4:30PM - 6:30PM SATURDAY 16 JULY -

The Lock-Up and Newcastle Writers Festival present Looking forward, looking back: Discussions on social and cultural change in the era of Whitlam and beyond.


4.30PM – 6.30PM SATURDAY 16 JULY 2016

In 1972 and 1974 Edward Gough Whitlam first as first as opposition leader in 1972 and then as Prime Minister in 1974, delivered two of the most iconic speeches in Australian history. The philosophies expressed in those speeches went on to inform a raft of radical policy shifts implemented by the Whitlam government.

Gough Whitlam and his policies continue to polarise opinion, however there is no doubt there is an Australia before and after 1974. This panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition It’s Timely Too and in partnership with Newcastle Writers Festival, invites the panellists to consider how changes to public education and health, women’s rights, Indigenous land rights, multiculturalism and an increased focus on regional Australia, have impacted on their personal and professional lives and to consider how future policy changes may shift what we consider to be the Australian way of life.

Rosemarie Milsom, Director Newcastle Writers Festival

Gary Carsley – curator, artist, writer and cultural commentator
Ray Kelly Snr – Indigenous academic, cultural and linguistics expert, writer and storyteller
John Beach – Principle Newcastle East Primary School
Wendy Guest – journalist, freelance writer and co-editor Not Just For this Life: Gough Whitlam Remembered

The event will also be the official launch of the book Not Just For this Life: Gough Whitlam Remembered edited by Wendy Guest and Gary Gray. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the panel discussion.

It’s Timely Too is a Blacktown Arts Centre touring exhibition in collaboration with The Lock-Up and in partnership with The Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney.



ROSEMARIE MILSOM is an award-winning journalist who has mainly worked with Fairfax Media in Newcastle and Sydney. Her work has also been published in Vogue Australia and the Qantas in-flight magazine. She is the founding director of the Newcastle Writers Festival, which will celebrate its fifth year in 2017. Rosemarie has just started working for 1233 ABC Newcastle as a casual presenter on Mornings.   

GARY CARSLEY is an internationally active artist, curator, cultural commentator and academic.  His areas of research include queer theory, alternative histories and postcolonial studies.  His studio practice is characterised by hybridising established modes of imaging such as painting and drawing with more recent digital and immersive technologies to produce complex visually rich spatial environments.  He is currently investigating neo-medievalism and the Hortus Conclusus (enclosed garden) and has a specialist interest in the hand made as a sight of resistance to uniformity and as a way of renegotiating the digital and virtual. 

JOHN BEACH has been Principal of Australia's oldest school, Newcastle East Public, for fifteen years, and a teacher for forty-two years.  Educated during the Whitlam years, he is well-placed to observe the social changes and attitudinal shifts of the seventies.  A history graduate, Beach has a long interest in how Australia emerged from its insular conservatism into an engaged, modern, multi-cultural state, respecting its history ad its first people.   

RAY KELLY SNR was born and raised in Armidale and is affiliated with the Thangttti and Gumbayngirr people. Ray is an Indigenous cultural and language expert, an academic and a writer and storyteller who has been Involved in Aboriginal Community Development for over thirty years, delivering and advising on a broad range of areas including arts and culture, health, environment, management and administration. Ray is extremely active in the Hunter Region community and has served on a range of local, state and national boards as well as in senior management positions. Through the University of Newcastle he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2006 and has recently completed his PhD on Aboriginal languages. 

WENDY GUEST began her journalism career at the Newcastle Sun – six months before it closed its doors. Undaunted, she moved to the Canberra Times and then to a career that spanned politics – she was a media adviser to Premier Barrie Unsworth in the ‘80s and Paul Keating in the 90’s – and public relations. In 2000 she moved to Chicago, working in corporate education in the US, before returning to Sydney in 2013. Wendy currently works as a freelance writer and is the co-editor of the book Not Just For this Life: Gough Whitlam Remembered.

IMAGE: Gough Whitlam delivering a speech at the Newcastle Workers Club, 1993. Image courtesy of Fairfax Media.