Britain's Global Australians: Sixteen Profiles: by David O'Reilly (Nov 07)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 15:37

Published by the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College London, The Australian Centre, Strand, London WC2B 4LG.

Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements, Monash University.

ISBN 978 1 85507 143 8

In his preface to this book Carl Bridge explained that David O'Reilly had set out 'to explore the varied characters and accomplishments of some of the most prominent Australians in Britain, and through Britain the world, today.' David O'Reilly was a distinguished political journalist whose journalism and books provided a serious, informed and critical study of Australian politics and politicians since 1974 when he became a cadet journalist on the Australian until his untimely death in 2006. By then he had completed only 16 of the 20 interviews he had planned, and many of essays on those interviewed were only in draft form. His wife, Sue Corrigan, and several of his colleagues completed his work so as to ensure the publication of this important book.

The list of 16 global Australians includes Carmen Callil: the Virago, Germaine Greer: Controversialist, Geoffrey Robertson: In Defence of Humanity, Robert May: A World of Dispassionate Clarity and

Dorothy Rowe: Wisdom's Child

Dorothy was interviewed twice for this chapter, first by David and, after David's death, by Sue. David had written an outline of this chapter and so Sue filled in what she saw as gaps in the story. As a result, this chapter contains some material which had not been recorded elsewhere. This included an account of someone who became a strong influence on Dorothy's work.


Dorothy Rowe taught for a while before deciding to train as an educational psychologist, specialising in working with emotionally disturbed children. So began her work as a liaison officer at North Ryde Psychiatric Hospital in Sydney, where she came under the influence of  Sara Williams who ran the children's unit. Although it would only become clear to Rowe years later, William's clinical approach was years ahead of its time in its sensitivity to the needs of the patient.

'When I look back, I could see that at that time Sara treated patients like they were real people. She wanted to know all about them. She got involved with them --- like the day she had to climb onto the roof of the place in a beautiful brown velvet suit to talk a distressed youngster down.'

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