Stray Leaves from the Diary of a Diggers Wife
by Frances Good
Part I: Shortly after her husband embarked from Perth to fight in World War I in France, his wife Frances set sail for England in a civilian ship so as to be nearby to see him when on leave or if sent to England wounded. At that point she began her journal, not a diary, as it is written in retrospect only at intervals, and is complete, not “stray leaves”. A keen observer of both people and heritage, she both mocks and admires the English, while recording small domestic details of wartime austerity and the conduct of the Australian Forces Post Office, where she worked.
Part II, “Following Frances Good”, Lucy Sullivan describes her visits to tourist places visited by Frances Good and finds them little changed in the twenty-first century.
Available Now: Symbiosis to Parasitism
Evolution of the Australian Welfare System
1969 – 1999
The last three decades of the 20th century saw huge increases in Welfare spending on Unemployment, Disability and Sole Parent Pensions in pursuit of “social justice”. and a progressive withdrawal of financial support from the independent intact family and its increasing distribution to its dismembered parts. In response, families voluntarily fragmented and individuals withdrew from the workforce. The resultant early and prolonged welfare dependency of a significant proportion of the population resulted in levels of social dysfunction in the younger sectors of the Australian population on a scale not seen before in the century – homelessness, drug addiction, divorce and separation, ex-nuptial birth, child neglect, and contrived unemployment – indeed an Underclass. Further increases in Welfare spending only exacerbated these trends.
This monograph plots these developments in the allocation of tax revenue to the Welfare sector, and associated changes in Welfare recipience, as recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics from 1969 to 1999.
Available now: 1959 : “the diary of a young girl” by Lucy Vokes edited by Lucy Sullivan
1959 – the eve of the sixties, although “the sixties” were still half a decade away. This diary of a nineteen-year-old girl student at the University of Queensland nevertheless reveals in embryonic form much of what was to come. The seeds of the environmentalist movement were there in bushwalking, which was still largely off-track and exploratory, and entirely non-commercial; South-East Asian immigration was foreshadowed by the influx of Colombo Plan students into universities; rock ‘n roll, with its up-beat vigour, had cast off the romantic yearning of pre-war popular music in the relations of the sexes, but girls and young women had greater freedom of movement than when feminism and sexual liberation had unleashed a new “war of the sexes”. This pre-“sixties” generation had grown to adulthood beyond the traumas of the Great Depression and the Second World War, and approached life with confidence, enjoying a novel freedom within a still protective adult society. They encapsulated much of what was best in both earlier and later Australian youth culture – the pragmatism and stoicism of the former and the adventurousness, without the licence, of the latter. Within this picture of a transient youth culture, the diary’s major themes are the universals of the pain of first, unrequited, love and the exhilaration of awakening to the power and beauty of the natural world.
Letter from a contemporary:
Nostalgia exploded as a bomb blast and that’s only looking at the cover!
That old saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ aside, the social history should make an interesting read for anyone. Probably every generation had seen differences re the next but the changes at that time were the beginning of a wider drift.”
or send cheque (payee Lucy Sullivan) to Windrush Press, 11 Pitt St, Windsor NSW, Australia 2756.
sixties philosophy against the church
Since Federation the Australian Bureau of Statistics has recorded in its Year Books a comprehensive set of demographic and social statistics, which now document more than a century of changing trends in Australia. As the graph below indicates, there was generally stability or improvement in social well-being to mid-century, but a marked and escalating change for the worse on many counts began in the decade between 1963 and 1973. Were these dramatic deteriorations the irresistible consequence of economic and/or technological developments, or were they the effect of new ideologies flowing into social policy? This was the decade of greening, of liberation, of war on social injustice – the decade in which opinionated secularism finally overpowered the ethical teachings of Christianity. This book reviews the contrasting social philosophies and policies of the first and second halves of the 20th century that produced such different social outcomes, in order to address the question, How did we get it so wrong?
What readers said:
Nick Cater author & journalist:
“False Promises exposes the moral arrogance of the progressive project and sifts through the wreckage of its grand plan to build society anew. Sullivan marshals the empirical evidence with precision to confirm our worst fears. The crusading promise of the Sixties was just too good to be true. Any one who doubts the destructive force of today’s Anti-Enlightenment movement should read this important book.”
Dr Elaine Katte General Practitioner:
“I have found the comparisons and probable underlying causes for a decay in Australian society during the second half of the twentieth century to be absolutely fascinating. This is a book that I believe should be read by governments and the public. It is quite an outstanding publication.”
Sam Larin letter to Dr Glen A. Tomkins:
False Promises “is extraordinary in both its incisiveness and clarity of thought. Lucy Sullivan is a rare gem that deserves profound thanks from every thinking human being in Australia. Her quoted statistics are indisputable; her references logically sound, and her consequential prognoses invariably prophetic as today’s societal behaviour and actions by duly elected governments confirm.
