Gellert enlisted with the AIF’s 10th Battalion within weeks of the outbreak of the World War I and sailed for Cairo in October 1914. He landed at Ari Burnu Beach, Gallipoli, in April 1915, but was wounded and repatriated as medically unfit just over a year later. He attempted to re-enlist but was soon found out. Back home in Adelaide, he returned to teaching.
During the War Gellert had begun to write poetry and his first collection, Songs of a Campaign, was published in 1917 and favourably reviewed by the Bulletin. Angus & Robertson were suitably impressed and soon released a new edition, illustrated by Norman Lindsay.
Gellert moved to Sydney where he taught English at Cleveland Street Intermediate High School until 1922. He then took to journalism and joined the staff at tabloid newspaper Smith’s Weekly. There he was introduced to the circle that included Sydney Ure Smith and Bertram Stevens. Gellert was appointed editor of Ure Smith’s Home magazine and co-editor of the quarterly Art in Australia which he took over following Stevens’ death in 1922.
Gellert continued editing Home until 1942 when it ceased publication. He then became literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, writing the ‘Something Personal’ column in the Saturday issue as well as humorous columns for the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Telegraph. He returned to Adelaide after the death of his wife Kathleen in 1969, living in the suburb of Hazelwood Park. Leon Gellert died in 1977.
Gavin Souter’s biography of Leon Gellert, A Torrent of Words, was first published in 1996 and is released here digitally for the very first time.
Gavin Souter AO was born in 1929 in Sydney. He was educated at Kempsey High School and Scots College in Warwick, Queensland, before graduating BA from the University of Sydney. He joined The Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist in 1947 and worked there for 40 years, serving as a correspondent in New York and London and later as an Assistant Editor of the newspaper.
He is the author of eleven works of non-fiction, including A Peculiar People, The Australians in Paraguay (1968), which won the Foundation of Australian Literary Studies award; Lion & Kangaroo, The Initiation of Australia 1901–1919 (1976); Company of Heralds (1981), which also won the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies award; and Heralds and Angels, the House of Fairfax 1841–1990 (1992), which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.
Gavin was Vice President of the Australian Society of Authors between 1975 and 1978 and Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Films Board of Review between 1981 and 1984.
In 1960, he won the W.G. Walkley Award for Australian Journalism; in 1988 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and raised to Officer level (AO) in 1995; and in 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal.
Gavin lives with his wife in Sydney.
With intelligence, wisdom and wit, acclaimed historian Gavin Souter captures all the milestones of Australia’s first decades, from the constitutional conventions of the nineteenth century to the turbulent years that followed World War I. Painting unforgettable portraits of scores of the most fascinating participants, he traces a national character in evolution.
First published in 1976 and rereleased digitally by Xoum for the first time, Lion & Kangaroo is both profound and insightful. It is impossible to comprehend contemporary Australia without first reading it.
Reviews of Lion & Kangaroo
‘Souter is a writer of great distinction … This book is the work of a man who can impose on the chaos of the past an order that lifts the work into the realms of art without doing violence to the events or sacrificing the standards of scholarship as defined by the academics. It is a great achievement.’ Manning Clark
‘A superb evocation of Australian life in the years between federation and the First World War, showing how imperial sentiment dominated our lives and left a vacuum in Australia’s national identity … Souter’s book is beautifully written, lucid, witty and compelling.’ Gough Whitlam
‘Souter has written a masterpiece … The book, assiduously researched for its making, is materially explosive … Souter lets the material do its own erupting, then shapes it to his magnificent control. A mighty work of history.’ The Courier-Mail
Acclaimed historian Gavin Souter traces a two-centuries’ course of change from Aboriginal habitation to convict farming, wharfage, residential subdivision, quarrying, and eventually what Henry Lawson called Mosman’s ‘red-tiled roofs of comfort’. The story begins with the Borogegal, a clan first encountered by Europeans in 1788, and ends with the centenary of Mosman Council, controversies about environmental planning, and the rampage of a serial murderer.
Mosman deals with all the essentials of its subject (politics, schools, churches, sports, crime rates, garbage and sewerage), but more importantly it offers an illuminating case study from the wide-spread but sparsely documented social class of which Mosman is a microcosm. This life story of a remarkable suburb is notable for its extensive research, vivid detail and engrossing narrative – a combination not always encountered in the genre of local history.
First published in 1994, Xoum is proud to release for the first time digitally the definitive history of the Sydney suburb of Mosman.