Inside Outside: Life between Two Worlds

Inside Outside: Life between Two Worlds

Inside Outside: Life between Two Worlds

Inside Outside: Life between Two Worlds

Excerpt

This is not an autobiography, but it is a book about the past and the present, generated by deeply personal memories and by the changes I have observed both within myself and in Australian society in the years since the end of the Second World War. It is a book, moreover, with several origins. One occurred on the day in 1947 when I arrived with my parents in Sydney. We were among the first of those waves of postwar European migrants who were to influence the nature of Australian society in various and at times unexpected ways.

Another occasion was almost exactly thirty years later, after my father's sudden death. I realised then that with him, and with my mother who had died three years earlier, many aspects of a family history, a mythology and a way of life had vanished beyond recovery. No-one remained to answer questions about the past or to untangle the complicated relationships of people who had died, often in terrible circumstances, more than thirty years before. I began jotting down vague and discontinuous memories partly for myself, but chiefly so that my sons might have some access to a strange and alien world—which was nevertheless a part of their heritage—before age and the inevitable fading of memory caused more and more of it to disappear.

Those jottings, disjointed fragments of a remembrance of things past, stayed in a drawer of my desk for some years. They were brought to life, and given an entirely unexpected context, by the . . .

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