A Better Place to Live

Making the Top End a new kind of community
by Diana Giese

Publication Details:
June 2009
Paperback 120pp
RRP: $22.95
ISBN 9 78174008 5212

When Harry Giese arrived in Darwin with his family in 1954 to take up his new job as Director of Welfare, his first office was an unlined hut hidden by the foliage of a luxuriant allamanda vine. His staff sweltered in the heat. Darwin was an outpost, ruined by bombing raids, in a country that was itself searching for a role in the post-war world.

By the end of the 1960s, it was the fastest-growing city in Australia. In this affectionate portrayal of her family's involvement in the process of reconstruction that led to self-government, Diana Giese, daughter of Harry and Nancy, both post-war pioneers, shows how the people of the Top End, of many different backgrounds, created a new kind of Australian community.

Throughout, the author draws on her skills in community history to capture the voices and reminiscences of those who contributed to this transformation. She records how a frontier province became a substantial unit of the Australian Commonwealth: A better place to live.

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