Therapeutic Goods Administration

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Agency overview
JurisdictionAustralian Government
Employees750 (2016)[1]
Annual budgetA$170 million (2020–21)[2]
Agency executiveJohn Skerritt, Deputy Secretary, Health Products Regulation Group[3]
Parent departmentDepartment of Health

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the medicine and therapeutic regulatory agency of the Australian Government.[4] As part of the Department of Health, the TGA regulates the quality, supply and advertising of medicines, pathology devices, medical devices, blood products and most other therapeutics. Any items that claim to have a therapeutic effect, are involved in the administration of medication, or are otherwise covered by the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, or a ministerial order, must be approved by the TGA and registered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.[5]


Structure of the TGA and medical regulation in Australia[edit]

In Australia, medical products are regulated by the TGA and, for controlled drugs such as cannabis, the Office of Drug Control (ODC). Together the TGA and ODC form the Health Products Regulation Group within the Department of Health. The Health Products Regulation Group comprises 11 regulatory branches and one legal branch, organised into three divisions. The Regulatory Services and Drug Control branch is the only one to not be part of the TGA.[3]

Division nameBranch nameHead
Not in a divisionRegulatory Legal ServicesJenny Francis
Medicines RegulationPrescription Medicines AuthorisationGrant Pegg
Complementary and Over-the-counter MedicinesCheryl McRae
Scientific EvaluationMichael Wiseman
Pharmacovigilance and Special AccessElspeth Kay
Medical Devices and Product QualityMedical Devices AuthorisationMeryl Clarke
Medical Devices SurveillanceKate McCauley
LaboratoriesLisa Ker
Manufacturing QualityBen Noyen
Regulatory Practice and SupportRegulatory Services and Drug Control[a]George Masri
Regulatory ComplianceNicole McLay
Regulatory Engagement, Education and PlanningAvi Rebera

The TGA also includes seven specialised statutory committees, which the agency can call upon for assistance on technical or scientific issues.[6] Four other committees also exist to give guidance on annual influenza vaccines, industry consultation matters, and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.[7]

Proposed regulation agency with New Zealand[edit]

In September 2003, the Australian and New Zealand Government signed a treaty to establish a common therapeutic regulatory agency for the two countries. Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency, as it was to be called, would replace the TGA and Medsafe, the national regulator in New Zealand. In June 2011, eight years after the original treaty, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key signed a letter of intent, reaffirming plans to create such an agency.[8]

In November 2014, both Australia and New Zealand agreed to cease plans to create a shared regulator, citing “a comprehensive review of progress and assessment of the costs and benefits to each country”. The joint statement announcing the cessation outlines that both the TGA and Medsafe would continue to cooperate on medicine regulation and that the New Zealand Government would still participate in the, now defunct, Council of Australian Governments Health Council.[9]

COVID-19 vaccine approval and distribution[edit]

See also: COVID-19 vaccination in Australia

Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine[edit]

Wordmark of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine (2021)

On 25 January 2021, the TGA provisionally approved the two-dose Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, named COMIRNATY, for use within Australia. The provisional approval only recommends the vaccine for patients over the age of 16, pending ongoing submission of clinical data from the vaccine sponsors (the manufacturers, Pfizer and BioNTech).[10] Additionally, every batch of vaccines have their composition and documentation verified by TGA laboratories before being distributed to medical providers.[11]

The Department of Health planned the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations in five phases, organised by the risk of exposure. Border, quarantine, and front-line health and aged care workers were vaccinated first, followed by over 70 year-olds, other health care workers, and essential emergency service members. Following the provisional approval of COMIRNATY, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that it was planned for the first group to begin vaccinations by February 2021, six weeks earlier than originally planned.[12]

The first public COVID-19 vaccination in Australia actually took place on 21 February 2021 with the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine at Castle Hill in Sydney. An 84 year-old aged care resident was the first Australian to receive the vaccine. To show confidence in the national immunisation vaccine rollout, Prime Minister Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly also received vaccinations.[13]

On 23 February 2021, Australia’s second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Sydney airport. Health Minister Hunt confirmed the arrival of 166,000 doses, and 120,000 more doses expected to arrive in the following week.[14]

