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Happy World Hippo Day! To celebrate our hippo love, here are some of our favourite hippos on the internet, real and otherwise. You can read about them all and many more wonderful, strange, endlessly fascinating hippos in Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London by John Simons.

As well as telling the story of one hippopotamus, Simons considers how hippos and other "exotic" animals have been seen and treated in Europe through the centuries, and how this shifted during the Victorian era.


This is an edited extract from Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London, by John Simons

What is remarkable about Obaysch was that he was the first live hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) to be seen in England since Roman times. Indeed, he was the first live hippo to be seen in Europe since the end of the Roman Empire.

There had once been plenty of hippos in Britain. During the second inter-glacial period, which ended about 125,000 years ago, they ranged across the island inhabiting an environment sustained by climactic conditions roughly equivalent to those of modern day Africa and enjoying co-existence with many other animals that we now think of as exclusively African. Perhaps less enjoyably – as the size and strength of hippos make them more or less immune to predators once they reach maturity – they co-existed with the humans who were also enjoying the warm climate and who retreated south, keeping ahead of the ice as it inexorably covered the savannahs of lowland Scotland and the tropical forests of Middlesex. Hippos make good eating and hippo bones are not uncommon finds. Stand in Trafalgar Square, for example, and you are standing where hippos once wallowed. Catch a train from Charing Cross and a few feet beneath the platform will be the remnants of a landscape that was once rich in hippos.1

Obaysch painted by Joseph Wolf in 1850, based on sketches sent from Egypt by Charles Murray. The painting shows how relatively small Obaysch was at the time of his capture, and reproduces the complex tones of Obaysch's skin.


The following is a transcript of a talk given by Prof. Dick Bryan at the launch of Risking Together: How Finance Is Dominating Everyday Life in Australia by Dick Bryan and Mike Rafferty on 29 June 2018. The cartoons by Amelyn Ng were inspired by Dick and Mike’s paper titled ‘Political Economy and Housing in the Twenty-first Century – from Mobile Homes to Liquid Housing?’ published in Housing, Theory and Society (2014).
Household financialisation cartoon by Amelyn Ng

This is the third book Mike and I have written together. The previous one, Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital and Class, was a significant turning point for us. It pointed to a politics around finance but we really couldn’t frame how that politics might develop. It was too hard to see. Since then, developing that politics has been our focus.

That earlier book got an interesting response. People in the crypto-token world, I’ve now found out, seem to love it. Our classical Marxist comrades are indifferent to hostile.


The following is a transcript of a talk given by Prof. Lisa Adkins at the launch of Risking Together: How Finance Is Dominating Everyday Life in Australia by Dick Bryan and Mike Rafferty on 29 June 2018.

Photo of Prof. Lisa Atkins by Andy Roberts

First of all I’d like to congratulate Dick and Mike on their wonderful achievement and say that it is a great honour for me to be involved in the launch of the book.

What makes Risking Together such a great book?

It brings together Dick Bryan’s and Mike Rafferty’s work on finance and society that many of us have had the pleasure of hearing about in papers and presentations over recent years. But Risking Together is more than just a gathering of this recent work. It presents a compelling argument about how finance is implicated in major social changes that have taken place in Australia over the past 30 to 40 years. As this suggests, one of the many virtues of this book is that it is as much a work of sociology as it is of political economy. But unlike most sociological accounts, Bryan and Rafferty place finance at the very heart of social change. In fact, they argue that to understand the ways in which Australian society has changed we need to ‘think like finance’. In other words, to understand society now we need to understand the dynamics and operations of finance.


We speak with David Thomas, author of The Ebb and Flow of the Ghurid Empire, about his interest in the archaeology of Afghanistan, digging robber holes and the future of archaeology.


What sparked your interest in archaeology?

Travelling across Europe as a kid with my parents – we visited a lot of great museums. One year, they gave me a book called Archaeology of the World by Courtlandt Canby, which has a picture of Machu Picchu on the front cover – I was hooked after reading that.


