Cave divers and David Malouf

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Cave divers and David Malouf

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 20, 2006 5:51 am

Last Update: Thursday, July 20, 2006. 2:40pm AEST

Author David Malouf has written poetry, librettos, a play, memoirs and several novels, the first of which, Johnno, has just been adapted for the stage, as part of the Brisbane Festival. David was born in Brisbane in the 1930s, and Johnno is the semi-autobiographical tale of a young man growing up in Brisbane during World War 2.

David remembers the Brisbane of that era as a very different place. "Brisbane was a run down poverty-stricken city," he says, "and in the 40s, there were American soldiers here... America at that time was somewhere we saw in the movies... [then] suddenly all those people were here. We were knocked about thirty years into the future... Brisbane was segregated. American blacks were not allowed to cross the river. The Australian government said, 'we want to be saved, but only by whites.' The Americans said, 'sorry, we've got blacks mixed in with whites,' so the government said, 'OK, the blacks can come, but only to Queensland.'"

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Wayne Harrison
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