On 9 April 2021, Prime Minister Morrison announced that Australia had secured another 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine on top of 20 million already on order, meaning 40 million doses should be available to Australians in 2021. This was amid concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine, in rare cases, causing blood clots; see section Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine below. The additional doses of Pfizer were expected to arrive in Australia in the last quarter of 2021.[15][16]

On 23 July 2021, the TGA approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers between 12 to 15 years old.[17]

Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine[edit]

Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (2021)Main article: Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

On 16 February 2021, the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by the TGA for use in Australia. The administration of this vaccine is scheduled to start in March.[18] Two weeks later, on 28 February, the first shipment of the vaccine, around 300,000 doses, arrived at Sydney for rollout from 8 March.[19] On 5 March 2021, Italy stopped the export of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia due to their slower rollout of that vaccine in the EU.[20] On 23 March, TGA approved the first batch of locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine by CSL-Seqirus in Melbourne, and 832,200 doses were ready for rollout in the following weeks.[21]

On 17 June 2021, Federal Health minister Greg Hunt announced a rise in the age limit for administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. After new advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), the vaccine was no longer recommended for people aged under 60 years. This advice came after new cases of blood clotting, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), in those under 60 after AstraZeneca vaccinations.[16]

On 23 June 2021, the Federal government released vaccine allocation projections and forecast that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would be in “little need” past October 2021 when all Australians over 60 years were expected to be fully vaccinated.[22]

Janssen COVID-19 vaccine[edit]

On 25 June 2021, provisional approval was given by the TGA to the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, the third vaccine for potential use in Australia. Strict conditions were imposed on Janssen which includes further investigation documents related to the efficacy, long term effects and safety concerns that must be provided regularly to TGA. It is still[when?] not included in the vaccination programme.[23]Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen

See also[edit]

TGA basics

TGA basics

Quick links

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is part of the Australian Government Department of Health(link is external), and is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods including prescription medicines, vaccines, sunscreens, vitamins and minerals, medical devices, blood and blood products.

Almost any product for which therapeutic claims are made must be entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before it can be supplied in Australia.

On this page: About the TGA | TGA corporate information | TGA website

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David Gulpilil takes centre stage to tell his incredible life story in intimate documentary My Name is Gulpilil

ABC Arts / 

By Annabel Brady-BrownPosted Wed 26 May 2021 at 4:37amWednesday 26 May 2021 at 4:37am, updated Wed 26 May 2021 at 3:42pmWednesday 26 May 2021 at 3:42pm

Actor David Gulpilil, an older Yolngu man in shearling coat taking off his akubra, in the documentary My Name is Gulpilil
The film homes in on Gulpilil’s magnetic performances, from his breakout role in Walkabout to his turns in critically acclaimed films, including Rabbit Proof Fence.(Supplied: ABCG Film)


In early 2017, when the legendary actor David Gulpilil was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer and advised that he had only months to live, he told filmmakers Molly Reynolds and Rolf de Heer that he wanted to make one more film.

He wasn’t well enough to appear as planned in Stephen Maxwell Johnson’s revisionary western, High Ground — he requested that his role be taken by Yothu Yindi’s Witiyana Marika, who is a close relative.

But the three decided “that the best way we could go forward was to do his life story, right until the end,” Reynolds says.

The result is My Name is Gulpilil, an intimate documentary about the actor squaring with the end of his life.

Actor David Gulpilil, an older Yolngu man standing in a hospital corridoor, in the documentary My Name is Gulpilil
Gulpilil has been living more than 3,000 kilometres from home in Arnhem Land, as he receives treatment for lung cancer and emphysema.(Supplied: ABCG Film)

“This film is about me. This is my story of my story,” he says at the outset.

Moving between hospital visits and scenic excursions through the South Australian landscape, the film interweaves footage of Gulpilil speaking direct-to-camera with news archives and clips from his movies, reliving his astonishing half-century on screen.

“I like to show my face to remember,” he says.

Viewers are taken on a bittersweet journey — from his debut in the 1971 Australian New Wave classic Walkabout, through some of the country’s most popular and critically acclaimed films, including Storm Boy, Mad Dog Morgan, Crocodile Dundee and Rabbit Proof Fence.

Refreshingly, the movie clips are presented without title cards that name the directors, as the documentary instead homes in on Gulpilil’s magnetic performances.

