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The Courage and the Will: The Life of Roden Cutler V.C.

by Colleen McCullough

Over 800,000 men and women served in the Australian armed forces during the Second World War, but only twenty were awarded the V.C. Colleen McCullough vividly shows us the life and times of the young soldier with the dashing good looks, the laconic humour and dislike of pretension who came back from the war determined to continue to support his mother, but, having lost a leg, with no idea how to do so. Yet by the age of 29 he was the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand. His diplomatic career was to include stints to Ceylon, Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956, Pakistan and New York. In 1966 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales; during his 15 years in that office he shared with Captain Arthur Phillip and Lachlan Macquarie, he earned his own niche among them as the `people’s governor’. Much loved, still remembered as a man equally at home in the company of royalty or trade unionists.

His story is embedded in Australian history, and part of it. But it is also the story of a man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to serve his country with courage and dignity in the face of all obstacles. In an age accustomed to public idols with feet of clay, Roden Cutler is the exception: a man whose integrity is as formidable as his humility is astonishing.


01 January, 1999

About Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. A neuroscientist by training, she worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into ten years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the USA. In 1974 her first novel, Tim, was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 and a string of successful novels, including the acclaimed Masters of Rome series. In 1980 she settled in Norfolk Island, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson, and a cat named Shady. She passed away on January 29, 2015, at the age of 77.


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