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Location: New South Wales, Australia

Born in Yorkshire, raised in Australia. I love Poetry, Guitar (especially Spanish classical & Delta Blues), Tudor, Jacobean and Stuart England, Archaeology & good Ale. I edit The Flea & The Chimaera (with Peter Bloxsom), and Shit Creek Review

Sunday, February 03, 2008

About Tales of The Royal George

This blog is an attempt to gather and preserve documents, photographs, narratives and other materials concerning to The Royal George Hotel, Sydney: particularly those items which relate to the "Young Push" who started frequenting The George in the 1960s. I am interested too in their further adventures beyond The Royal George, and also in their antecedents, the Push (or the "Old Push" as they came to be called). Any readers of this journal who have memories, photographs, documents or tales of this era are invited to contact me at the email address listed beneath the Links section in the left-hand column of this page.

My involvement in producing this blog is very intermittent. There are many more stories that I can, and hopefully will, write about this era. But I have to earn a living, and on top of that I edit three online literary magazines (The Flea, The Shit Creek Review and The Chimaera) which seem to snaffle up most of my spare time. I will do my best to add to Tales of The Royal George as I find time or occasions.

The intent in preserving these tales of the past is to help preserve them from disappearing into the foulness of time, and to entertain. Both the Old and Young Push represented significant eras in Australian social and intellectual history, and from their ranks sprang many of those individuals who were important influences on the way Australia has developed. As for me: I was not a person of any significance, but I did observe and participate in a fair slice of the activities at The George, and I did meet some of those who went on to contribute to Australian culture. About others whom I did not meet, I heard intimate (if sometimes apocryphal) stories, for The George was, if nothing else, an incubator of steaming gossip. Perhaps collecting this material here will preserve some that might otherwise have been lost, and provide an interesting read for casual surfers-by. I hope too that some of those who lived through the Roaring Days at The Royal George might have their memories jogged, and be reminded of their friends and exploits from that now ancient era.

The Royal George—now gentrified and renamed "The Slip Inn"—in 2004

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Death of Paddy McGuinness

''...McGuinness's contribution was a different one and, to those of us in the Labor Party, deliciously counterproductive. He was part of a group - I call them the Angry Right - who locked John Howard into policies that ensured he was, by early 2007, seen as out of touch and out of date: climate-change denial, support for George W. Bush in Iraq, loss of workers' rights...

"McGuinness was haunted by ghosts. I always had this feeling in conversation with him. Women from the Push days, his Labor Party buddies from the past, above all the imaginary leftists who seemed to occupy a large part of his mental space. The truth is, in reality they barely existed. But he's given them the last laugh anyway."

—Bob Carr, 'Paddy had lost the plot'.

"...It would be hard to imagine a more diverse crowd than the one that gathered yesterday to farewell a man who was described as a loyal and loving friend, and as a writer whose influences included anarchism, libertarianism, the sexually liberated beliefs of the Sydney "Push" of the 1950s, and free-market economics.

"Among the politicians present in the 300-strong crowd were former prime minister John Howard and his leading consigliere, former health minister Tony Abbott. From the world of newspapers came a gallery of noted hacks, including Frank and Miranda Devine, Bob Ellis, Piers Akerman, Bettina Arndt, Paul Kelly, Max Walsh and Ross Gittins.

"Distinguished Australian poets included Les Murray—poetry editor at Quadrant, which McGuinness edited for the last decade of his life—and Geoffrey Lehmann...

[Photo caption in print edition: "In attendance: movie producer and former member of the Sydney Push, Margaret Fink..."]

"...It would be no stretch to argue that McGuinness's funeral marks a kind of terminus in Sydney's intellectual history.

"He was possibly the last living embodiment of the free-thinking tradition of ideas associated with John Anderson, the Scottish philosopher and Sydney University professor who dominated the city's intellectual currents from the early 1930s to the late '50s..."

The Australian