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
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.
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?
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.
One of Dalgarno’s paintings when living in north Queensland, “Hartley’s Creek: the Lagoon” (1941). Collection: Lynn Dalgarno
… in which a communist, Audrey Blake, is invited to tea with the head of Security in Melbourne, to solve a little difficulty he has. More HERE.
This website has now been archived by the State Library of NSW. You can read their version HERE.
They will update their version twice a year.
How many ALP members know that they once had an official Labor Party daily newspaper? That it was run by Communists? That it was in debt to Westpac and bought by the Sydney Telegraph? More weirdness here:
I’ve added a note on this intriguing docudrama made by Eddie Allison, Paul Moline, Warwick Parkes and others in 1939. Take Notice! is a short silent film about poverty and the rent crisis of the late 1930s. It has not been shown publicly for more than 70 years. More HERE.
Quotes from RED’s first review:
“In many ways, the book is an intellectual history from below”, a “genre-crossing biographical study … in the form of a novel” but “based on extensive research” which, “from a scholarly viewpoint, is hugely rich and impressive.” RED is “a truly original piece of literature, in many ways a political prose-poem.” — Rowan Cahill in Labor History
Read the full review HERE.