Reprints: The Banning of Redheap by Norman Lindsay

Novel by Mr. N. Lindsay: Request for Banning

''I have not read the criticism referred to of a novel by Mr. Norman Lindsay entitled 'Redheap,' and I am therefore unable to express an opinion on it," said the Minister for Public Works (Mr. Jones) in the Legislative Council yesterday, in reply to Mr. Richardson, who asked whether the State Ministry would request the Commonwealth authorities to ban the book. "The question of the banning of a book," added Mr. Jones, "appears to be a Commonwealth and not a State matter."

Mr. Richardson. - I take it that you mean to do nothing.

Mr. Jones. - You would not ask me to form an opinion of a book from a criticism. If the book comes under my notice I shall read it. The author is an old personal friend of mine.

First published in The Argus, 17 April 1930

"Redheap" Banned: Mr. Norman Lindsay's Novel

CANBERRA, Wednesday - The entry into Australia of Mr Norman Lindsay's novel, "Redheap," has been prohibited on the grounds that passages in the book are indecent or obscene. The announcement was made in the House of Representatives to-day by the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde), in reply to Mr. Keane (V), who asked whether Mr. Forde was aware that the novel contained serious reflections on the morality of a certain country community in Victoria.

"This book has had very careful consideration," added Mr. Forde. "Although at first sight it was a book against which strong objection could be raised, it was recognised that it was the work of an Australian author, and there was admittedly the greatest reluctance to ban an Australian book unless such a course was absolutely necessary."

Mr. Forde said that in the opinion of the three responsible officers of the Trade and Customs department, who read the book, and whose duty it was to make a recommendation to him, the book came within the meaning of "blasphemous, indecent, or obscene works or articles," and its importation must be prohibited. After reading the book and considering the opinions of the officers of his department and of the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, he agreed that the importation of the novel in its present form must be prohibited.

First published in The Argus, 22 May 1930

Banning of "Redheap": Trades Hall Protest.

The banning of certain books and publications by the Customs department led to a discussion at a meeting of the Trades Hall Council last night, when a protest was made against the suppression by the Acting Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Forde) of Norman Lindsay's novel "Redheap."

The following motion was agreed to -

"That this council believes that any ban on literature is a retrograde step, and endorses the principle that all books freely circulating in England should be admitted into Australia, and that this decision be conveyed to the Federal Cabinet for its endorsement."

First published in The Argus, 23 May 1930

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for these pieces.]

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography: "In April 1930 Faber, London, published [Lindsay's] novel Redheap, based on life at Creswick during his boyhood. In May the government prohibited the book entering Australia --16,000 copies had to be shipped back to London. The ban remained until the late 1950s, although the book was readily available in England, and in the United States of America under the title Every Mother's Son (1930). An Australian edition was not published until 1959."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 26, 2009 9:00 AM.

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