Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk | 19 December 2014
The chasm between Catholics and Protestants is thankfully unknown to my children. Paul Collins' new book A Very Contrary Irishman - The Life and Journeys of Jeremiah O'Flynn is a labour of love that presents a very driven man of the colonial era whose actions - and attributed actions - changed lives and helped shape our culture.
Irfan Yusuf | 19 December 2014
Christmas is a fabulous time to spend at home. Even those of us who aren’t terribly Christian can enjoy a free holiday with friends and family. And if you like choral music, you can always come along with me and a Jewish mate to St Mary's Cathedral. But last Christmas I found myself in Taiwan.
Tim Kroenert | 18 December 2014
It's December, and film writers everywhere are putting together their lists of the best films of 2014. But best-of lists are so subjective, so here's our take: ten films from 2014 that are guaranteed to get you thinking, and talking!
Andrew Hamilton | 18 December 2014
Shady family members who turn up uninvited, unresolved sibling rivalries, end of working year pressures. In a way they recall the organisational disarray of the first Christmas... A rocky engagement, the man discovering that his fiancée was pregnant with a child that was not his, a long march to fill in tax forms, having to give birth in a paddock and suffer an invasion from disreputable shepherds and odd foreigners.
Richard Leonard | 18 December 2014
At a Christmas party, I met the charge nurse of the maternity ward. Pleading that because I was a celibate I would never be at a birth, I enquired if I might be allowed to come and see'. … Mary and I met six hours into her labor, which was an unusual circumstance within which to meet your birthing partner.' She had very little small talk, maybe because she had no breath at all.
Gillian Bouras | 17 December 2014
A soldier's life is usually one of bursts of brief action followed by extended periods of drudgery and boredom, and never was this more true than during this dreadful war of attrition that dragged on apparently interminably between 1914 and 1918. A book titled Aussie was published in 1920 as a bound collection of AIF soldiers’ own paper of the battlefield, wholly written, illustrated and printed in the field.
Marcelle Mogg | 17 December 2014
In his Mid Year Financial Economic Outlook statements this week, Treasurer Joe Hockey construed 'The Economy' as a rare prized orchid, requiring careful nurturing. The orchid is to be admired, and the gardener more so for the skill, expertise and craft that gives rise to such a beautiful creation. The trouble with treating The Economy like a prized bloom is that we fail to recognise that the it exists to serve people.
Brian Doyle | 16 December 2014
I can tell you that Fitzroy always was and will be a wry wilderness; Every colour and ethnicity and language you can imagine lives there... And now I see wee quiet shy Mary MacKillop there, minding a shop. She is fourteen. Her people are Scottish. She will be legendary, later.
Zac Alstin | 16 December 2014
The siege at the Lindt chocolate shop in Sydney's Martin Place is frightening for all Australians. It also obscures the progress of relations between Muslims and other Australians, as such events have such an unfortunate polarising 'us and them' effect.
Michael Mullins | 15 December 2014
Our fickle politics shows that the majority of Australians are prepared to gloss over serious issues such as how to answer the life and death needs of the refugees whose lives have been disrupted by the wars we wage. Politicians are driven by opinion polls, and most corporate sponsors are inclined to follow their lead. That is why Saturday's 63rd Blake religious art prize may be the last.
Catherine Marshall | 12 December 2014
On Christmas Eve I will deliver, for the twelfth year in a row, an iced, naively decorated fruitcake to my oldest and dearest Australian friend, Enid. I will pull up into the driveway of her brick home. She will open the front door before I have even knocked, and before she’s even kissed me hello will tell me how beautiful the cake is and how she couldn’t possibly cut into it.