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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11988


Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (13:56): A much loved and true public intellectual, Professor Geoffrey Bolton, died last month in Perth at the age of 83. Geoffrey had a special connection with the electorate of Perth being a North Perth boy. His prodigious intellect was first recognised as a boy at North Perth Primary School. One of his many books, Daphne Street, was a history of the street in North Perth where he grew up. I never had the pleasure of studying under him at university, but my many friends who did were immense enthusiasts.

Over the years, I benefited from his delivery of many public lectures and from his participation in the public life of Western Australia. Geoffrey was a pioneer in promoting the history of WA, releasing the state from the cultural cringe that undervalued our own history. One of his first books in 1958 was a biography of Alexander Forrest. In 1972 he wrote A Fine Country to Starve in, a social history of WA during the Depression which unashamedly revealed a political perspective. He was also an historian of national standing, writing acclaimed biographies of Edmund Barton and Sir Paul Hasluck. He had a pivotal role in establishing Murdoch University and giving it a direction so that it was not just another establishment university. I pass on our deepest condolences to his wife of 57 years, Carol, and to all his family.