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The 2/29 Infantry Battalion formed at Bonegilla in Victoria in October 1940. John Roxburgh, an accountant like his father – of the family firm G.?H. Roxburgh & Co in Albury – enlisted at age 21 as a signaller and was posted to Malaya, arriving in August 1941. “My father did talk about this stuff,” recalls the youngest of John and Marie Roxburgh’s six children, the actor Richard Roxburgh, “but later on in life, mainly after Mum died.”

By January 1942, the Japanese had reached Muar River, in northern Johor, and John Roxburgh and his compatriots were rushed to reinforce an inexperienced and poorly trained Indian brigade defending the area.

The closed meetings were staged at the Australia Council for the Arts’ shopfront Sydney office in Surry Hills, in February and March. For two days, each of nine groups covering a specific discipline – such as literature, dance or theatre – met separately.

In total, 73 peer assessors, acknowledged experts in their fields, gathered to determine which small-to-medium arts organisations best met the guidelines to secure four-year funding, and which had failed or qualified only partially. All this came to a head on May 13, Black Friday, when 53 of 147 organisations that previously received multi-year key organisation funding were told their applications for the new four-year funding program had been rejected.

Fifty essays and dispatches on
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