‘I’m an actor, I’m a dancer, I’m a singer and also a painter.’

My Name is Gulpilil is likely the final entry in a fruitful, two-decade collaboration between Gulpilil and the white Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer and his partner Reynolds, which started with the Yolngu actor’s phenomenal lead role — his first — in The Tracker in 2002.

Play Audio. Duration: 15 minutes 57 seconds
Listen: David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer

Over the four films they’ve made since then — which are widely held up as examples of best-practice collaborative filmmaking — Gulpilil has increasingly asserted creative control over his story.

He initiated and narrated Ten Canoes (2006) — the first Australian feature entirely in Indigenous language — and co-wrote and starred in the semi-autobiographical drama Charlie’s Country (2013) and the follow-up essay-documentary Another Country (2015).

Actor David Gulpilil, an older Yolngu man in a white singlet out in the forest on 2013 film Charlie's Country
Charlie’s Country won Gulpilil the Best Actor award at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard section and the AACTA Awards in 2015.(Supplied: ABCG Film)

It’s fitting, then, that My Name is Gulpilil sees him occupy centre stage.

“It’s like, ‘Over to you, David,'” says Reynolds, who directed the film. 

“It’s a fabulous progression, for all of us really.”

Reminiscing direct to camera, Gulpilil recounts his youth as a tribal man from the Arafura Swamp region in Central Arnhem Land, and how it was his talent as a ceremonial dancer that led the British director Nicolas Roeg to “discover” him as a teen and cast him in the biblical desert horror Walkabout.

The experience ignited Gulpilil’s love for cinema and his abiding diva-like delight in front of the camera.

As he said in his 2004 one-man stage show, “Acting came natural to me. Piece of piss. I know how to walk across the land in front of a camera, because I belong there.”

Walkabout toured the world, which took the Yolngu teenager out of his ancestral home and catapulted him into the European film world — and Hollywood-level excess.

Actor David Gulpilil, an young Yolngu man in traditional paint dancing, in the 1971 film Walkabout
At the time Gulpilil was cast in Walkabout, non-Indigenous actors were still being cast as Indigenous characters. (Supplied: ABCG Film)

He amusingly relates some of his adventures: dining with the Queen, carousing with Dennis Hopper, partying with Muhammad Ali and getting high for the first time with Bob Marley. It was the start of a lifelong balancing act for Gulpilil — straddling two worlds, Yolngu and Balanda — and the documentary emphasises the great personal toll this took.

He’s sober these days, but he speaks openly about his well-publicised substance abuse and his time living in the long grass in Darwin.

“Drinking all this grog, smoking all this tobacco, smoking all this ganja. I ended up good in prison every day in Darwin,” he says.

The film uses audio clips from news reports that run through his numerous convictions, including one for domestic violence in 2011, after he broke his wife’s arm.

“I forgot about her,” he says. “Because I was a drunken, drunken man.

“I’m a drug and alcoholic.”

‘No one else can do the life of me, it’s only me. I can do the life about me.’

Unlike other biographic treatments, such as Darlene Johnson’s 2002 documentary Gulpilil: One Red Blood, or Derek Rielly’s 2020 book Gulpilil, there are no other interviewees or talking heads.

“People, usually whitefellas, sort of speak for or about David,’ says Reynolds, explaining the reasoning behind the “clear choices” that she and David made about how to present the documentary.

“David is the consummate performer, the consummate artist, actor. I thought, ‘What happens if he just spoke for himself?’

“I knew David’s capacity to deliver. I thought, ‘He can hold the screen,'” she says. 

Filmmaker Molly Reynolds,  a white woman in red hat and glasses, and David Gulpilil, the Yolgnu actor and dancer in an akubra
“The terrific thing was that throughout this project we developed a real affection, love and regard for one another,” says Reynolds.(Supplied: ABCG Film/Bonnie Paku)

“David really embraced that, because there were no intermediaries at all. He could just look straight down the lens, and speak it as he saw it. 

“Having said that, he’s also an actor and he likes having a director to support his work.”

Needing to stay close to doctors and hospitals, and too sick to travel to Arnhem Land, Gulpilil is observed living in a modest house — kitted out with posters of his films — in Murray Bridge, east of Adelaide, with his indefatigable carer Mary Hood.

