The Place on Dalhousie
by Melina Marchetta
Penguin Random House
Published April, 2019
Library in Bloom: the disintegration and regeneration of a book collection
I count nine book bays. Seven shelves each. From floor to ceiling with not a bit of wall to spare. There are brimming boxes under a table which takes up much of the floor space; will I get to them?
Turnings and Over-turnings in Glebe
Since I did not grow up here, and arrived knowing no-one, Glebe was both without memory and emphatically real. The new resident seeks not only the stories of a place, but also its genii loci and forms of unconcealment. Something small becomes the proclamation of larger matters, and historical consciousness prompts random and puzzled affections. There’s a passageway here that reminds me of John Berger’s notion of ‘the shape of a pocket’. For Berger this term refers to hidden-away communities and small spaces of cultural resistance, but it also to the effects of painting in its ritual role as affirmation.
Lebs and Punchbowl Prison
‘In this essay, I will tell you about the ‘was once’ generation: my generation of young men at Punchbowl Boys High School who the teachers, politicians, community leaders, parents, and local law enforcement decided needed to be locked up, for the safety of our community and for our own safety. I will also tell you about the journalists and filmmakers who believed we needed to be put on the front pages of the newspapers and on prime-time television. Who were we? The scholars and academics will tell you we were working class and underclass Australian Muslim males from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, but on the streets of Western Sydney we went by another name – Lebs.’
Stranger In The House
The Slasher case begun in early 1956, when a cluster of disparate reports of prowler activity, break and enters and assaults on sleeping women were registered in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area. The attacks increased in number, then dropped off, then spiked again in late 1958, and continued until an arrest was made in April 1959. The Sydney papers, particularly the afternoon tabloids Sun and Daily Mirror went large on the ‘Kingsgrove Slasher’ case right from the beginning, and much to the annoyance of police, that term stuck. The perpetrator, one David Joseph Scanlon, was ultimately charged with eighteen counts of break and enter and assault. The trial was a media sensation, and Brian Doyle, arresting officer and leading prosecution witness, went from being an obscure suburban detective to a national media figure.