AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2020... 2020 [Review] Idling in Green Places: A Life of Alec Chisholm
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'My family home was not bookish, but there was a ten volume set of the Australian Encyclopaedia, shelved alongside the novels of Neville Shute and Arthur Upfield. First published in 1958 by Angus and Robertson, ours was the 1963 edition from the Grolier Society, purchased in response to that US‐based company's practice of direct‐to‐the‐home appeals to parents to take their children's education seriously. I was regularly advised to “look it up”. The Encyclopaedia was a distinctive reference text, exclusively, almost defiantly Australian, with a marked concentration on people, place, native fauna and flora. “Special articles” included 75, 000 words (the longest entry) on “Australia's aborigines”, “written by 12 authorities from various States, and illustrated with 14 pages of photographs and 13 maps”. Its glossy paper squeaked between your fingers: 400 “authorities” gave it gravitas, among them government departments, other institutions and individuals — from the president of a Hard Court Lawn Tennis Association to a retired naval commander (writing on “Australiana”) to a professor of nuclear physics. The Encyclopaedia marked a transition from a self‐improving nationalism to a more objectified learning. Its editor‐in‐chief, “Alec H. Chisholm”, insisted that “human interest” and “Austral‐oddities” must leaven the strict adherence to “facts” demanded by the venture. In this subtle biography of Chisholm, Russell McGregor alerts us to the many ways in which his subject marked several such transitions, and tensions, in his career, persona and personality.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 11 May 2020 09:34:04
161-162 [Review] Idling in Green Places: A Life of Alec Chisholmsmall AustLit logo Australian Journal of Politics and History
Review of:
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X