Essays and Commentary

David Collis on building equity among Australian schools

David Collis
25 October 2012
I’ve never looked at a big independent school in an established suburb and thought ‘that’s not fair’ … I look at a big independent school in an established suburb and think ‘that’s a great example’.
Julia Gillard

If Julia Gillard were to drive past the main campus of the Methodist Ladies’ College (MLC), a big ... More

Now They've Gone

Colin Nettelbeck
24 October 2012
An imperfectly remembered life is a useless treachery.
Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna

When my American mother-in-law died, the world financial markets went into a tail-spin. Melba was her name; her own mother, who migrated from Italy to New England in the late nineteenth century, was an oper ... More

'AustLit coming your way' by Kerry Kilner

Kerry Kilner
24 October 2012

After twelve years of building a vast online database of information about Australian literary culture, the consortium of universities responsible for the AustLit resource has decided that it is time for a major makeover. By the end of the year, AustLit will have a new look and will offer new ways of interacting with audience ... More

Jennifer Lindsay's essay: 'Man on the Margins'

Jennifer Lindsay
26 September 2012

‘If Indonesia were a person,’ a good friend in Jakarta said to me, ‘it would be Goenawan.’ I know what she means. There is nothing black and white about him. He is a complex man, multi-faceted, charming and exasperating, full of conviction and contradiction, at once deeply patriotic and critical of his nation (which was born just five years after he was), so ... More

Jane Goodall: Remembering Robert Hughes (1938–2012)

Jane Goodall
30 August 2012

When Gore Vidal died a few weeks ago, his publisher issued a statement calling him the last survivor of a postwar crop of American literary giants. ‘It is hard to think of another … who cut as dashing and visible a figure in various public realms,’ said Vidal’s Doubleday editor, Gerald Howard. Less than a week later the obituary columns were taken over by ju ... More

Remembering Peter Steele

Kate Middleton
04 July 2012

Bricks, knowledge, gravity

 

‘I just read a history of bricks.’

 

We learn about the ways our teachers have influenced us over many years. As an undergraduate student at the University of Melbourne, I took every class taught by Professor Peter Steele SJ. More than a decade after I first ... More

'Patrick White in Adelaide' by David Marr

David Marr
24 April 2012

By the time I found him twenty-five years ago in the Adelaide Hills, Glen McBride was old, tiny, spry, and ready to boast about his career. I doubt many readers have heard of this little man or know of his pivotal role in the literature of this country. That’s what had me knocking at his door. And though he disowned none of it in the hours we spent ranging over hi ... More

'Landmines in lexicography' by Sarah Ogilvie

Sarah Ogilvie
23 April 2012

When the ALP conference voted to amend the party platform on same-sex marriage at the end of last year, there was a flurry of debate in magazines, newspapers, and online. The platform now states: ‘Labor will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all adult couples irrespective of sex who have a mutual commitment to a shared life.’ For lexicographers, thi ... More

'Parasitic dictionaries and spam books' by Sarah Ogilvie

Sarah Ogilvie
21 March 2012

A few years ago, Peter Austin and David Nathan, two Australian linguists working at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London, discovered that their dictionary of Kamilaroi, an Aboriginal language of New South Wales, was for sale on Amazon. The only problem was that they had not put it there and it had someone else’s name on it. Philip M. Parker, having found their Kamilaroi/Ga ... More

'Pushing against the dark: Writing about the hidden self' by Robert Dessaix (2011 Seymour Biography Lecture)

Robert Dessaix
20 March 2012

If you’re a theatregoer, then somewhere along the line you’re bound to have seen The Government Inspector, Nikolai Gogol’s comedy about a rapacious nobody being mistaken for a government official by the citizens of a nameless provincial backwater. (They too are nobodies, greedy to be somebodies.) You might remember (since it’s a line that will ... More

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