JANUARY: GOOD TIMES AHEAD? MACFARLANE BURNETT AND ASIANS FEBRUARY: BILLY GRAHAM'S CALL TO GOD INDONESIA? WHERE'S THAT? MARCH: BILLY IS STILL HERE WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR TEA? APRIL: RICHARDSON REPORT ARE POLITICIANS WORTH IT? MAY: NEW GUINEA VIOLENCE MONGOLISM JUNE: WOLFENDEN'S REPORT ON "GAYS" LIBERACE AND HIS BANK JULY: MAX STUART'S TRIALS A LITTLE BIT OF COLD WAR AUGUST: STUART ROYAL COMMISSION MEN UNDER THE HAMMER SEPTEMBER: KINGSGROVE SLASHER THE WIDE BLUE YONDER OCTOBER: SIMMONDS AND NEWCOMBE MR AND MRS K IN USA NOVEMBER: A DAY IN THE BUSH SNAKES (NOT) ALIVE DECEMBER: DRINK DRIVING TESTS MAX STUART'S VERDICT
Ron Williams is not the oldest author in Australia. He is not even the oldest author in his home suburb of Wickham. But I contend I am the oldest author living in Wickham in Australia who finished 30 Titles in a series of books that describe the Social History of Australia from 1939 to 1968. That is, over a 30 year period. This is my claim to uniqueness. But nobody cares. I don't care if nobody cares. I am not at all interested in all the folly of fame, or notoriety. I just want to eat my croissants on the porch on Sunday mornings, and enjoy sniffing my little bed of gladdies. And, it is true to say, I enjoyed my researching of the newspapers I used as my source, and whipping the best stories of each year up into a 170 page book. How nice it was to review 1939 Letters to the Editor from the British Times and see the wonderful range of oh-so-English addresses and the double-barrelled names of their writers. How gruelling it was to see the names of dead men filling Page Five on the Papers in WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars. How delightfully quixotic to realise that the rise in feminism coincided with the incidence of air conditioning in offices. How nostalgic to remember that Bob Menzies never campaigned in classrooms, being smart enough to realise that the scrubbers had no vote. Those golden days are now gone for me. I have given my quill back to the family duck. It could be that this will be the very last thing I ever write. OFFICIAL VERSION. Ron Williams is a retired teacher, mathematician, computer-man, political scientist, farmer and writer. He has a B.A. from Sydney, and a Masters in Social Work and a PhD in Political Science from Hawaii. This is the 19th in a series of 30 books about the Social History of Australia from the year 1939 to 1968. He got much of his material from reading the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age/ Argus every day for the given year, and then picking out best stories, arguments and ideas, as well as the trivia.
COMMENTS FROM READERSTom Lynch, Speers Point.....Some history writers make the mistake of trying to boost their authority by including graphs and charts all over the place. You on the other hand get a much better effect by saying things like "he made a pile." Or "every one worked hours longer that they should have, and felt like death warmed up at the end of the shift." I have seen other writers waste two pages of statistics painting the same picture as you did in a few words....Barry Marr, Adelaide....you know that I am being facetious when I say that I wish the war had gone on for years longer so that you would have written more books about it... Edna College, Auburn.... A few times I stopped and sobbed as you brought memories of the postman delivering letters, and the dread that ordinary people felt as he neared. How you captured those feelings yet kept your coverage from becoming maudlin or bogged down is a wonder to me....Betty Kelly. Every time you seem to be getting serious you throw in a phrase or memory that lightens up the mood. In particular, in the war when you were describing the terrible carnage of Russian troops, for no reason, you ended with a ten line description of how aggrieved you felt and ended it with "apart from that, things are pretty good here." For me, it turned the unbearable into the bearable, and I went from feeling morbid and angry back to a normal human being....Alan Davey, Brisbane....I particularly liked the light-hearted way you described the scenes at the airports as the American high-flying entertainers flew in. I had always seen the crowd behaviour as disgraceful, but your light-hearted description of it made me realise it was in fact harmless and just good fun....Finally, let me apologise in advance to anyone I might offend. In a work such as this, with so many painful memories all round, it is certain some people will think I got some things wrong. I am certain I did, but please remember, all of this is only my opinion. And really, my opinion does not matter one little bit in the scheme of things. I hope you will say "silly old bugger," and shrug your shoulders and read on.