It has been quiet on this blog recently, but not in the SUP office. We've been busy planning for 2018, steering assorted books through editorial and production -- and launching some exciting new releases.

Simon Chapman (left) and First Dog on the Moon (aka Andrew Marlton) sign books and cartoons at the launch of Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Communicated Disease.


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.


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.


Smoke Signals: Selected Writings by Simon Chapman
Smoke Signals: Selected Writings

The following is a transcript of a talk given by Melissa Sweet at the launch of Smoke Signals: Selected Writings by Simon Chapman on the 1 December 2016.

I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet; the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. I also acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues here tonight.

I would also like to acknowledge the long traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and practices, which become ever-more important with the many public health challenges the world faces.

We are here tonight to honour the work of one of this University’s most prolific and relentless academics, who, despite his considerable intellectual and professional achievements, apparently has a very poor grasp of the meaning of simple concepts – like “retirement”.


Animal Welfare in Australia: Politics and Policy by Dr Peter John Chen
Animal Welfare in Australia: Politics and Policy

We speak with Dr Peter Chen about the motivations behind his new title, Animal Welfare in Australia: Politics and Policy, the treatment of pets versus non-companion animals, the societal "meme" of meat-eating, as well as the recent ban on greyhound racing and its subsequent un-banning.


Lion tamer Claire Heliot poses with her arm draped over a lion's mane
Lion tamer Claire Heliot (author's collection)

We talk to Peta Tait, author of Fighting nature, about animal performers, opportunistic showmen, and the particular challenges and excitements of working with theatrical ephemera.


A female lion-tamer in Victorian dress stands in front of five lions perched on pedestals
Lion tamer Madame Pianka (Charlotte Bishop) poses with five lions in a publicity photograph, circa 1902.

It’s always a thrill to receive a new book from the printer, and we’re particularly excited about this new release, the latest in our Animal Publics series. In Fighting nature: travelling menageries, animal acts and war shows, Peta Tait reveals the captivating and sometimes disturbing history of animal performances in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Travelling menageries became widespread in Europe, Britain and the USA during the nineteenth century. Some acts featured elaborate military re-enactments, real and simulated violence, and nationalistic displays of pomp and ceremony. They also had a knack for attracting controversy. Female lion tamers, and acts that involved a tamer putting his or her head into a lion’s mouth, proved particularly scandalous, especially in the colonies in Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa. In this edited extract, Peta Tait describes how feeding displays played a central part in these performances, and how spectators responded to them with a mixture of fascination and disgust.


At night, coloured lanterns decorate a wire fence
Photo by Hannah McFarlane

Inspired by Gardens of History and Imagination, we at SUP decided to compare notes about our gardening adventures. We'd love to hear your stories, too (head over to our Facebook page to share your garden-making pictures, and for a chance to win a copy of the book!). Even within the SUP team we discovered a surprising diversity of gardens, from coastal balconies to bushland plots. Here's a little more about how our gardens grow ...


What was the inspiration behind your chapter in the Gardens of History and Imagination?

My growing fondness for, and fascination with, harbourside gardens inspired my chapter, ‘Riverine Gardens of Sydney Waterways’. These properties did not simply look out at the water; they deliberately incorporated their harbour views into their landscapes, and were themselves designed to be seen from the water.

Pavilion at Riverview, photo by Stuart Read
Pavilion at Riverview, photo by Stuart Read


Are you a keen gardener?

“Dig for victory” – and so, like many others in my family I did. Lawn was sacrificed to rows of runner beans, carrots and lettuces. Behind them all was the mess that ducks, and later hens, produced. We kept the roses for the hips and grew edible flowers like nasturtiums as well as mint, parsley and thyme. But it was all very unstable – no certainty that one would still be there to reap what one had sown as even civilians were directed hither and yon. What fascinated the child that I was, was how things grew. You took a boring-looking, blackish pip and put it in the ground. You watered it and waited and after a time the earth above it was broken by a greenish something and if you sheltered this from the birds and the squirrels it turned into a plant – and one lump grew into a bean plant and another into a carrot. I have never lost this sense of wonder even though I am amongst the world’s worst gardeners – give me a flourishing plant and it is likely to die in my hands. As I grew, I came to wonder where all these different seeds came from and how they were brought together, how long people had nurtured them and where they had found them.