Before each shooting session, Reynolds and Gulpilil would discuss what he wanted to talk about that day.

“I quickly learned to be a different director to what I’d normally be,” she says, describing her role as “sort of the brains trust who holds the information”.

“I was there to support his performance, even though his performance was really him.”

The interviews would run for hours. 

“Then he’d just conclude somehow so poetically, and ‘boom’, we’ve got it.”

Tying the film together into effectively one long interview, the unhurried monologues allow the viewer to really listen, and to sink into the rhythm of Gulpilil’s storytelling.

‘I like to make a film, it’s a history. I like it because it won’t rub out.’

Gulpilil’s role extended far beyond being the star interviewee.

“One day he called me up,” recounts Reynolds. “‘Molly, Molly,’ he said. ‘What I’d like to do is, I want you to wrap me in our film, in my cemetery box.'”

She had to break the news to him: “David, we’re shooting digital, not 35mm … but I got the image he was evoking, and that was really poetic, so we did end up shooting it,” she says.

The shot shows Gulpilil lying inside a coffin with his eyes closed, resting on a bed of unfurled analogue film – one of several dreamy images that appear in the documentary to suggest he is confronting his own mortality, and which often foreground his connection with the land.

“He’s got a true sense of cinema,” says Reynolds.

Actor David Gulpilil, an older Yolngu man standing on empty train tracks, in the documentary My Name is Gulpilil
The film is in English and Mandhalpingu and was filmed and produced on Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Andyamathana Lands.(Supplied: ABCG Film)

The new film sees Gulpilil credited for the first time in his career as a producer — alongside de Heer and his Ten Canoes co-director Peter Djigirr.

Reynolds describes Djigirr as “critical to everything we do with the Yolngu mob up there… He’s been involved in every single film we’ve made in Ramingining.”

Acting as a kind of “pivot point” between the filmmakers and the community, Djigirr also ensured that everything was done in accord with cultural protocols and traditions.

There was another crucial, if sombre, reason for his involvement, says Reynolds: “There was the expectation that David would be dead by the time we finished. So we wanted someone who … would be able to look at the film and determine how David would feel about it.”

That Gulpilil is still alive to see the finished film, walking the red carpet at the Adelaide Festival for the premiere in March, is a surprise twist ending.

“It felt so right that it worked out this way,” says Reynolds.

“One thing that pleases me about the film, for David, is that I think it has cemented his legacy,” she says. 

“It’s the culmination of all that he has done.”

‘This film will remember to generation to generation.’

In 2002, academic and cultural commentator Marcia Langton said: “David has been absolutely critical to both representing Aboriginal people in modern Australia in the cinema … and also, in his own ironic and charismatic way, undermining the stereotypes that were forced on him. He’s a tremendously important person to us culturally.”

Reflecting on this important role, Reynolds says, “I don’t think Australia yet appreciates [David’s contribution] enough.”

“And I really, really do hope that, on behalf of all of us, whitefellas and blackfellas alike, that we do get to that point.

“My Name Is Gulpilil may just be a reference to help us get there.” Name is Gulpilil trailer

Peter wrote in 2014: My Granddad and World War I

One hundred years ago the most terrible of wars began. Up to that time there had been no war like this. I blame the industrial societies for it. In their search for growth potential they did not allow any restrictions; “markets, customers and resources,” was the cry for the “promised land”.

My Granddad, Otto Hannemann, was a carpenter foreman in the growing city of Berlin. Born in the small town of Lukenwalde, south of Berlin, he looked for work in the big city to support his growing family. In the first picture we see him with one of his two daughters and my dad. It seems they are all dressed up for  a Sunday outing. In July 1907 my father was six years old.

July 1907

July 1907

These were the years of peace and  future  well being. I don’t know much about my Granddad. My father seemed to be proud of him and proclaimed that “he built all the bridges” over the railway lines out of Berlin to the South. In the next picture we see him with some workers on a building site. I have been assured that he is in the picture. I think it is him on the far left with his hat on. The occasion is most likely a “Richtfest”,  the celebration of the erection  of the roof supports.


