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Manning Clark

In their own words

Recorded 1967

Manning Clark
Audio: 2 minutes

I can remember very clearly one episode that made me think about writing a history. It must have been very early in 1946 or very late in 1945. I heard a talk, or rather a reading, over the Australian Broadcasting Commission. It was a record of Henry Handel Richardson reading from The Way Home, the second part of her great trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.

And I think it was about that time that I began to consider very seriously what had Australia done to all those people who’d made the great journey over the oceans in our early history, and all those who were born here. I began to think about a person like John Macarthur, who had come out as a young army officer hoping to found a family, to achieve riches, honour and glory only to be beaten, in part, by the people here, possibly by environment but also by what was inside him that came up to defeat him. Indeed to think about all those early migrants, both the free and the bond.

As time went on I began to think about it in a much broader way, to think of the history of my own country as being caught up with, or concerned with, all those things one had been thinking about for 30 odd years. To see it as a creation partly of Catholic Christendom, partly of protestant Christianity and partly of the great promise of the Enlightenment.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Manning Clark is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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