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The Way of the Reformer: Gough Whitlam in his Century


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Edward Gough Whitlam was born in Kew on 11 July 1916 and to mark the centenary of his birth, the Whitlam Institute has created this very special exhibition.

Gough once said, “Nothing in politics grows in a vacuum… I realise I am but a child of my age”. The exhibition curator, Guy Betts, has built on this thought to explore not only how Gough Whitlam shaped the Australian nation, but how the Australian nation shaped him.

We’re exploring the man behind the legacy – from the bright schoolboy growing up in a fledgling Canberra to the RAAF navigator braving hazardous skies at the height of the Pacific war, to the young father eating spag Bol with his family on the urban fringe. The first five decades of the 20th century were a time of extraordinary social and political change in Australia, and much of the Gough’s legacy of progressive reform has its origins in his life experience through this time.