Spring flowers outside the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, photo by Sybil Jack
Spring flowers outside the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, photo by Sybil Jack


Wisteria walk
Wisteria walk, photo by Gretchen Poiner

By Gretchen Poiner

Seemingly quite straightforward questions about gardens and garden-making give rise to complicated answers. Perhaps this is because garden-making is, in itself, a complex undertaking. Even the question ‘why does any one person seek to create a garden?’ is likely to elicit a number of responses. But SUP has asked those of us who contributed to Gardens of History and Imagination to write a few words about how we, as individuals, feel about gardens. Unsurprisingly mine circle about ‘Rosehill’, a garden that I, and my family, have made. I think that the property was named in optimism by the wife of an early selector; four rose bushes constituted the sum total of the garden she tended in her isolation. Gnarled and distorted they continue to bloom, reminding me of the significance they must have had for her.



The following is an edited version of a speech given by Peter Watts AM at the launch of Gardens of history and imagination: growing New South Wales, published by Sydney University Press, on 23 June 2016 at the Mitchell Library, Sydney.

Thank you for inviting me here tonight to launch this really wonderful book. It’s a book with multiple themes, multiple authors and multiple ideas – all of them fascinating and full of new information.

But first I have to give you the context for doing this launch tonight.

I had hung up my hat on doing openings and launches some years back. I had had just a few too many of them in my time! So why am I here?


Postcard with donkeys, Cyprus

Photo by Athena Lao (7 December 2012) via Flickr. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Working donkeys, once a common sight in Cyprus, have become easier to spot on postcards than in real life. I looked at the same images during every trip to Cyprus between 1994 and 2004 – a donkey laden with baskets, or piles of dried twigs, and an elderly Cypriot walking by its side or perched on top of the load. These postcards saw better days and reflected different times, and different Cyprus. With every visit the contrast became more pronounced.


‘Where the primary interest of corporate entities in marketisation is in gaining access to lucrative government contracts or subsidies and maximising shareholder return, privately provided services can lose the features expected of public services: equal treatment, uncompromised commitment to needs, and stable provision over time.’ – Meagher and Wilson

How can we tell if government decisions to sell public assets or change the way social services are delivered will benefit the public?

In recent decades, public assets have been sold and public services contracted out to the private sector. Portrayed by policymakers as replacing the inefficiencies and rigidities of bureaucracy with the vigorous discipline of market competition and the choices of empowered consumers, marketisation has become the dominant model of social provision.

But what problems do private sector organisations solve? Do they create new ones? Private organisations are expected to cost less, give consumers more ‘choice’ and provide higher quality services. Yet private organisations are not immune from waste, corruption and inflexibility. The shift from public to private raises many questions about democratic accountability, equitable distribution of social goods, and access to and exercise of power.

Markets, Rights and Power in Australian Social Policy
Edited by Gabrielle Meagher and Susan Goodwin
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781920899950

Book information sheet

This book is the first in our new Public and Social Policy series. The Public and Social Policy series publishes original, peer-reviewed research in the fields of policy design, implementation and evaluation – books that ask interesting and challenging questions about public and social policy. Analyses, international and comparative perspectives are strongly encouraged.


Cover of Shirley Hazzard=

By Michelle De Kretser

I’m honoured to be launching this collection of essays on the work of Shirley Hazzard and I’m very grateful to Brigitta Olubas for kindly inviting me to do so.

