Garry Gillard > GG >

Career chronology

See also: CV


Maylands Primary School


Perth Modern School, having gained Entrance in the Scholarship examination. Classes 1A, 2G, 3Y, IVi, Vm.


Leaving Certificate: English 83% Music 82% Maths A 82% French 76% German 74% History 71% Maths B 66%.

I didn't apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship (which I would have been awarded) because I was a teaching bursar, meaning the Education Dept paid me to go to uni/teachers college for three years but then could send me for three years anywhere in the state it liked - which turned out in 1964 to be Narrogin.


University of Western Australia: English I (B), French I (Distinction), German I (Distinction), Philosophy I (Distinction)

Education Department policy meant I was trained as a primary teacher for 2 years; if I passed at uni, I'd then do my practice teaching in third year in secondary schools.

In May 1961 I sat for for the Associateship in Music (performance) and failed, gaining only 133/200. The pass mark, set by the Australian Music Examinations Board, was 150/200. My teacher is shown on the report as Miss P.M. [Phyllis] Daley, 33 Fourth Ave., Maylands East. That address is nothing like where I remember having my lessons. I'm quite sure the Daley residence was in Thirlmere Avenue. It was swallowed up a long time ago by St Anne's/Mercy/SJoG Hospital.


UWA: English 20 (B), French 20 (C), German 20 (B)


UWA: English 32 [Poetry] (B), Greek 1B [for beginners] (failed - dropped out of the unit - Uni Dramatic Society was more fun)


Graduated presumably in early 1964 with a T.C. - Teachers Certificate, from Claremont Teachers College. It would now be a Bachelor's degree from Edith Cowan University.

Teaching at Narrogin Agricultural Senior High School (until end 1967). One English class (2D) and all the languages in the school: French and German, and maybe one class of Music. I thought I was going to be an English teacher, but my ten-year career as a schoolteacher was determined by the Education Department, which decided that I would teach languages.

Enrolled externally in English 31 [novel] but withdrew/failed.


Passed Ancient History 10 to complete the BA.


Education 30 Philosophy (A) for the Dip Ed, first unit, externally, with Brian Hill (who had been an English teacher at Perth Modern School), who devoted a lot of attention to slogans. Brian in 1973 became Foundation Professor of Education at Murdoch University.


Teaching in England, at Fleetwood Secondary Modern School in Chessington, roughly February-June, and then the Northampton Town and County Boys Grammar School. I was probably the only teacher of the French language in England who had never been to France.


Returned thankfully to Australia about the end of July, and taught at Guildford Grammar School for the last semester of 1969 and then got appointed to Christ Church Grammar School from the beginning of 1970, mainly teaching French and German, but at the end of my career at last got to teach English and English Literature (a separate subject). Resigned end of first term May 1974.

Dip Ed: Education 31, Dr Adam; Education 32, Sociology, Peter Tannock. Cs for both. I had already done Education 30 with Brian Hill in 1967.

Changes since 1918 in the curriculum of foreign language teaching in American high schools, assignment for Education 31, Dip Ed, UWA, 1970.


French 32 (Poetry) (B).  I read (Term 1) Mallarmé, Valéry, Zola, Marcel Proust, the 'Combray' section of À la recherche du temps perdu (Mallarmé and Proust with Professor Lawler), (Term 2) André Gide (with Helen Watson-Williams), Les faux-monnayeurs, Malraux, Sartre (these two, M & S, with Bruce Pratt—who had been my Superintendent of Language teaching while I was in the WA state school system, and before that my lecturer in foreign language teaching at CTC), (Term 3) Albert Camus, La chute (with Jones), and Alain Robbe-Grillet, La jalousie (with Bradshaw).  In 'Special Literature' I also read (Term 1, with Beverley Ormerod) Aimé Césaire, Cahiers d'un retours au pays natal, Jacques Roumain, Gouverneurs de la rosée, Edouard Glissant, La Lézarde (Term 2, with Prof. Lawler?) Apollinaire, (Term 3, with Prof. Lawler?) Claudel, Giraudoux, Genêt. I also did 'le background' (or French civilization) with Mme Lawler, language studies with Hunwick, Pratt, and linguistics.


