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We speak with Christine Townend about her journey as a political activist for animal welfare, uncovering the motivation for her new book A Life for Animals. Townend also discusses the changes she has observed in society's attitude towards animal welfare within Australia and the major concerns she sees that still need to be addressed in this area.
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As a big fan of beetroot and all things plant-based, I was at first planning on trying one of the beetroot recipes from The Art of Living in Australia. Alas, none of the four beetroot dishes listed in the book attracted my interest. There is a recipe for beetroot and macaroni salad, two for some form of beetroot stew and mashed potatoes, and finally one for beetroot in white sauce. They all sounded somewhat bland, though they were probably quite exotic to the original audience of The Art of Living in Australia. Philip Muskett complains in the book about

the crude cookery which is bestowed on the ordinary vegetables at present in daily use. That there is any monotony in an endless recurrence of boiled potatoes, boiled cabbage, boiled this and boiled that, never seems to occur to the vast majority of people in this country, who seem incapable of understanding that these different vegetables are worthy of being served in an infinite number of ways. (pp.102–3)

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What do the Sydney Push, John Passmore and countless Sydney University alumni have in common? Apart from a love of books and ideas, they were all influenced by the outspoken and controversial Australian philosopher John Anderson (1893-1962). SUP is delighted to complete its series of Anderson’s lectures with the release of Art & Reality, the seventh and final volume collecting his unique approach to philosophy.

john anderson 1926 National archive.jpgJohn Anderson at the University of Sydney, c. 1926. National Library of Australia.

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Are some recipes best left to the annals of time? There's only one way to find out …

The finished product!

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Lyn McCredden's The Fiction of Tim Winton: Earthed and Sacred explores Winton's work from multiple angles. She considers his treatment of class, gender, place, transcendence and belonging, and shows how his engagement with these themes has deepened and changed over time. She also argues that he occupies a highly unusual place in the Australian literary landscape: he is a popular novelist who is also taken seriously by critics, and a religious man in a country that is often suspicious of religious faith. We talked to Lyn about these complexities and more.
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As well as recipes, The Art of Living in Australia contains wide-ranging and often entertaining advice on how to live well. Philip Muskett, a doctor, was appalled by the typical Australian lifestyle, lamenting that “Australia is inhabited by a people largely carnivorous and addicted to tea. Surely not one person in a thousand would advocate such a diet under any circumstances.”

Today’s lifestyle gurus often favour an indulgent, forgiving tone. Self-fulfillment is all. (“Surrender is a self-affirming act of personal responsibility”, to quote Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.com.) Not Philip Muskett. He is a man of clear and uncompromising standards:

Although there may be a certain proportion of people whom the cold bath does not benefit, yet I am fully convinced that the number is comparatively speaking small. A good many make the excuse that they cannot take it, while all the time laziness is the real trouble.

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Book cover

The Art of Living in Australia dates to 1893, and details everything the new colonist ought to understand about the rigours and habits of living in the great southern land. It covers everything from how often you should bathe and how to make toothpaste, to sustainable fishing practices and growing vegetables suitable for the climate.

Written by Philip E. Muskett, a physician, the book also contains over 300 recipes, contributed by Mrs H. Wicken, a Home Economics teacher at the Technical College, Sydney. The recipes include some wonderful gems, some great ideas for easy home cooking, and some that probably wouldn't win you a place on Masterchef.

All of this absolutely begs the question, how well do these recipes stand the test of time? Are these soups, fish and meat dishes, salads, vegetables and desserts of purely historical interest, or can they be successfully created in the 21st century home?

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Discussion about publishing and new books from Sydney University Press and University of Sydney authors
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