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
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