Hal G.P. Colebatch rss

Dockside humour

18 July 2015

A reader of my book Australia’s Secret War: how unions sabotaged our troops in World War II has sent me an undeservedly forgotten little volume, Humour is their weapon: laugh… Read more

Some boats shouldn’t be turned back

30 May 2015

Reports that an Australian naval ship, HMAS Choules, has secretively returned about 50 Vietnamese boat-refugees to Da Nang in Vietnam are, if true, so far beyond shocking one is left… Read more

Ends of the earth

18 April 2015
A Wilful Woman James Talbot

Perihelion Imprint, pp.435, $29.95, ISBN: 1482587386

This story, second in a projected series (the first was The Thief Fleet, reviewed in these pages 8 December 2012), invites comparison with Thomas Keneally’s 1967 book Bring Larks and… Read more

The rise of the politicians

28 September 2013
Give Us Back our Country David Flint and Jai Martinkovits

Connor Court Publishing, pp.402, $34.95, ISBN: 9781922168696

This book expresses what is being more and more widely felt in English-speaking and other western countries: government is becoming dominated by a professional political class with little experience of… Read more

The lady means business

4 May 2013

Gina Rinehart: The Untold Story of the Richest Woman in the World By Adele Ferguson PanMacmillan, $34.99, pp 490 ISBN 9781742610979 This massive but unauthorised biography of Gina Rinehart —… Read more

Fight to the death

16 March 2013

Not Dead Yet: Labor’s Post-Left Future By Mark Latham Black Inc Books, $19.95, pp 99 ISBN 9781863955973 This book, by former Labor leader Mark Latham, is schizophrenic. Although not very… Read more

The will to survive

9 February 2013

Pacific 360: Australia’s Battle for Survival in World War II By Roland Perry Hachette, $50, pp 512 ISBN 9780733627040 Here is another great door-stopper of a book on Australia’s role… Read more

Flag of our fathers?

26 January 2013
Eureka: the unfinished revolution Peter FitzSimons

William Heinemann Australia, pp.696, $49.95, ISBN: 9781742755267

This massive book begins by informing us, with questionable grammar and accuracy, that ‘Like most Australians the saga of the Eureka Stockade is in the very marrow of my bones… Read more

A leg at each corner

5 January 2013
Bill the Bastard: the story of Australia’s greatest war horse Roland Perry

Angus & Robertson, pp.288, $27.99, ISBN: 9781743312629

It would be wrong to say the Australian Light Horse campaign in the Middle East against the Turks in the first world war has been ignored, but it is a… Read more

Inside the First Fleet

8 December 2012
The Thief Fleet James Talbot

Perihelion Imprint, pp.554, $29.95, ISBN: 9781469914824

Captain Arthur Phillip, Australia’s first governor, has always had a respected place in Australian history, but has remained something of a cardboard figure in the popular imagination. In this powerful… Read more

Not one of us

21 April 2012

He is the darling of the urban sophisticates, a passionate advocate of green causes, ambivalent about media regulation and he won’t allow anyone to mention Tony Abbott’s name – at… Read more

Australian Books: A world without irony

18 February 2012

Come the Revolution: A memoir By Alex Mitchell NewSouth Books, $39.95, pp 544, ISBN 9781742233079 This is the story of Alex Mitchell, an Australian journalist who spent what many would… Read more

Australian Books: The heroes of Timor

5 November 2011

The Men Who Came Out Of The Ground By Paul Cleary Hachette Australia, $24.99, pp 400 ISBN 9780733628184 Given that it is one of the world’s greatest epics of heroism,… Read more

Australian Books: Cold War fallout

30 July 2011

Dismissal combines in one man’s fate two of Australia’s greatest political convulsions: the Petrov affair and the subsequent inquiry into Soviet espionage in Australia, and the dismissal of the Whitlam… Read more

Australian Books: Sins of omission

25 June 2011

An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark By Mark McKenna The Miegunyah Press, $55, pp 800 ISBN 9780522856170 This book is puzzling. Why has the author, a research… Read more

Australian Books: No regime change here

28 May 2011

The Fable of All Our Lives confirms Peter Kocan’s position as the most powerful and original novelist writing in Australia today. The Fable of All Our Lives By Peter Kocan… Read more

At war with clichés

7 October 2010

Cruiser: The Life and Loss of HMAS Perth and Her Crew by Mike Carlton William Heinemann Australia, $55, pp. 705, ISBN 9781741668391 Early in 1942 the Australian light cruiser HMAS… Read more