We all have reason to be grateful to Brigitta. She has dedicated years of intellectual labour to Hazzard’s work, calmly insisting on its importance to our literary culture. In 2012, Brigitta brought us the groundbreaking monograph Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist. As Robert Dixon has said, it was a transformative book that placed an expatriate writer at the centre of Australian literary studies. Also in 2012 – fittingly, a transit of Venus year – Brigitta organised a symposium on Hazzard’s work in New York. It was there that the essays that make up this new collection of scholarly writing were first aired.


For the Sake of a Song: Wangga Songmen and their Repertories=

By Katharine Leonarder

I should probably start this entry with a rather embarrassing admission, I know nothing about music. To me the sounds of Taylor Swift are on the same technical scale as those of the Basel Symphony Orchestra. So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to read For the sake of a song: wangga songmen and their repertories and write this blog. Surprisingly enough I found myself enjoying the detailed descriptions of wangga music, even down to the meticulously documented notations of tempo, rhythm and structure, which – I might add – were written in such I way that even I managed to understand them.


Photo by Mark Lewis, Radio Pictures, Mullumbimby

By Professor Barney Glover

It is particularly fitting that the launch of Cane toads: a tale of sugar, politics and flawed science by Nigel Turvey coincides with this time in the seasonal calendar of the tropical north of Australia, when the wettest months will soon be upon us, which while bringing respite to many, are those months in which the cane toads are most active.


Cane toads: a tale of sugar, politics and flawed science=

When cane toads were released in Australia in 1935, they were seen as the latest innovation for biological control of pests in sugar cane. Cane toads were promoted widely by sugar cane scientists but the science was flawed, and these flaws were magnified by the political necessity of supporting the sugar industry. It was the same in the Caribbean, Hawai‘i and Queensland when cane toads were introduced.


Made to Matter: White Fathers, Stolen Generations=

By Monica Purcell

For the emerging settler nation, the nexus between race and land had to be radically redrawn in order to enable a sense of belonging. Race, in its connection to physiology, lent a crucial – and often unspoken – biological dimension to this endeavour. In this way sex and sexuality functioned to both affirm and transgress the colonial structures, ambitions and attitudes of early 20th-century Australia. In her new book Made to matter, Fiona Probyn-Rapsey unpacks and explores Australia’s colonial past through an investigation of relationships formed between white men, Aboriginal women and the children they produced during the assimilationist era. She focuses her lens on the figure of the white father and the highly controversial role he played in the forced removal policy which resulted in the Stolen Generations.


Animal death=

By Jacqui Shilson-Josling

Animals are represented in all aspects of our day to day lives. We debate inhumane abattoir practices, whaling, and live cattle export in the newspapers, we watch the births of baby elephants and pandas in zoos on the news, and we love, care for, feed, abandon or abuse our pets in our own homes. Despite this seemingly overarching interaction with animals, we take little time to reflect on animal death, and its meaning for us and nonhuman animals.


Australia and the world: a festschrift for Neville Meaney=

By Monica Purcell

The history of Australia’s foreign policy has often been neglected in political study and debate. Many have thought of Australia as a passive recipient to orders from London and Washington throughout our short history. Associate Professor Neville Meaney of Sydney University has spent a career deconstructing that myth and this year the Sydney University Press has published a festschrift titled Australia and the World in his honour.


Social work education: voices from the Asia Pacific=

By Katharine Leonarder

As a young and very naive eighteen-year-old I travelled to Africa to teach English in a small rural primary school. Needless to say I think the locals managed to teach me more about the local Ghanaian culture than I, in my unqualified and idealistic state, ever managed to teach the children about nouns or verbs. Until I opened Social work education: voices from the Asia Pacific, it had never occurred to me that I had been, albeit in a very small way, learning about something far broader and more complex than my young mind could fathom – social work.


Henry Lawson While the Billy Boils: The Original Newspaper Versions AND Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils

Other than the occasional primary school retellings of the Ned Kelly tales and the odd jaunt through Old Sydney Town, most of us have never really spent much time thinking about our early national identity. The gold-rush, early explorers and 'red coats' are phenomena of which are, more often than not, left unthought of.

