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FREE EVENT: Meet the Author - A Secretive Century: Monte Punshon’s Australia

  • 27 June 2024
  • 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Via Zoom
  • 479

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For this special event, Society CEO Ruth Graham will be joined in discussion by Tessa Morris-Suzuki author of the soon to be released book A Secretive Century: Monte Punshon’s Australia.

This new book reveals Australia's modern transformation through the life of an extraordinary woman.

In a life that spanned more than a century (1882 to 1989) Monte Punshon witnessed crucial events in Australia’s modern history. She was a pioneer radio broadcaster, travelled the country with children’s theatrical troupes and defied convention with her active involvement in the underground world of Queer Melbourne in the 1930s. Her love of travel took her to China and Japan, and she studied their languages before becoming a warden in a wartime internment camp for Japanese civilians.

Punshon’s complex personality reflected both her middle-class Methodist upbringing in Ballarat and her restless search for new experiences and for her own identity. At the age of 103 she gained fame for speaking publicly about her lifelong love for women.  

Monte grew up in a secretive century. She lived in a society where appearances mattered, and keeping them up often involved creating silence around ancestral origins, painful memories and personal desires.

 About the author

Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor Emerita of History at the Australian National University, where she held the positions of Distinguished Professor and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow. In 2013 she was awarded the Fukuoka Prize (Academic) for contributions to Asian studies. Morris-Suzuki is the author of 25 non-fiction books, including The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History; Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan's Cold War; Japan's Living Politics: Grassroots Action and the Crises of Democracy; and On the Frontiers of History: Rethinking East Asian Borders. She has also published two historical novels, The Searcher and The Lantern Boats.


This event will be held online via the ZOOM platform.

This webinar will be recorded, so you can either watch it live or watch it later.

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