Sue Rabbitt Roff
Sue Rabbitt Roff studied and taught at Melbourne and Monash Universities. Her recent writings on cultural aspects of settler colonial Australia have been published in Meanjin, Overland, the Conversation, the Independent and on Pearls & Irritations. She is currently writing a revisionist history of British atomic tests and nuclear trials in Australia. Her collated articles are at http:/www.rabbittreview.com.
Qui custodiet ipsos custodes? Counting down to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
In April 1949 Chifley agreed to host the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the first time they were held in the southern hemisphere. Six months later, within days of returning to office as Prime Minister, Menzies agreed in principle to UK atomic weapons testing in Australia. Thirty kilotons were detonated at Maralinga in the three months Continue reading »
Archival documents reveal British H bomb was developed in Australia despite denials
Documents found in the National Archives reveal previously ignored proof that promises made by the UK not to test thermonuclear weapons in Australia were broken. Continue reading »
Review Essay: David Kemp. A Liberal State. How Australians Chose Liberalism over Socialism 1926-1966
David Kemp’s multi-volume studies of settler-colonial Australian Liberalism since 1788 have been carried out with support from the Menzies Research Centre and funding from the Cormack Foundation, which is registered as an ‘associated entity’ of the Liberal Party with the Australian Electoral Commission. But does the latest volume forget to factor in Australia’s regional challenges Continue reading »
Ned Kelly – ‘The Man with the Iron Head’
Like Jackson Pollock’s painting Blue Poles, Ned Kelly’s armour has been given a refurb during the lockdown period. Now it’s back at the State Library of Victoria on (free) display in the South Rotunda until the end of 2021. But there are still major unanswered questions 140 years after the Shoot out at Glenrowan about Continue reading »
Rewriting the creation myth of Blue Poles as it approaches 70
Blue Poles didn’t just come out of the blue – or the bottle – for Jackson Pollock, contrary to the ‘creation myths’ that grew up when the NGA paid the then jaw-dropping sum of US$2.1 million for the work. It was at least five years in gestation. Continue reading »
Sidney Nolan’s St Kilda paintings: the ‘innocence’ of a man in his 20s with a wife and two mistresses
The Canberra Museum+Gallery is exhibiting several of Sidney Nolan’s St Kilda paintings until March 30, complete with a Children’s Trail for the nippers. But are the paintings as innocent as the stories that have built up around them – curated by Nolan himself – suggest? Continue reading »
Wiped from history books: Menzies’ plan for the Jindivik pilotless bomber to finance Woomera
Far from being duped, Prime Minister Bob Menzies and his Cabinet went to extraordinary lengths to support the development in Australia of British atomic bombs and thermonuclear components for the H bomb. Continue reading »
It’s surely time to come clean on Australia’s 1950s’ nuclear plans
Why was Britain allowed to break its agreement that it would not conduct thermonuclear tests in Australia? Continue reading »
Whose Kangaroo Was It Anyway?
Q. When are a kangaroo and a dingo worth ten million dollars? A. When they were painted by Britain’s premier equestrian painter, George Stubbs, from stuffed pelts brought back from Botany Bay by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770. Continue reading »
The Ticking Time Bombs of Nuclear Australia
Seventy years ago, in late 1950, a British Admiralty survey party was broiling in the summer heat of the Monte Bello Islands off the coast of Western Australia to report on their suitability as a test site for Britain’s first atomic bomb. Which would make the islands a great deal hotter, and radioactive – as Continue reading »
The war reparations of Sidney Nolan and Benjamin Britten – reckless innocence?
Was the Anglo-Australian cultural cringe solely a one way transmission from settler colony to metropole mothership? I have been re-examining the possibility that Australian creatives might have influenced British culture over the past century, especially since the Second World War. Continue reading »
Lady Chatterley and Alexander Portnoy: Narrowing the Limits of Censorship in Australia
On the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in London it still is not clear why Allen Lane and his fellow Directors at Penguin felt able to print 200,000 copies of the book prior to the trial which they had been clearly warned would result. But they gambled and they Continue reading »
The Conundrum of the London Kangaroos
Seven years ago the UK government overruled the purchase for $10,000,000 by the Australian government of two oil paintings of a dingo and a kangaroo painted in London by George Stubbs from stuffed pelts brought back from the coast of Australia in 1771 by Sir Joseph Banks. But there are two more paintings of kangaroos Continue reading »
D.H.Lawrence’s Australian Climacteric
The Obscene Publications Act was promulgated in England and Wales on August 29, 1959. It paved the way for the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial in October 1960 that cleared Penguin Books of publishing an obscene article without literary merit even though the plot revolved around a sexual act that was felonious for heterosexual couples. Reading Continue reading »
Fast Tracking a National Care Service
We face the immediate future burdened with an out-of-hospital care workforce that is poorly paid, insufficiently skilled and understaffed to meet the caring needs of vulnerable people throughout the life span from infancy and childhood to old age. Continue reading »
How an Australian ‘safety adviser’ detonated the world’s first atomic bomb.
On July 16, 1945, an English scientist, later the founding Professor of Physics at the ANU and Menzies’ safety adviser for the British atom bomb tests, detonated the world’s first atomic bomb at Alamagordo in New Mexico. Continue reading »
Mark Oliphant’s no-show at the British atomic and nuclear tests in Australia – the Fuchs factor
Seventy years ago in mid-1950, weeks after Klaus Fuchs had confessed to spying for the Russians throughout the 1940s, writes Sue Rabbitt Roff. Britain gave up hope of being able to test its first atomic bomb in Nevada and turned to Australia. But Australia’s premier nuclear physicist, Professor Mark Oliphant, was specifically excluded from coming anywhere Continue reading »
Why are files on British nuclear weapons development in Australia being removed from public access at the UK National Archives?
In 2018 the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority( (NDA) started withdrawing an estimated 1,700 files from Britain’s National Archives about the building of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent in the 1950s and 1960s. There has not been any explanation for their removal. Continue reading »