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December 2009

Sydney in the 1950s was a place just starting to break free of the strictures of wartime rationing and conservative values. Strongly influenced by the teaching of University of Sydney philosopher John Anderson, the Sydney 'Push', together with the Libertarian Society, was among the front-runners in the search for freedom.

It was a group committed to discussing new philosophical ideas and opposing restrictions on political and sexual behaviour. Sydney University was one of the first bases for the Push, while later haunts were various caf├ęs and hotels in Sydney, including the Lincoln Coffee Lounge, and the Tudor, Royal George and Criterion hotels.

The emergence of this movement, which has left a lasting impact on Sydney's cultural and intellectual life today, is documented in a revealing new memoir by Richard Appleton, an early member of the Push, published by Sydney University Press.

Appleton, or 'Appo' as he was known, embraced the ideas of anti-authoritarianism and sexual freedom and experimented briefly with communism. The story of his life reveals some of the vast changes in Australian society over two thirds of the twentieth century.

Appo: recollections of a member of the Sydney Push is published by Darlington Press, an imprint of Sydney University Press. ISBN: 9781921364099

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