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Elizabeth Fysh p3

Author of When Chairmen were Patriots Elizabeth Fysh mentions some favorite books…

READERSVOICE.COM: You said that it was an intensely emotional time for Fysh and McMaster in the lead up to the nationalisation of QANTAS by Prime Minister Chifley in 1947. In the end, did McMaster feel that he and the cofounders were robbed, or did he eventually become more philosophical about it, maybe due to his ill health or pragmatism about what was needed for the company’s future?

ELIZABETH FYSH: No, I don’t believe McMaster felt robbed at all. He never had any thought of personal gain at all from Qantas – hence my title When Chairmen were Patriots.

Also, he and Fysh realised that some government involvement was inevitable. I guess they were emotional about because their emotional ties to the company were so strong.

RV: You wrote that he had read and admired Australian literature all his life; like Henry Lawson, Miles Franklin, Adam Lindsay Gordon, and Dame Mary Gilmore. Was he a big reader of newspapers and nonfiction and other magazines, too, and if so, what sort of things did he frequently read? 

EF: That’s something I can’t answer very accurately but I would presume he read newspapers prolifically and I can say that he was intensely interested in aircraft even though he never was a pilot himself.

RV: What are some of your favorite other books? 

EF: I’ve been an avid reader most of my life so this is difficult! But if I had to throw a few books in a carton and leave a burning building, I wouldn’t leave without my Thomas Hardy collection, Anita Brookner books [her novels include Latecomers and Hotel du Lac], Mary Durack’s Kings in Grass Castles, Jill Ker Conway’s The Road from Coorain, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier and maybe even Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels [My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child..]

– see When Chairmen were Patriots, by Elizabeth Fysh, published by Boolarong Press.