Needless to say, however, Australia has a unique and highly eccentric literary heritage. Henry Lawson, writer, poet and artist, lived in a much earthier Australia. His stories - with their easy Australian humour and vivid descriptions - encapsulate the world of early Australia; a bleak and expansive world of diggers, threadbare homesteads and the unobtrusive billy boiling in the corner.


Norman Haire and the study of sex

By Bronwyn O'Reilly

The most popular insult of the moment – in Australian politics, anyway – is for politicians to label their opponents ‘sexist’. Tony Abbott’s rejection of the RU-486 abortion pill back in 2005 when he was Health Minister has come back to haunt him. Abbott continues to maintain that he did not approve the use of RU-486 because of advice from the Chief Medical Officer that use of the pill was significantly more dangerous than surgical termination. This was despite the Australian Medical Association’s approval, and even though the pill was already in use in many countries around the world.


king parrot

When I was small, I really wanted to have a dog. And not just any dog, I wanted a German shepherd. It may have had something to do with a series that was run on Polish TV every summer about four tank-men and a dog who fought together as members of the 1st Polish Army during World War Two. The film (made in 1966-70), and the book it was based on, contained elements of pro-Soviet propaganda, as was the norm at the time. But as I was a kid the political overtones went straight over my head and I only saw the wonderful friendship between the central character and his dog, Szarik.


Camouflage Australia

There is a group men and women whose contribution to the war effort is largely forgotten: the camoufleurs who worked together to camouflage Australia during the Second World War. In a new book from Sydney University Press, Camouflage Australia: art, nature, science and war, Ann Elias tells the story of camouflage artists and explores the reasons for their invisibility in the historical record.


Inspired children

The ABC TV series The Slap portrays how differently people approach parenting and how dire the consequences can be when those differing approaches collide. Do parents know best? Does society have the right to intervene in the parenting process? Is it ever all right to slap your own or anyone else’s child? Or is there a better way to ensure that children grow up to be balanced and happy adults and have fulfilling lives?

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To reason why

John Burnheim's autobiography is being launched by David Malouf at Gleebooks tonight. Here is an extract from the book:

My view is that philosophy has to give up pretensions to providing a sort of universal guide to what we should prefer or in what terms we should think of things. But it need not become merely academic, of little practical relevance. Instead it should occupy itself with drawing attention to aspects of our situation that we are likely to ignore or misconceive and with trying to suggest new perspectives on old problems or new problems of which we are hardly aware. Such activity can result in major shifts of perspective such as traditional philosophy sought, without the dubious universalistic or reductionist tactics that so often characterised it.

Old philosophy can still be of use, not just in providing reminders of how easily we can get things wrong or reminding us of problems that they were right to be concerned about even when they misconstrued them, but also in giving us a benchmark against which we can measure the specific novelty of the problems that now confront us in the light of what we now know and of the changes in our ways of living. Even ‘eternal’ problems change as what we can know and do changes. Philosophers should be seen mainly as making suggestions, ‘assembling reminders for a purpose’, as Wittgenstein put it.

To some unquantifiable degree all of us live our lives in a network of what from an externalised scientific perspective are mistaken beliefs, illusions and misunderstandings. Many of these are intersubjective, the result of the particular perspective on things that we share as human beings, with our limited sensory equipment and conceptual resources, in thrall to psychological needs that were developed in very different circumstances from our present ones. All our poetry and arts, our moralities and identities, sensibilities and spontaneous intuitions are built up on this intersubjective matrix. To reject it, to attempt to think of our lives exclusively in the categories of the sciences is not only impossible but radically impoverishing of everything that gives meaning to life.

We cannot live by objective truth alone. Enriching our lives involves exploring and expanding the intersubjective world, finding new perceptions, new practices, new aspirations, incorporating as much as we can of the scientific understanding of the matrix of our lives into human uses.

In this process old ways of thinking about, explaining and evaluating things change in ways that only in retrospect become fully apparent. In differing respects there is progress and loss, much of it necessarily unconcluded and only inconclusively assessable.

