White Ghost of Empire
As one of Australia’s most readily recognised historians and public commentators, Geoffrey Blainey speaks frequently on important themes. The exhaustive bibliography which concludes this book is testimony to the many important Issues which have received the attention of this controversial historian, as well as the ready access he has to the ear of government and the popular press. His comments on such issues as national identity, symbolism, Indigenous rights, immigration and the republic have provoked heated reaction from a wide range of critics. To many, Geoffrey Blainey is the voice of Australia; to others he represents more the 'Old Dead Tree' of Henry Lawson's and Manning Clark's imaginings. Yet Lawson, fighting impoverishment and alcoholism, died a sorry apologist for empire. Clark, too, struggled all h is life between the 'Old World' and 'Young Tree Green' - as is apparent in his story of Australia and in his three autobiographies. Nearing the end of his career, Clark confessed that he had never relinquished his ties to Europe(1). Significantly - despite their historiographical and philosophical differences - Blainey has shared a similar fate: the inability to relinquish Australia’s ties to empire and the old world. Comprehension of Blainey's Australianness and his sympathies with Australia's experience of empire sheds much light on his interest in such matters as Aboriginal history, multiculturalism, the republic and independence.
Gare, D. (2003). White ghost of empire. In D. Gare, G. Bolton, S. Macintyre, & T. Stannage (Eds.), The fuss that never ended: The life and work of Geoffrey Blainey (pp. 90-101). Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press.