear Prime Minister: Letters to Robert Menzies, 1949–1966

by Martyn Lyons

UNSW Press, $39.99 pb, 272 pp

Buy this book

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.