To reason why: from religion to philosophy and beyond
By John Burnheim
ISBN: 9781921364143

Charles Dickens

While Charles Dickens never visited Australia, he was very interested in the land ‘down under’. As the Editor-in-Chief and the ‘Conductor’ he was instrumental in publishing numerous articles about Australia in his weekly periodical, Household Words, and these have been collected by WA researcher Margaret Mendelawitz in Charles Dickens’ Australia: selected essays from Household Words 1850-1859.


Reading Across the Pacific

Reading Across the Pacific: Australia-United States Intellectual Histories - a new book from Sydney University Press explores the literary and cultural engagement between the United States and Australia. The book examines relations of the two countries, shifting the emphasis from the broad cultural patterns that are often compared, to the specific networks, interactions, and crossings that have characterised Australian literature in the United States and American literature in Australia.

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The title of the new edition of the Sydney University Student Anthology caught me by surprise: Sandstone. It conjures images of tradition, history and the establishment, the associations that the University of Sydney is trying to move away from in its quest to be less elitist and more contemporary. Less than a year ago, the University carried out a controversial change of its shield dropping the Latin phrase and curly edges in favour of the slicker and web-friendly logo. Yet, in this digital era of e-books and e-learning, the 2010 collection of new writing from students of the University is called Sandstone.


All mothers are different. For some having a child is a life-changing experience requiring an array of prenatal courses and months of reading to get their parenting skills up to scratch, at least theoretically. They stop their careers mid-track and take time off. Some decide to become a full-time mum.

For others having a baby is a minor inconvenience. Having an elective caesarian reduces lifestyle disruption to a minimum (it can be planned to a day). So does feeding with a bottle (as mother’s presence remains optional). Then a maximum of four weeks to recover and find a convenient daycare that would take such a small baby on. And back to work. Some wonder whether they should have had a kid in the first place.

What does it mean to be a good mother in the 21st-century Australia? As the authors of The good mother: contemporary motherhood in Australia point out, the answer is far from straightforward. While the once dominant image of a good mother as a white, heterosexual, economically dependant and child-focused female is no longer adequate, the archetype of good mother persists in new incarnations and mothers continue to be judged and judge themselves.

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Who do you support in a sports match when Australia play the country of your birth? That’s a tough question that the members of the German community will face on Monday 13 June 2010 watching the first game for both countries in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. A test of divided loyalties?

This is an old dilemma for the German and other migrants in Australia. The new book from Sydney University Press, Migration and Cultural Contact: Germany and Australia explores the precarious position of German community in the past. Fortunately things have changed since the days of the ‘enemy aliens’.


For the University of Sydney and the rest of Australia, the National Sorry Day on 26 May is an opportunity to express remorse over the mistreatment of Indigenous Australians in the past. Held every year since 1998, the National Sorry Day commemorates the presentation of the Bringing Them Home report to the federal government on 26 May in 1997, which contained the results of an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

Just in time for the National Sorry Day and the National Reconciliation Week starting on 27 May, Sydney University Press has released a new book Taking Our Place: Aboriginal Education and the Story of the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney - a history of the interaction between the Aboriginal community and the University of Sydney.


From Michael Sexton's review in The Spectator.

Most books about Australia’s role in the Great War deal with the battles on the Western Front or the landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli. But historian Neville Meaney breaks new ground in this wide-ranging and highly detailed account of the political and diplomatic realities underlying Australian participation in the conflict and its immediate aftermath.

Read the full review at The Spectator... Away from the front

More about the book:
Australia and World Crisis 1914-1923
By Neville Meaney

H. E. (Doc) Evatt was one of Australia's foremost thinkers and politicians. While he was a judge on the High Court of Australia, he turned his mind to one of the most controversial cases of labour law, the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The case of the 6 Dorsetshire labourers, sentenced to transportation to Australia in the 1830s for swearing a secret oath, has been a touchstone for the union movement. It demonstrated the landed gentry's fear of the power of the combined might of workers and the lengths to which they would go to quash it.

