During the last few years, a number of researchers have interviewed the authors regarding their politics and practice in relation to 'history'. In reflecting upon their individual 'historiographies', they have put the following together. The authors met at Sydney University in the 1960s; Irving was a post-graduate student and a tutor; Cahill was an undergraduate student. They were two of the five founders of the Sydney Free University (1967-1972).
Rowan Cahill has worked as a teacher, freelance writer, agricultural labourer, and for the trade union movement as a journalist, historian, and rank and file activist. Currently a part-time teaching academic at the
|Curtain Call, New Theatre production of 'Reedy River', 1953.|
independent socialists, the first in 1975 was dominated by the academics. The second in 1976 was better prepared and attended, and as well as scholarly papers there were two workshops with trade union activists. There was a third conference in 1977, but as I disagreed with the rigid, narrowly focused and Marxist theoreticism of the leading activists (who insisted on restricting the conference to certain themes about current class politics) I was sidelined. There were no more CACs, and I suspect the main organizers were then incorporated into the Political Economy movement.
SHAPING HISTORY 2: ROWAN CAHILL
SCHOOLING: A couple of seminal events intensified my focus on history. Doing a school research assignment about the age of 13/14, and finding out the 1915 Gallipoli campaign was a military disaster, blunder, defeat and retreat, all the time through early childhood having absorbed through compulsory school Anzac Day ceremonies the ideas of glory, success, military triumph. This left me confused and wondering at the time, about false belief and reality, though I did not have the intellectual tools at the time to give this confusion names or understand it. Later, in my mid-teens, I read for enjoyment an adult biography on the life of one of my adolescent heroes, Lawrence of Arabia. It was a critical biography, raising psychological and sexuality issues, revealing a different person behind the romantic image I had formed from populist accounts. It was a revelatory experience as I encountered critical biography and critical historical research; an epiphany.
|Rupert Lockwood, orating in the Domain, Sydney, early 1960s.|