Aileen Palmer and Maralinga: Honest History highlights reel

‘Aileen Palmer and Maralinga: Honest History highlights reel’, Honest History, 18 October 2016 updated

This material has been made available by Sylvia Martin, author of Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer, published earlier this year by University of Western Australia Press. Aileen Palmer (1915-88) was the daughter of Vance and Nettie Palmer, wrote poetry, translated literature, travelled widely, and took up progressive causes. She was a communist, served as interpreter for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and was an ambulance driver during the Blitz in London. She also organised protests in support of Egon Kisch and was an early leading light of the Melbourne University Labor Club.

In 1957, with money provided by Katharine Susannah Prichard, Aileen Palmer (under the pseudonym ‘Caliban’) published Dear Life, a mimeographed book of poetry. It included a poem she wrote about Maralinga.

appoemSylvia Martin has kindly provided us with a final draft of a chapter of her book which covers Palmer’s political activities in the 1950s and 1960s. The first link above also has an extensive extract from the book. Honest History’s collection of resources about Maralinga is here.

Martin’s book is reviewed by Nathan Hobby in Westerly, Drusilla Modjeska in Fairfax , Phillip Hall in and Susan Lever (behind a pay-wall) in Australian Book Review. Also Ingeborg van Teeseling in History Australia (pay-wall), Christine Vickers on the Freud in Oceania blog, and from Rowan Cahill in Labour History. Martin talks on the ABC about the book, to Margaret Throsby, Phillip Adams, Kate Evans.

Update 10 February 2020: Sylvia Martin on Aileen Palmer’s rediscovered honours thesis.



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