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This Month in Port Phillip in 1842: April 1842 (Part 1)

On 6th April the Port Phillip Gazette published an article about the various denominations present in Melbourne at the time and their relative strength. I’ve never thought of Melbourne as being a particularly Catholic city, although even as I write … Continue reading ?

‘A Constellation of Vital Phenomena’ by Anthony Marra

2013, 400p Reading the debut book of a writer whose second book you really liked is a bit of a gamble. What if s/he only found firm footing with the second book? What if the first was a dud? I … Continue reading ?

Movie: ‘Loving’

Richard Loving, a white labourer, married Mildred Jetta  in 1958, in contravention of the miscegenation laws current in Virginia which banned inter-racial marriages. The American Civil Liberties Union took their case to the Supreme Court of the United States, which … Continue reading ?

Movie: Alone in Berlin

This movie is based on a book by Hans Fallada (whose book Little Man What Now I read forty years ago but still remember) that fictionalizes the real-life story of Otto and Elise Hampel. I was struck by how quiet … Continue reading ?

‘Billy Sing: A Novel’ by Ouyang Yu

2017,  135 p. Transit Lounge In my grave my spirit lingers, the undead, if you believe that sort of thing, which I think you ought to, you beings so materialistic you forget that life is not just one life but … Continue reading ?

Movie: Jasper Jones

I’ve heard people speak about the movie Jasper Jones and felt quite bemused because it doesn’t sound particularly like the book I remember reading.  Parts of it – yes, but I don’t remember the strong emphasis on Jasper’s aboriginality. Looking … Continue reading ?

This Month in Port Phillip 1842: March 1842

Another month-long summary, in a vain attempt to catch up. I think I’ve been too ambitious with weekly summaries and unless I find myself with too much spare time, I think my summaries will be monthly from here on. The … Continue reading ?

‘Badge Boot Button: The Story of Australian Uniforms’ by Craig Wilcox

NLA Publishing, 2017, 141 p & notes  $44.99 RRP It’s a paradox that even though a uniform is supposed to mark its wearer out from the general population, we often become so inured to them that they become invisible.  Craig … Continue reading ?

Movie: Hidden Figures

I’ve had to forego my guilty pleasure of sitting in a darkened cinema each Monday so far this year because I’ve been too busy working on an exhibition at the Heidelberg Historical Society (exciting details to come!)  But it’s all … Continue reading ?

‘The Case Against Fragrance’ by Kate Grenville

2017, 173 p & notes. The genesis for this book was Kate Grenville’s own increasing sensitivity to the fragrances of perfumes, room fresheners, cleaning products and cosmetics.  She found herself overwhelmed by the perfume of a fellow audience-member at the … Continue reading ?

An online exhibition – Another Night

There’s an interesting curated story on the Victorian Collections website called ‘Another Night’. Inspired by Geoffrey Blainey’s Black Kettle and Full Moon, this narrative links different objects on the Victorian Collections website related to lighting and night-time. Victorian Collections is … Continue reading ?

Exhibition: ‘Remembering the ‘Burbs 1850-1960’

I know that I always write about exhibitions just as they’re closing the door and turning off the lights, but with this one, there’s still a month to go see it. It’s at the Royal Historical Society in a’Beckett Street … Continue reading ?

‘1787: The Lost Chapters of Australia’s Beginnings’ by Nick Brodie

2016, 304 p. When you see Nick Brodie’s book on a bookstore shelf along with other Australian titles, with its dominant ‘1787’ emblazoned on the front, you tend to do a bit of double-take. Did someone make a mistake? Wasn’t … Continue reading ?

‘Bush Studies’ by Barbara Baynton

1999, 140 P A funny thing happened on the way to reading this book. I’ve been aware of it for some time, and always thought that I’d read it sometime but I never actually did anything about doing so. Then, … Continue reading ?

‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett

2011, 353 p I don’t often think of films while I’m reading a book, but I did this time.  A few months back I went to see ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ (my short review here). I was rather nonplussed by … Continue reading ?

This Month in Port Phillip 1842: February 1842

The year is getting away from me and I’m so behind that I’m going to write just the one entry for February. George Arden gets into trouble again. George Arden, the young editor of the Port Phillip Gazette had a … Continue reading ?

‘Looking for Rose Paterson: How Family Bush Life Nurtured Banjo the Poet’ by Jennifer Gall

2017, 192 P & notes I can remember how disappointed I felt when I first read Graeme Davison’s article ‘Sydney and the Bush:an urban context for the Australian Legend’, published in Historical Studies in October 1978 [1]. It was written … Continue reading ?

‘Dreams From My Father’ by Barak Obama

1995, 2004, 442 p. I was so downcast and discouraged by Trump’s inauguration that I decided to finally take Barak Obama’s memoir off the bookshelf where it has been languishing for years, and read it to expunge the current Presidential … Continue reading ?

This Week in Port Phillip 1842: 24-31 January

Oh dear, I have fallen so behind with my weekly reviews of Melbourne 175 years ago! However, I am comforted by the knowledge that old news is old news, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s 175 years and 5 … Continue reading ?

‘Births Deaths Marriages: True Tales’ by Georgia Blain

2008, 224 p. When an writer dies, I often make a point of reading one of their books. It’s an act of tribute, I suppose, even though the reality is that all books live on beyond their authors eventually.  Although … Continue reading...

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