Rod Wallace Memorial Lecture: Professor Jenny Hocking

Front facade of the NFSA building with an inset picture of professor Jenny Hocking smiling with her arms folded.
28 November
Arc Cinema
$15 / $10 Friends

Prominent academic and author, Professor Jenny Hocking, will deliver the 2023 Rod Wallace Memorial Lecture for the Friends of the NFSA. Her topic Burnt files, lost files and denial of public access: censoring archives and the falsification of history reflects her long experience of the importance of archives as a historian and biographer.

In bringing to life the story of Gough Whitlam, his government, and its dramatic dismissal by the governor-general, Sir John Kerr, archives have played a central role.

From Gough Whitlam’s early film appearance as a tuxedo-wearing extra in Ken G Hall’s Broken Melody, his spontaneous knighting of Dame Edna Everage in Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, to the Queen’s secret correspondence with Kerr about the dismissal, the collections of the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Archives among others, have revealed a rich history of Gough Whitlam and the dismissal.

Jenny Hocking’s successful four-year High Court battle against the Archives to secure the release of the Queen’s correspondence with Kerr was a great victory for history, a highpoint in public access and transparency and the harbinger of an important recalibration of the history of the dismissal. However, it also highlighted the great damage to history.

The event will commence with a welcoming reception at 6.00 pm followed by the lecture at 6.30 pm. Bookings are essential.


About Jenny Hocking

Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking AM FASSA is an award-winning biographer, Emeritus Professor at Monash University, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and inaugural Distinguished Whitlam Fellow at the Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney. Her many books include the acclaimed two-volume biography of Gough Whitlam, short-listed for numerous literary awards and winner of the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Barbara Ramsden Award. Professor Hocking’s latest book, the award-winning The Palace Letters: The Queen, the Governor-General and the Plot to Dismiss Gough Whitlam, tells the story of her successful High Court action against the National Archives of Australia to release the secret ‘Palace letters’ between the Queen and the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, regarding Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government. 


About Rod Wallace

The Friends of the NFSA established the annual Rod Wallace Memorial lecture to commemorate the pioneering achievement of Roderick Wallace AM. During 32 years of service at the National Library of Australia (1945–1977) as an innovator, advocate and mentor, he oversaw the development of its special collections, including film, music and sound recordings, and laid the foundations that would enable the eventual creation of the NFSA as a separate institution in 1984. Over time, the lecture series aims to reflect aspects of the preservation, accessibility and dissemination of the audiovisual heritage.



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