What makes it a frightening read is that it’s all true! Her organised and sequential evaluations of facts are quite outstanding because her conclusions cannot be denied!
…I started reading the book on Friday and finished it by Sunday – it was quite impossible to put it down.”
Julia Patrick freelance writer on social issues:
“Now the 1990s are behind us and we are thirteen years into the twenty-first century, Sullivan presents us with a challenge. Referring to the ravages wrought by Liberation Social Philosophy, she asks, “Can we, having emerged to some extent from its domination, undo its harm and avoid a repetition?”
(extract from review in Quadrant)
Dr Glen A. Tomkins Dental Surgeon
“I’m glad I read your recent publication which was lent to me by Joe Lopez …
Of great concern to me is your documentation of the alarming rise in crime [over the half century] and correlating this to the loss of Christian values.
Apart from harm done to individuals this rise in crime puts an enormous financial burden on society as a whole. As a youngster growing up in a Queensland country town, the police force consisted of a sergeant, a constable and a horse (all unarmed!).….The rise in drug crime has been enormous. When we were teenagers the most dangerous drug was an aspro in a bottle of coke. Now apart from filling up the courts and prisons and the “need” to give welfare payments and psychological counselling to the dependents of the offenders, it has put an enormous additional burden on the health service.”
(letter to the author)
Shakespeare’s Shattered Youth:
lameing and elixir
the Sonnets as key to the life and works
A forced marriage at the age of eighteen and three children by the age of twenty do not bode well for a talented young man. Shakespeare’s reiteration of his “lameing” in his Sonnets, their story of the anguished pursuit of intimate friendship with a young nobleman, his exploration of adolescent crises in his plays, and contemporary mockery of his social ambitions, all combine to form a picture of a troubled and disappointed man, an image at odds with the comfortable genius favoured in biographical tradition. Did Shakespeare blame these misadventures on a troubled family background? Did he for long believe his eldest daughter was not actually his own? This book explores these and other disturbing possibilities suggested by the preoccuptions of his plays and poetry, to create a new understanding of the man and his work. (333 pages)
Review by Juliet Kirkpatrick in Australia’s News Weekly
“The accepted view of Shakespeare’s childhood has been a picture of happy domestic stability; later of a young man, perhaps a bit boisterous, but none-the-less a happily married family man. This is far from Dr Sullivan’s interpretation of what Shakespeare’s early years were like, and the repercussions for him that she suggests bring to mind modern equivalents for today’s troubled teenagers. The parallels Dr Sullivan finds are striking in their modernity. She argues that, far from the happy carefree life so often pictures, Shakespeare experienced a stressful adolescence as a result of his father’s financial misfortunes and suspicions of his mother’s infidelity.
It is a new perspective to argue as she does that Shakespeare’s characters and their action in his later plays are not referenced to political figures and events of the day, but rather spring from his own personal experiences and the “abominable situation” of his early life. This can, however, explain his focus on and sympathy for his youthful characters – Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, spring instantly to mind. A depressed and suicidal Hamlet is familiar as the disturbed teenager of today. Similarly A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing deal with parent/child relationships and the perils of transition from adolescence to adulthood. Later plays such as Othello and The Winter’s Tale, deal with fears of infidelity, which may reflect both his parents and his own marriage. ….
Her analyses of the Sonnets are meticulous, fresh and illuminating. She considers them to be Shakespeare’s emotional autobiography, his diary, of the years 1595 to 1598 or thereabouts: the death of his son, reflected in the feaers of loss of youth and beauty expressed in many of them, his attraction to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, and the social gulf between them that he yearns to cross, and his regret for his abandonment of Ann Whateley.
However, the Dark Lady is the focus of his mature sexual passion, and these sonnets express his tortured jealousy when Southampton succeeds in stealing his mistress – the bitterness of the eternal triangle and his love betrayed, both by the Dark Lady and his intimate friend, Southampton. …
She does not follow the modern fad of reading into the Sonnets a purely homosexual relationship, as we understand the word today …
Shakespeare’s intense attachment to Southampton is confusingly bound up with his hopes of rising socially by means of the friendship, for actors and the theatrical world of which Shakespeare was part were at the time regarded as near the bottom rung of the social ladder. His sense of the injustice of his social inferiority, and his desire to be accepted into a world more suited to his superior intellectual and creative talents, are a constant theme in the Sonnets. …
Her two main theses – that Shakespeare’s “shattered youth” was the genesis of the treatment of many of his plays, and his festering unfulfilled desire for social acceptability at a high level – are, she acknowledges, hypotheses. But theyare hypotheses base on careful reading of both text and critical debate and opinion, followed by intelligent surmise.
Dr Sullivan’s is a strikingly original and challenging book, well-written and accessible. Anyone interested to review their own conceptions of Shakespeare’s life and plays should not miss it.
Julia Patrick is a freelance writer on social issues