RED • Stephen Moline

She can’t help watching the procession, a long dark flow of people of every age and look, both neat and ragged. They seem to have no end. They’ll flow down Collins Street for years. Who’d have thought there’d be so many?

a compelling narrative — Stuart Macintyre

hugely rich and impressive — Rowan Cahill

RED cover

I’ve set up this site to add images of the people in the book and some background to episodes in the book. Look for these under EXPLORE THE BOOK.

Scroll down for more recent posts.

About the book

RED tracks the lives of two families of Australian political idealists, their motives, expectations and gradual disillusionment.

These twentieth-century radicals and their friends, many of them communist, were journalists, artists, feminists, architects, politicians, teachers and scholars.

Stephen Moline grew up among these radicals. He kept a notebook.

A new review of RED

Excerpts from a new review of my book RED:

“many surprises … wry humour … epic scope … finely drawn characters … a superb writer of place … Sydney emerges as a major ‘character’ … Unusual too is the prominence of women … RED is unlike anything I have read … tragic concluding section—moving yet distanced, unsentimental and non-judgemental … The writing is lyrical yet grounded in the everyday … [a] poetic-prose work [resembling] Brecht’s Marxist epic theatre … It’s terrific.” (Sylvia Martin in Labour History, May 2018, pp. 216–17) 



A mysterious censor

german communist leaflet PROMO

Why, in wartime, did Menzies’ censors stop the magazine Progress from mentioning that left-wing Germans were defying Hitler? Or that the British government opposed Indian independence? How were these stories “aiding the enemy”? What was wrong with saying that some Greek Australians supported their country’s resistance to invasion by the Nazis? Why censor that?—while the Sydney Telegraph and Mirror were publishing the same news? No wonder the editor of Progress was getting a bit—well, shall we say, bemused?

More HERE.


“I was confused and devastated”

In 1940 the artist Roy Dalgarno was told by the military that he must leave Bedarra Island where he was working with fellow artist Noel Wood. “They’d apparently planned on building some sort of military establishment there,” Dalgarno explains, “and they considered me a security risk. A security risk? Because I was a Communist or a member of the Left Book Club.” More of this story HERE.

Hartley's Creek The Lagoon by Dalgarno 1941 (700)

One of Dalgarno’s paintings when living in north Queensland, “Hartley’s Creek: the Lagoon” (1941). Collection: Lynn Dalgarno