Professor Geoffrey Blainey is one of Australia’s best-known historians and the author of 26 books, including The Tyranny of Distance, now in its 20th edition. The title has given Australia one of its most widely-quoted phrases. His latest book is A Shorter History of Australia. His 10-part televised history of Australia, The Blainey View, was shown on the ABC.
For 20 years he held chairs in economic history, and later in history at the University of Melbourne. He is currently Chancellor of the University of Ballarat. He has been chairman of many organisations, including the Australia Council, and is now one of the federal representatives on the new Centenary of Federation Council.
In 1988 he was awarded a gold medal for “excellence in the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of mankind” at the United Nations in New York.
“I was a member of the 2nd Geelong West Wolf Cub Pack. We met on a weeknight in a strange underground room – I think it was called the Den – and we were all freshly scrubbed and dressed in uniform for the occasion. This was 1939 and 1940. My only complaint was that we were always being taught how to tie rope into knots. (Two years later, at Ballarat, I almost joined the Sea Scouts, but they too were always tying knots.) I retain a strong respect for the Scout Movement – the knots aside. I hope it continues to thrive. It can contribute a lot to Australia.”