y The Bandar-Log single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1958 1958
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Alan Reid was the Paul Kelly of his day and the Labor Split in the 1950s was probably the most far-reaching convulsion in Australian politics.

– Hon Tony Abbott, from the Foreword

'The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s is a fictionalised recreation of the great Labor split of the 1950s. This schism in Labor’s ranks began in October 1954 when its erratic federal party leader Dr H.V. (“Doc”) Evatt denounced the perceived influence wielded over the party by the anti-communist Catholic activist B.A. (“Bob”) Santamaria. The resulting donnybrook involved personality clashes as well as ideological conflict. The messy saga featured a diverse array of participants including Catholic churchmen, trade union bosses, state premiers, state and federal Labor politicians and assorted commentators and journalists. The characters appearing in The Bandar-Log mirror, with varying degrees of faithfulness, these actual participants in the Labor split.

– Ross Fitzgerald and Stephen Holt, from the Introduction

'The picture of politics and politicians that emerges from The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s is extraordinarily bleak. There is no room for principle. The whole business is irredeemably filthy and disgusting—a sewer. As Reid sees it, people involved in politics cannot help but be corrupt. Even those who begin with high principles are inevitably corroded and eaten away.' (Abstract from edited 2015 edition)

– Laurie Oakes, from the Postscript

Notes

  • The Bandar-Log is an un-published novel written by Alan Reid while he was the Canberra correspondent for The Daily Telegraph. Reid initially submitted the novel to his own publisher (to whom he was under contract) and later to Angus & Robertson. After showing serious interest in the publication of the novel, Angus & Robertson withdrew support. (The central characters in the novel were alleged to bear a striking resemblance to federal politicians of the day.) Some years later, J. P. Atkins of Cleveland Publishing, attempted to have the novel printed by Halstead Press. This venture also failed although the novel had been type-set and had reached proof stage.

    Atkins decided to sue Halstead Press and the case came to trial in Sydney's District Court on 11 September 1961. The novel was judged to be libellous and the claim for damages dismissed.

    (Major sources: 'How Not to Get a Novel Published : In One Hard Lesson' by Alan Reid, The Bulletin, vol.82 no.4222, 11 January 1961, p.20-21 and 'The Bandar-Log : A Literary Hot Potato' by Stephen Holt, National Library of Australia News, vo.14 no.7, May 2004, p.10-13.)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      ca. 1958 .
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: National Library of Australia
      Location: Manuscripts Collection
      Local Id: MS 1578
      Note:
      Manuscript held in Box 1 of the Colin Roderick Collection, RAAM 29720 (33474)
Alternative title: The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s

Works about this Work

Long Lost Libellous Labor Novel Lives On 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 22 June 2015; (p. 41)

— Review of The Bandar-Log Alan Reid 1958 single work novel
'The Bandar-Log' : A Literary Hot Potato Stephen Holt , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: National Library of Australia News , April vol. 14 no. 7 2004; (p. 10-13)

Holt traces the history of The Bandar-Log, an un-published novel written by Alan Reid in the late 1950s. The novel was initially accepted for publication at Angus & Robertson, but support for the project was later withdrawn. Another attempt at publishing the novel, this time by J. P. Atkins of Cleveland Publishing, also failed. The printer, Halstead Press, a subsidiary of Angus & Robertson, was ordered to halt the print run by its owner-company.

Holt provides an account of the legal case that followed the abandonment of the printing. Atkins sued Halstead for breach of contract, but Judge Perrignon of the Sydney District Court found the novel to be libellous and the claim was dismissed.

In conclusion, Holt notes that 'Scholars and citizens alike' should be grateful that Colin Roderick preserved the page proofs of the novel, along with press clippings compiled during the course of the trial. His assiduousness 'enables a fascinating episode in Australia's political and cultural history to be properly recorded.'

How Not to Get a Novel Published : In One Hard Lesson Alan Reid , 1961 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 11 January vol. 82 no. 4222 1961; (p. 20-21)
Long Lost Libellous Labor Novel Lives On 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 22 June 2015; (p. 41)

— Review of The Bandar-Log Alan Reid 1958 single work novel
'The Bandar-Log' : A Literary Hot Potato Stephen Holt , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: National Library of Australia News , April vol. 14 no. 7 2004; (p. 10-13)

Holt traces the history of The Bandar-Log, an un-published novel written by Alan Reid in the late 1950s. The novel was initially accepted for publication at Angus & Robertson, but support for the project was later withdrawn. Another attempt at publishing the novel, this time by J. P. Atkins of Cleveland Publishing, also failed. The printer, Halstead Press, a subsidiary of Angus & Robertson, was ordered to halt the print run by its owner-company.

Holt provides an account of the legal case that followed the abandonment of the printing. Atkins sued Halstead for breach of contract, but Judge Perrignon of the Sydney District Court found the novel to be libellous and the claim was dismissed.

In conclusion, Holt notes that 'Scholars and citizens alike' should be grateful that Colin Roderick preserved the page proofs of the novel, along with press clippings compiled during the course of the trial. His assiduousness 'enables a fascinating episode in Australia's political and cultural history to be properly recorded.'

How Not to Get a Novel Published : In One Hard Lesson Alan Reid , 1961 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 11 January vol. 82 no. 4222 1961; (p. 20-21)
Last amended 22 Jun 2015 12:14:06
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