Enrolled in MA Prelim - which became Honours - which I finished end 1973.

English 33 (Drama) with Bill Dunstone (and perhaps others).  Got a B, as I recall (it's not in the transcript—presumably because it became a component of an Honours degree).  [I submitted an essay to Bill called 'Visual metaphor in the plays of Samuel Beckett'.  He gave me B-/B for it.]

Visual metaphor in the plays of Samuel Beckett, English 33, UWA, 1972.


Completed Hons in English, getting an Upper Second (2A). I was enrolled on a fulltime basis although also teaching fulltime at CCGS.
English 31 with Bruce Williams as my tutor. (I attended one tute with Peter Cowan - to avoid Bruce, because he was a friend - but Peter was so dreary that I begged Bruce to let me into his tutorial.)
I wrote one major essay for Bruce, which he thought was worth B minus - which he called an 'above-average' mark in his comment.

Ethical structure in Middlemarch, English 31, 1973.

Special topic in Yeats with Ray Francis as my tutor.
Theory unit, perhaps led by Bruce Bennett, or Veronica Brady, or both. I think it was both.
Hons dissertation on Beckett, assessed by Helen Watson-Williams.

The Divided Self in Samuel Beckett's early plays and Film, Honours dissertation, 1973.


Began receiving a Murdoch Studentship from May 1974, enrolled for MPhil.


Wrote and presented two programs for Singing and Listening, ABC radios, broadcast 6 April and 17 June 1977.

I submitted my Masters dissertation in 1977, and it was accepted by the Board of Research and Postgraduate Studies in September, after which it went to Academic Council and then Senate. I don't know the date of the Senate meeting, but I assume it was before the end of 1977.


First graduation ceremony of Murdoch University, 5 April 1978. The University later proclaimed, and still does state, that I was the 'first graduate'. I graduated MPhil with this dissertation:

Formal Aspects of Fictive Narrative in Africa, MPhil dissertation, Murdoch University, 1977

I gave lectures in the African Literature course (unit), but published only one paper which arose out of the thesis, in an Indian literary journal. I don't think it was refereed, but it is my first academic publication; at 36, a late starter.

'Centre and periphery in Achebe's novels', The Literary Half-Yearly, XXI, 1, Jan 1980.

After completing a Masters degree I thought of going on to PhD and had discussions with Veronica Brady at UWA and was in fact enrolled for the first of three times in a PhD program. My other supervisor was to be Jim Legasse, who not much later died of an AIDS-related illness. I gave up that enrolment on moving to Victoria.

I started working at 6UVS FM, the first FM radio station in WA, in 1977, not long after it was launched on 1 April, and at the end of 1978 the University offered me a fulltime job as Talks Producer, but it was for only one year in the first instance. At the same time I applied for and got a job at Deakin University in Geelong as a Course Developer - a tenurable position.


At Deakin I enrolled for my second attempt at a PhD, supervised by Ian Reid. It was to be on much the same topic as at UWA: Australian metafiction. I had got the idea in the first place from Bill Reid who wrote his MPhil dissertation on that topic at Murdoch, but Ian was also interested in it. I was going to concentrate on Moorhouse and Wilding, Bail, and Carey, who were all emerging writers then. But I did undertake to read 'all' of AustLit as background, and read, for example, all of Patrick White's novels. I gave up this second PhD on leaving Victoria for the South Pacific, but there was one article that came out of it, published in the refereed journal Meanjin (a number edited by Ian Reid).

'The new writing in Australia: whodunnit?' Meanjin, 40, 2, July 1981.

Possibly because I wanted to go to Fiji, I wrote a paper to present at a conference there in 1981. It was published only in the conference papers:

'The implied teacher-learner dialogue in distance education', ASPESA Forum, Suva, 1981.

During my time at Deakin, I had to spend a period at the Education campus, at Vines Road, the former Geelong Teachers College. And Stephen Kemmis coerced me into writing jointly a paper on part of our work there for a high-status refereed journal:

'Collaboration between two universities in course development' (first author, with S. Kemmis and L. Bartlett), Higher Education Research & Development, 3, 1, 1984.


