A memoir from the influential and controversial historian of The Australian Legend
Born in 1914, Russel Ward majored in English Literature and later completed an MA. He taught at two leading private schools with conspicuous success as a rowing coach.
In the Second World War, he writes that his military career must have been 'with the possible exception of that of the deposed prime minister, R.G. Menzies, the most inglorious in Australian history'. He spent four years in the AIF but 'never saw a shot fired in anger or a bayonet bared with intent'. He completed his army service working in the Psychology Unit.
His PhD, which examined the lyrics of Australian bush ballads, saw him become a historian. His achievements as a writer and historian were recognised in 1958, when his classic work, The Australian Legend, based on the theory he drew from his PhD studies, was first published.
He was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, a Doctorate of Letters for the whole body of his published work in 1983 and Membership of the Order of Australia in 1987. He was also Emeritus Professor of History and Deputy Chancellor at the University of New England. He died in 1995.