Any of us who were around forty years ago will know what this coming week is: the fortieth anniversary of the Dismissal. It is also one year today since Gough’s State Funeral: Gough Whitlam memorial service – in and out of Diggers. On the Dismissal I have posted, among others, Gough – a view from Wollongong.
Last night I posted on Facebook: “The entire Whitlam period coincided pretty much with my working at TIGS, with the denouement happening in my first year at Wollongong High. It’s like part of my own life has died today in a way…” Also: “Great to see all Parliament rising to the occasion today in the Condolence Debate.”
Someone I taught at TIGS 1971-1974 posted: “It has just occurred to me that myself, [x] and many others like us would have accepted our scholarship and been teachers because our parents could not have afforded to pay Uni fees. I believe I owe my professional career for what it is worth to EGW.” He added: “And it has just occurred to me Neil James Whitfield, that I was sitting my HSC English exam when Gough was dismissed. I recall a teacher walked into the room and wrote this on the blackboard. He then turned and walked out. I recall looking up and thinking “what’s going to happen now”…”
I by then was at Wollongong High. I had forgotten that November 11 coincided with HSC English, but I do recall the shock of the Dismissal. There were significant Wollongong connections too. I see this in Whitlam’s first post-Dismissal press conference:
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’d probably agree that you enjoy a fight. Are you looking forward to the election campaign and when will you officially launch the campaign?
WHITLAM: I can’t be sure when I’ll be making my first Public speech but I think I will be having something of political relevance to say at the Liverpool town Hall on Thursday when I’m at the naturalisation and at Wollongong on Saturday night when I’m at a social function then. Certainly I like a fight. I’ve won a fair number of fights and I expect to win this one. I’ve never known so clear cut an issue. It’s not just what happens to my Government, what’s been done to my Government, it’s what can happen to any Government which thereafter is given a majority in the House of Representatives by the electors and which retains that majority in the House of Representatives. Parliamentary democracy is at stake in Australia here….
That Saturday after the Dismissal which Whitlam refers to must have been when I and so many others – colleagues from Wollongong High among them – stood chanting “We want Gough!” at the top of our voices outside Wollongong Town Hall.
See also Whitlam Dismissal site.
Barely qualifying as a memory as it is just last year is a much more local matter: the completion of Wollongong’s GPT Centre. See Wollongong transformed – 18 – it’s open! and Wollongong transformed – 21 – the new centre again.
I mention it because in today’s Sydney Morning Herald I read that it received a national award from the Australian Institute of Architects.
Winners of the 2015 National Architecture Awards have been revealed by the Australian Institute of Architects at an awards ceremony in Brisbane, celebrating the very best of Australian architectural design for 2015.
A total of 42 projects shared the 46 honours offered by the AIA as part of the national awards program, which saw firms from every corner of the country come together to celebrate contributions from Australian architects to the built environment.
Twelve named awards were handed out across 14 categories on the night which included an even spread of architecture practices and representation from different parts of the country.