I was Coordinator of Course Development at the University of the South Pacific September 1983-October 1985. While still at Deakin I started the Certificate in Distance Education (from the AECS). I suspended that while at USP, and started the Graduate Diploma in Distance Education from SACAE (which became USA). I finished the GDDE when back at Murdoch from 1986, and then resumed and completed the CDE.

While at USP I wrote for publication three papers on aspects of Distance Education, and contributed a little to the research for a fourth.

'Student persistence in distance education: a cross-cultural multi-institutional perspective' (contributor; first author James C. Taylor), ICDE Bulletin, 12, 1986: 17-36. This article was also published in the Pakistan Journal of Distance Education, II, 2, 1985.

'Distance education at the University of the South Pacific' (first author, with Ivan Williams), ASPESA Newsletter, 1986.

'Improving satellite tutorials at the University of the South Pacific' (second author, with Ivan Williams), Distance Education, 7, 2, Sept 1986: 261-274.

'Satellite and kerosene lamp: distance education at the University of the South Pacific' (first author, with A. I. Williams), ICDE Bulletin, 12, Sept 1986: 57-61.


I got a job at Murdoch University starting 11 October 1985, and stayed there until I retired at the end of 2008. My first job was as an Education Office (Course Developer/Instructional Designer, at Lecturer level) on a 5-year renewable contract. My title was changed from Education Officer to Lecturer in Distance Education on 23 May 1989. I began in the External Studies Unit, reporting to the Director, Patrick Guiton. When that Unit was dispersed in 1994, I was assigned to the Communication Studies Program in the School of Humanities, and was granted tenure by a stroke of the pen of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Jeff Gawthorne.


Enrolled in a Law degree externally from the University of Queensland. Three units: LA104 Introduction to Law, LA102 Crime, and LAxxxContract. As I recall, I passed the Crime unit, but did not attempt to write anything on the Contract paper, tho I attended the exam. The unit was badly taught, and delayed over the summer, during which I couldn't be bothered studying, and so would have failed. I don't think I sat the exam in the case of LA104.


During 1992-3, I dug out some of my 1970s research on African writer Ayi Kwei Armah, and wrote three papers, two of which were published in Span. The third was for a conference in Jamaica, out of which I chickened.

'Narrative situation and ideology in five novels of Ayi Kwei Armah', Span, 33, May 1992: 8-16.

'Ayi Kwei Armah: Postcolonialism/space/postmodernism', Span, 36, May 1993: 320-329.

'Ayi Kwei Armah's viaticum for the journey into space', previously unpublished, 1992.

I tutored in H263 Language Culture and the Unconscious for the first time in 1990, and then coordinated it in 1991 and 1992. As a result of this, I enrolled for a PhD under the supervision of Bob Hodge (who had conceived the course unit).


I had OSP leave in the first semester of 1993 and wrote the whole dissertation during that time, submitting before the end of that year. I graduated in 1994 with a thesis entitled:

Supertext and the Mind-Culture System: Freud, Lévi-Strauss, Bateson, PhD dissertation, Murdoch University, 1994.

I published only one article arising from that research, critical of Freud's frequent use of analogy as opposed to, say, logic or demonstration.

'Mind and Culture: Freud and Slovakia', M/C, May 2000.

I also gave a lecture in April 1994 which seriously undermined Freud's standing - at least in my own eyes:

Lecture on Freud for the Foundation unit Structure, Thought and Reality, 18 April 1994.


From 6 July 1994 I held the tenured position of Lecturer in Communication Studies. The only later change to that title was the addition of 'Senior', when my promotion was achieved in 2003 on my second application.

On 15 August 1994, the Senate entered me into the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The graduation ceremony was in March 1995.

In Vijay Mishra's absence, I coordinated H229 Narrative Fiction I in 1994 and 1995, and H237 Narrative Fiction II in 1995. I then handed my lectures over to Abigail Bray, who encouraged me to turn them into a book. I did write a book I thought of as How to Read a Novel, but it was at last published in 2003 as:

Empowering Readers: Ten Approaches to Narrative, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, South Australia, 2003.

I gave a guest lecture for H288 Literary Theory 1, Thursday 26 May 1994, on the topic:

Psychoanalysis and Literary Theory.


