A recent read , Dying A Memoir by Donald Horne and his wife , Myfanwy Horne , Viking 2007 , brought out the fact that the Northern Territory had influenced his early writing . He recalled that as an 18 year old university student he wrote several sonnets which were published, panned by a poet friend . This response, he wrote , had caused him to brood for several months and he gave up writing experimental sonnets.
However, posted to the Northern Territory during WWll , the images there impressed him so much he began writing about them in letters ; late in life , dying from pulmonary fibrosis , he wondered if he had persisted with sonnet writing he would have produced distinctive works . At this late stage in his life he could have been lying in bed dictating sonnets.
One of his interesting essays in the book further explained the part the Northern Territory played in the education of young Donald . While serving as a gunner in various parts of the Top End, at one stage in a commandeered square of houses near a bombed Darwin hotel , he , surprisingly , received quality overseas publications from friends , monthlies and quarterlies , from Britain and America , which had a big effect on him ....The Economist changed my life .
The Northern Territory, he wrote, added to the list of things in which he was ready to take an intelligent interest .
Other subjects covered in the essays include his views on the media , democracy , politics and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government-all relevant to the not so lucky nation today .
Myfanwy Horne , a former Sydney Morning Herald journalist, was consulting editor to all her husband's published work , starting with the The Lucky Country in 1964. She was involved pro bono in various cultural and social projects , including the photographic exhibition, The Struggle for Australian Democracy 1788 to the Present , which toured in the late l970s.
Donald Horne, born Sydney 1921, diplomatic cadet, journalist , magazine editor and academic , became a household name with publication of The Lucky Country , died 2005 .
Just released is Donald Horne : Selected Writings , edited by son Nick Horne , La Trobe University Press .