In 1938 sculptor Karl Duldig, his wife Slawa Horowitz-Duldig – inventor of the modern foldable umbrella – and their baby daughter Eva, left their home in Vienna for an uncertain future. They found a brief refuge in Singapore before arriving in Sydney on 25 September 1940. Australia was at war: they were classified as enemy aliens and interned in an isolated camp in northern Victoria.
Karl said, ‘A game of tennis saved my life’. The story follows the family’s narrow escape from Nazi Austria, as well as the recovery of all their Viennese art and other possessions after the war.
Spanning three continents and three generations, it poignantly captures both the loss that families encounter when they are dislocated by war and the challenges they face when adapting to a new way of life.
‘This book offers an insight into the cultural life of Australia at a time of enormous change, politically and artistically; a profound lesson in the experience of emigration in the worst of circumstances, but also the transforming contribution to the life of the nation through the talents of immigrants like Karl and Slawa Duldig.’ – Dr Gerard Vaughan AM (Director, National Gallery of Australia)
- Awarded a Commendation in the History Publication category of the 2017 Victorian Community History Awards.
In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.
Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock," and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.
It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia's only military coup.
Our nation's beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.
Not to read it would be un-Australian
"A sneaky, sometimes shocking peek under the dirty rug of Australian history." - John Birmingham
"Hilarious and insightful -- Hunt has found the deep wells of humour in Australia's history." - Chris Taylor, The Chaser