On 27 July 1997 my contract was transferred to the Rockingham campus, as Dean Tim Wright desired - which meant it had to be transferred back again 26 August 2002, when I happened to catch Dean Gary Martin's attention at an opportune moment.

I coordinated H231 Australian Cinema at Rockingham in 1998-99, and then, when Tom O'Regan left, coordinated it at Murdoch 2000-2008. I taught Tom's course for the first year, but then wrote my own course and published it (internally) as a book:

Ten Types of Australian Film, second edition, Murdoch University, 2008.

I continued to publish many short articles on films for ATOM - two in Metro, one in JCPCP, and one in JAS, but mostly for Screen Education - and was even contracted to write a book for ATOM, but the CEO withdrew from the contract due to their financial problems. The plan for the book survives:

Film as Text, ed. Garry Gillard, [not published] 2009.

My pre-retirement contract commenced 25 October 2008 with a termination date of 15 February 2009. My last day on campus was actually 20 November 2008. I turned 65 the next day. My original contract specified that I had to retire at the end of the year in which I turned 65 - so I did.

A story of exile

You could say that my first exile was unwittingly leaving my working-class family when I was allowed to enter the middle-class environment of Perth Modern School, and I became a snob.

I was, however, aware of a sense of being sent away when I was required to go and work in a wheat-and-sheep country town for my first years of employment. It severed my links, social and intellectual, with UWA, where I had come to feel I belonged.

I entered the university sector (when I much later did) not through the usual PhD student/sessional tutor > lecturer path, but as what might be called (by analogy with paramedic) a para-academic (paracademic?)

I did do some tutoring and gave a couple of lectures while working on my first higher degree, but, when I went to work at Deakin University in 1978, it was as a course developer (a tutor-level but non-teaching academic). DU had a system of ‘course teams’ to develop its external courses units, and each one had a ‘course developer’ - a flunky who did the photocopying.

The system already existed when I was appointed, so I had to be fitted in where there was a perceived need - usually doing a job that no-one on-site wanted.

To be honest, I’m actually forgetting most of those five years, but I do remember at one point being sent to the Faculty of Education, which wasn’t even on the main campus but still at ‘Vines Road’ which was where the former Geelong Teachers College had been. (Deakin was created out of the combination of that teachers college with the Gordon Institute of Technology.) So I was assigned to Education, against my objections.

The University of the South Pacific had adopted the Deakin model. When I was appointed there in 1983, I was in charge of course development, but there were already existing dispositions, so that Eileen had English, Som had Education, and so on. Even tho I was nominally in charge, I still took over the bits that no-one else wanted, including Administration and Law and other things I’ve forgotten.

Same when I got to Murdoch. Agnes had Humanities, Mike had Biology etc., Mick had Sociology etc., possibly Nado had Education - and I got what no-one wanted, which included having to deal with Asian Studies. I have never been the slightest bit interested in Asian Studies. I’ve only ever been interested in British and European literature, cinema, and culture - as well as Australian, of course.

It’s only after years of smiling and doing anything that was asked of me by MU (even going to work at the Rockingham campus for five years!) that I finally got to do something I liked. As well as two years of teaching Lit while Vijay was away, and later publishing a book about it, I finished up teaching Australian Cinema - and writing another book about that.

You could regard most of my life as having been spent in exile (as James Joyce liked to think of his life). I spent the best (?) four years of my life aged 20-24 in a WA country town. I then went ‘home’ to the Mother Country, England, which turned out to be another miserable exile (from Australia). Back in WA, aged 26, I had almost completely lost touch with the people I had gone to school and uni with. I got unmarried, got a higher degree, got married again, and did actually tutor part-time at the real University (of Western Australia) for two years - and then off to another exile, in Geelong, aged 35-40. Then even further away, to Fiji, aged 40-42. Back in WA, it wasn't long before I was sent into another professional exile, at Rockingham, at a Murdoch campus which no longer even exists.

It was only in 1995, at 52, that I finally got settle down to do what I should have been doing all along, teaching as a university lecturer in my hometown.

But it was the wrong university, on the wrong side of the river. In exile to the end.

I can’t say there hasn’t been a lot of variety :)

Garry Gillard | New: 8 November 2017 | Now: 5 February, 2022