Extract from oral history of Tom Fitzgerald by Ken Inglis

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Records of the National Library of Australia. Interview of Tom Fitzgerald, 01/02/1988 - 3/09/1988. JCPML00658/1. Original held by National Library of Australia TRC 2247

I went to see Lloyd Ross at his home in Hunter’s Hill. A very pleasant conversation. He did say that he was having trouble with his manuscript, that one publisher had insisted on huge cuts in it. And he was very friendly and he let me see some material he had, without offering to lend it to me, and I didn’t ask. But I then decided that in my field of economics there was nothing to be learned from Lloyd Ross. And, as you know, subsequently his book – in a heavily cut form; a form, I feel, which doesn’t do justice to what he quite possibly had – it’s been published. And contrary to most people who seem to me to be critical of the book, I, trying to walk in his steps, I can see how much he achieved in that book. And I still enjoy going back to it.

He had the priceless opportunity to talk to living people who had memories of John Curtin and it is possibly tragic that there may not be records of his notes of conversations with particular people as the basis of the statements he has made in his book. I fear…I don’t know. Now that he’s dead there may be material deposited in the National Library. His material in the National Library is large and it’s not very well sorted out. I’m not being critical.

To go through it would be a vast task. Especially for someone having to come down from Sydney in this new disgusting arrangement where you’re only allowed at best two nights a week, no weekends, though you’ve come from a long distance at expense to work in that place. Yet it is called a National Library.

It’s not in my power to go through all his [Lloyd Ross's] material. It appears however to be mainly the earliest draft, the draft of his typescript, a copy of his earliest draft. And it would take a hell of a long time to go through all that. So his biography is a substantial step towards bringing Curtin to light but I’m also inclined to believe that there’s a large amount of additional matter to be put together.

And I’m being very dilatory, particularly, I think in my implied debt to Elsie Mcleod, John Curtin’s daughter, who’s been most helpful. I’m being very dilatory in getting something out. But that’s that.