When the war started he was not called up straight away. Only later, in the beginning of 1916, he was called upon as he was a reservist (Landjäger). In the picture he looks rather serious, probably anticipating what lay ahead of him.

Early 1916, it is still Winter

Early 1916, it is still Winter

It is the same picture my Grandmother had in a large frame on the wall of her bedroom. It seems he had his training in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg.

The next picture was taken on the 15th February 1916. He was sending the card as a birthday gift. For whom, I don’t know. You can see him on the left in the back row.with the arrow pointing at him.



In the next picture you can see him second from the left in the centre row. On the back he wrote that those are the men from room 13 and he added, which mystifies me,  “the ‘washer children’ are not in the picture”. Whatever this means?



The next picture could be from the same period. The soldiers in “drill uniforms” usually worn on work duties. It looks to me they are waiting to be issued with food. He is in the centre and is marked with a red cross.


I have no idea when he was sent to the Western Front. Perhaps he was even opposite Australian forces.

The following photo was made on Sunday 14th May 1916. It tells on the sign  “Rat-Goulash on the menu for the day”.

14 th of May 1916

14 th of May 1916

On the 15th of July 1916 he wrote at the back of the photo that he sent to his loved ones, that really they don’t have to eat rat-goulash yet. The picture has been staged he assured the readers, but still there are lots of rats to be seen. And they say Germans have no sense of humour.

I don’t know what happened to him after his arrival at the front. We know from the war reports and history books that it was hell. On the 2. 12. 1916 he fell. Some reports tell of cold and frosty days. He is buried in a war cemetery just  outside Lille.#

Granddad's final resting place.

Granddad’s final resting place.

When the fighting stopped all soldiers hoped they saw the last of it. But the struggle was not over. World War Two, the next conflict, was even worse.

Sacred Space

Series 34 Sacred Space – James Ricketson

Geraldine Doogue seeks powerful connection with prominent Australians through an investigation of their sacred space. Filmmaker James Ricketson talks about his connection to his home in the northern beaches of Sydney.Share

This episode was published 9 months ago.PLAYduration: 27 minutes27m

I, Uta, think this is a beautiful documentary!

James Ricketson

Australian film director

James Staniforth Ricketson is an Australian film director who, in June 2017, was arrested while flying a drone at a Cambodia National Rescue Party rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and charged with espionage, a charge he denies. WikipediaBorn: 1949 (age 71 years), SydneyRelativesStaniforth Ricketson (grandfather)Criminal chargeEspionageEducationAustralian Film Television and Radio SchoolAwardsAACTA Award for Best FilmAACTA Award for Best Adapted ScreenplayAlan Stout Award for Best Short Film

COVID-19 threat to Karla Grant’s mother

Karla Grant’s mother Elizabeth lives at the aged care facility in Sydney, where four elderly residents have passed away after contracting coronavirus. Karla shares how she juggled reporting on this virus, while her mother is in a lockdown and facing the grave risk of infection.
 By: Karla Grant
30 MAR 2020 – 2:49 PM  UPDATED 8 MAY 2020

At the same time, I have been out in the Redfern community investigating coronavirus or COVID-19, for a special Living Black episode that goes to air tonight.

The strain of juggling personal concerns, with the weight of information I learn on the job has been quite a challenge. On occasions the pressure has bought tears to my eyes.

Karla Grant with her three children and mother.

Karla Grant with her mother Elizabeth and three children, Lowanna, John (left) and Dylan (right).
Source: Karla Grant

This virus has halted life as we know it. It has touched all our lives, at home and work.

At my workplace, virtually everyone at NITV is either working on COVID-19 related content, or they are having to adjust ‘business as usual’ to accommodate COVID-19.

With incredible support from my colleagues, I have carried on working as normally as I can muster under these strained circumstances. The toll has been emotionally and physically draining.

My team and I have all discussed the risks we face of catching COVID-19 while filming and editing this Living Black episode.

We’re all mindful, we are putting our lives at risk in order to produce this story. We all have families at home.

Driving us on is the need to report on how the Indigenous community is being impacted by this killer virus. Our people and communities need to know the seriousness of the crisis and what precautions they need to take to keep themselves, their families and their Elders safe.

I am forever grateful to my team for their dedication, for risking their lives to produce this important episode.