Evatt's aim was to reconsider the evidence, case law and legislation used, and decide if a miscarriage of justice had occurred. He decided that while there was no technical breach of law, "oppression and cruelty do not always fail". Although the men were eventually pardoned, their lives were ruined, their families broken up and they never returned to England.

Evatt's book has been re-released by Sydney University Press in conjunction with the Evatt Foundation. The Evatt Foundation secured Geoffrey Robertson to write a new introduction to the book, highlighting its relevance for Australia today. Robertson likens this case to Australia's need for a Bill of Rights - we don't know how the law can be used against us, and unless we have certain rights enshrined we are all in danger of exploitation.

The book was reviewed in the Spectrum section of the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 20th March 2010.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs: injustice within the law

“Do you mind working for a German?” asked the blond thirty something man with a piercing blue stare. I was at a job interview. It happened a few years ago in Australia, thousands of miles away from Europe and over half-a-century after the end of the Second World War.

It was an unexpected question in the context of a Sydney suburb, but not entirely. I am Polish and the history of Polish–German/Germanic relationships is full of wars and battles stretching over a thousand years. Consciously or not, people carry historical knowledge as part of their identity, and this legacy affects how various communities and individuals have interacted with each other over the years.


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 cafés 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


A new book that goes behind the scenes to investigate the financial and political workings of the NSW club gaming industry will be launched today (14 October) by the Honourable Bob Carr, former Premier of NSW, just days before a draft report of Commonwealth Productivity Commission Inquiry into gambling is due out.

Casino Clubs NSW: Profits, tax, sport and politics, by Betty Con Walker and published by Sydney University Press, proposes a review of public policy towards clubs, of the way gaming revenues are taxed, and the accountability of the club industry.


Paul Kelly's column in today's Australian newspaper describes Neville Meaney's new book as "taking a brick" to the idea that Australia and its fighting force was sacrificed by pro-British leaders in our involvement in World War I. Meaney's book does more than that, providing a in-depth look at politics and policy during the early 20th century in Australia.

Paul Kelly's column in The Australian
Australia and World Crisis 1914-1923


At the start of the First World War, Australia was a fledgling nation, still strongly tied to Britain and the Empire. But even in those early days, Australia’s leaders could see that we needed to be able to defend ourselves as well as support others in need. A ‘Pacific fleet’ to protect Australia, New Zealand and other British outposts in the region was of utmost importance to Australia, but less important to Britain facing a war in the Atlantic and at her doorstep.


An Unlikely Leader: the life and times of Captain John Hunter was launched last night at the Royal Australian Historical Society. The author, Robert Barnes, gave a short talk on "The difficulties of governing New South Wales". John Hunter captained the HMS Sirius in the First Fleet, and later returned to England. After Governor Phillip's departure, there was a period of over 2 1/2 years before Hunter arrived as the second Governor. This allowed the NSW Corps to establish themselves as the powerbrokers of the colony. Barnes' argument was that very few people could have made progress against such entrenchment, Hunter's own qualities notwithstanding.


Through the Clock's Workings is one of the most interesting projects we've been involved with since restarting SUP in 2004. An initiative supported by the Australia Council through the Story of the Future project and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, RemixMyLit commissioned 8 original short stories from Australian authors and encouraged other writers to "remix" their own versions.


Excerpt from Frank Stilwell's column in The Australian newspaper on May 6, 2009.
"Obey ye the market" has proved to be a misleading mantra. The emergent recession shows the economic rationalist approach did not provide sound foundations for sustainable economic activity. One university that seeks to explore the different approaches to economic analysis is the University of Sydney. For decades it has offered students the opportunity to study courses in political economy as well as mainstream economics. The courses look at Keynesian, post-Keynesian, Marxian and institutional analyses of capitalism as well as the neoclassical orthodoxy.


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