I only hope this special episode on COVID-19 sheds light on the dangers of the virus, how it is impacting the world and most importantly, our own backyard.

And while the last week and a half has tested me, I smiled on the final day of shooting.

I was lucky enough to see my Mum and hear her say ‘I love you Karla’.

It was from a distance, in line with social distancing of course, but it was the most moving and touching moment to see the smile on my Mum’s face, to talk to her and to know that she is doing okay.

For me, distance does make the heart grow fonder.


Watch Living Black – Covid19 Special on SBS On Demand. 


If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government’s website, and can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Living Black can be viewed on on NITV (Ch.34) Monday 30 March at 8.30pm, Wednesday 1 April at 9:30pm and will be available On Demand after the broadcast.

Leonard and Elizabeth Jolley

A Marriage of True Minds: Leonard and Elizabeth Jolley

A Marriage of True Minds: Leonard and Elizabeth Jolley



One of the most unsettling experiences in old age is the discovery, after the death of friends whom you thought that you knew well, that you had been unaware of what had been most central to their lives. We live in an age of revelation, when it is easier than it has ever been before to dig up the past; and the public’s ‘right to know’ is freely invoked to justify intrusions into the private lives of the living. The dead, especially celebrities, have always been fair game: ‘uncovering the past’, ‘telling the true story’, and ‘exposing the lies and deception’ are fairly common claims made by biographers. Less common, perhaps, is the claim to have seen someone’s life in its true proportions and to have seen it whole, though that is probably the claim that most justifies the work of a biographer.

We are now at the beginning of what looks like being an Elizabeth Jolley industry, which will come into full production when her papers in the Mitchell Library eventually become available to the public. In 2008 readers might have thought that in Brian Dibble’s biography of Elizabeth they had the full story of her partnership with Leonard; but in 2012 a memoir, The House of Fiction, written by Leonard’s daughter of his first marriage, Susan Swingler (who, ironically, is likely to be remembered as ‘Elizabeth Jolley’s step-daughter’), has revealed for the first time what the publishers call ‘an ethically complex story’ involving not only Leonard’s tangled sexual relationships but his deliberate deception of his family, with the aid of Elizabeth. Because Elizabeth is a writer, and the relationship between biography and art is a real and legitimate area of discussion, in the media coverage of this book more attention has focused on her than on Leonard. The sentimental image of Elizabeth as (in Andrew Riemer’s phrase) the ‘Grandma Moses of Australian letters’ — a guileless and seemingly unsophisticated housewife who surprisingly discovered an ability to write fiction late in life — is now being undermined by an antithetical image of a calculating and heartless writer, whose life was one long deception. One reviewer of the book even goes so far as to call her ‘ruthless’. Neither of these interpretations comes near the Elizabeth that I knew: a sensitive and caring woman, for whom it was easy to feel affection. Nor do I feel comfortable with the summing-up by Brian Dibble that Leonard was ‘egocentric and arrogant’. I can claim no particular insight into their lives and the motives that determined their actions, but because they were two people who mattered so much in my life and have remained so vividly present in my memory, I want to put on record my version of them. It may be that my impressions of Elizabeth and Leonard as I knew them in Perth in the 1960s have been corrupted, in some measure, by my awareness of her later career as a writer and by the recent revelations; but nothing has weakened the feeling for them formed during those years, when my wife and I came to think of them as ‘family’.



The Jolleys arrived in Perth in November 1959, shortly before I returned to Melbourne, having been a temporary Lecturer in English at the University of Western Australia for two years. I did not meet Leonard, who had been appointed University Librarian, until I went back to Perth in 1963, by which time the fruits of his work were already becoming apparent. His deservedly high standing in his profession had been enhanced at UWA where he had successfully fought the battle to get greater library resources. Among the significant events in what was the University’s jubilee year was the opening of the library building — the first time that the library had its own building.

On campus Leonard was an easily recognizable figure, and in memory he was always hurrying along, with the aid of a walking stick. Despite the rheumatoid arthritis that had afflicted him early in adult life, causing swollen joints that must often have been very painful, I never heard him complain. On one occasion when he needed physiotherapy for his hand, he entertained us with accounts of the pretty young female physiotherapist who gave him her hand and exhorted: ‘Squeeze it harder, Mr Jolley, squeeze it harder’. I was fascinated at the first graduation ceremony that I attended to see him clambering on to the Winthrop Hall stage in full academic dress and sandals, the sandals which he always wore presumably being easier than shoes on his feet, deformed by arthritis.

By the time that I came to know him, Leonard had become an influential participant in university affairs. He did not hold back in debate, his opinion carried weight, and his capacity for ridicule made some administrators and academics reluctant to tangle with him. I soon heard stories of his scathing criticism of Academic Board proposals that he did not like. As University Librarian Leonard was entitled to attend meetings of the various faculties. He was probably most at home in the Arts Faculty, where his erudite and ironic contributions to discussion were generally received sympathetically; and some time in the sixties there was a move to put him up for the deanship, a move that was thwarted when someone in administration read the university statute carefully, and pointed out that the dean had to be an academic. He was in the tradition of the scholar librarian, and it often seemed to us in the English Department that, for all intents and purposes, he was an academic colleague. He had a scholarly interest in literature, had always read the latest Times Literary Supplement before we had, was always ready with a literary allusion and would slyly test our knowledge of works that he was most familiar with. So close did he become to the English Department that he did some tutoring (without payment) in an English course that included eighteenth-century authors, in whom he had a special interest. Late in the 1960s, when we invited him to join the small committee that edited Westerly, I don’t think that we knew that he had founded a journal, The Bibliotheck, when he was a librarian at the University of Glasgow.

For someone with his disabilities, Leonard was surprisingly gregarious, and had a wide acquaintance across the university. A criticism that has often been voiced about him is that he ‘did not suffer fools gladly’. Should that be a criticism? Should one suffer fools gladly? I have often wondered how those who so freely make that criticism see themselves. Leonard could produce withering phrases when he felt strongly, and in arguments about university administration he may have ‘tossed and gored several persons’ (as Boswell once told Johnson that he had done). For my part, I always enjoyed talking with him and never felt that he was out to wound, though he was frequently acerbic in his judgments. A Time journalist once wrote of student life at Oxford as ‘jousting with England’s finest minds’; and the word ‘jousting’ seems to me to be exactly right to describe Leonard’s way of conducting a conversation. His face lighted up as he greeted you and produced one of his elegantly turned observations and waited for your reply. He gave the impression of being stimulated by contact with other minds, and he was undoubtedly pleased to display his learning. I had taken it for granted that — unlike myself — Leonard was from a well-educated family; but Susan Swingler reports being told by his sister ‘how ill-educated his family had been and how driven he was’ [p.132]. Knowing now that his grandfather had been illiterate, and his father an autodidact determined that his children should have the best education, I find myself thinking that what some have may have regarded as Leonard’s pedantry or showing-off was a form of self-affirmation.

I quickly got to know Leonard at the university but it was a couple of years before I could say that I knew Elizabeth. The first occasion on which I went to their home was memorable for personal reasons. A few days beforehand, I met Leonard on the campus and told him that I would withdraw from the dinner party to which I had previously accepted an invitation, as Josephine and I had decided to announce our engagement that day. He urged that I should bring Josephine, whom he had never met, and so our first outing as an engaged couple was at the Jolley house in Claremont. It was a very happy occasion, with Leonard toasting us with a shy smile and Elizabeth making us feel that we were old friends of hers. After our marriage at the end of 1965 we lived only a few streets away and saw them often. There was a generational difference, but when we moved to Melbourne in 1970 they were among the Perth friends whom we knew we would miss most.



‘My mother is a very strange person’, remarked Sarah, Elizabeth’s eldest daughter, one day while standing in our garden at Warrandyte….


John Barnes is Emeritus Professor of English at La Trobe University. This excerpt has been taken from an edited version of an essay to appear in Partial Portraits: Essays in Remembering, a work in progress.

You can read the full version in Westerly 58:2.

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FUTURE DEVELOPMENT Stakeholder capitalism arrives at Davos Addisu LashitewTuesday, January 21, 2020

Stakeholder capitalism arrives at Davos

“The 2020 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opens this week with the theme of “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.” More than 3,000 global leaders, including 53 heads of state, will convene in the resort town of Davos on the Swiss Alpine to deliberate on pathways to “stakeholder capitalism.”