Power Without Glory
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The work was originally self-published, with illustrations by Hardy's friend and fellow Communist "Amb" Dyson, with the rubric "a novel in three parts by Frank J. Hardy, Ross Franklyn". "Ross Franklyn" was the pseudonym Hardy had always used prior to Power Without Glory. This combination of real name and pen name was also used in Hardy's 1961 book The Hard Way which describes the difficulties "Ross Franklyn" had in having the book published, and the problems Frank Hardy faced in answering the criminal libel charge against him arising from the publication.
The novel is a fictionalised version of the life of Melbourne businessman and Australian Labor Party power-broker, John Wren. It is largely set in the fictitious Melbourne suburb of Carringbush, which is based on the actual suburbs of Abbotsford and Collingwood. In the novel, West is involved in criminal activities and political machinations, particularly related to gambling.
The book includes many characters based on other important social and political figures in Victoria and Australia, including:
- Victorian Premier Sir Thomas Bent;
- Prime Minister James Scullin;
- Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix (the character "Archbishop Malone");
- Police commissioner Thomas O'Callaghan;
- Detective David O'Donnell;
- Socialist ALP politician and one-time deputy leader Frank Anstey (the character "Frank Ashton");
- Ex-politician and notorious lawyer David Gaunson (the character "Davey Garside");
- Returned soldier and racing official Gilbert Dyett (the character "Godfrey Dwyer");
- Boxer Les Darcy;
- Gangster Squizzy Taylor (the character "Snoopy Tanner"); and
- Queensland Premier, and later federal Treasurer, Ted Theodore.
A fuller list of characters and locations is provided in the following section "Characters and real-life equivalents".
The barely-disguised inspiration for the "West" character is made clear by the fact that West, like Wren, has a brother called "Arthur" who spent time in jail for aiding and abetting a crime of rape. (Wren's other brother, Joseph, also appears in the novel.) Wren's wife Ellen (neé Mahon) appears as "Nellie", and there is mention in the novel of his children: his violinist daughter Margaret, his son John Jr., and another daughter, who becomes a Communist, resembles Wren's radical daughter Mary, who was an active member of the communist front organisation the Movement Against War and Fascism.
The novel is partly set during World War I, and the debate about conscription is a major issue in the novel. John West is a fierce patriot who supports conscription, and his sometimes fiery arguments with the Irish-Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, who opposes conscription on the grounds that to send men to aid England was contrary to his, and Ireland's, historical enmity with that country.
Characters and real-life equivalents
BLAIRE — (Sir) Thomas Blamey, army general and Victorian Police Commissioner 1925 - 1936
BOND, Thomas — (Sir) Thomas Bent, 32nd Premier of Victoria 1904- 1909
BRADLEY, Richard — Richard Buckley, notorious criminal
CALLINAN, Police Commissioner — Thomas O'Callaghan, Police Commissioner 1902 - 1913
CAMERON — Campbell, Cycling Promoter Exhibition
CONN (Archbishop) — Thomas Carr, Catholic archbishop of Melbourne preceding Daniel Mannix
CORY, Pat — Pat Cody of Australian Distilleries
CUTTING, Slasher — Snowy Cutmore, gunman and thief
DARBY, Lou — Les Darcy
DAVISON, Alfie — (Sir) Albert Dunstan, conservative Victorian Premier 1935 -1943
DEVLIN, Dr. — Sir Hugh Devine, surgeon
EVANS, Bill — Bill Egan, bricklayer
HORAN, Ned — Ned Hogan, twice Labor Premier of Victoria
JOGGINS, Rev. — Rev. William Judkins, prominent anti-vice crusader and preacher
LAMB, Richard — Dick Lean, manager of Melbourne Stadium
LAMBERT, Percy — Percy Laidler, bookshop owner & theatrical supplier, socialist organiser and orator
LAMMENCE, Frank — Frank Laurence, former secretary of John Wren
LASSITER family — Loughnan family
LEVY, Ben — Ben Nathan, co-founder of Maples furniture and music store chain
LEWIS, Piggy — Piggy Ryan, alias Williamson, gunman and stand-over man
MALONE, Daniel — (Dr.) Daniel Mannix, Catholic archbishop of Melbourne
MANSON, "Plugger" Pete — "Plugger" Bill Martin, cyclist
MORAN family — Mahon family
MORTON, Jim — Jim Morley, communist organiser; journalist with the 'Morning Post'
MURKETT, Kenneth — (Sir) Keith Murdoch, journalist & newspaper proprietor
O'FLAHERTY, Dave — Detective O'Donnell, Chief of the Gaming Squad
PARELLI — Pellegrini
PARKER, Oliver — Clyde Palmer, journalist on The Truth newspaper
REAL, T.J. — T.J. Ryan, Premier of Queensland
REDMON, Ron — Ron Richards, Aboriginal boxer
RENFREY, Sugar — Robert "Sugar" Roberts, Mayor of Collingwood
ROBINSON, Barney — Barney Reynolds, a member of John Wren's staff
SANDOW — Ad Santel, champion wrestler
SCOTT, Bob — possibly another name for Bob Solly (see JOLLY, Bob)
SOLOMON, Sol — Sol Green, noted bookmaker
SQUEERS, Bill — Bill Squires, boxer
SUMMER, James — James Scullin, Labor M.P., Prime Minister 1929-32
SWINTON — (Sir) George Swinburne, engineer, politician and philanthropist
TANNER, Snoopy — Squizzy Taylor, gunman and thief
THURGOOD — "Red Ted" Theodore, Labor Premier of Queensland 1919-1925, federal Treasurer, mining and business magnate
TINN, Ted — Ted Thye, wrestler
WATTY, Jim — Jack Welsh, Secretary, Milk Distributors Association
WEST family — Wren family
WOODMAN, Paddy — Paddy Boardman, associate of Squizzy Taylor
Judges not mentioned by name
Judge Neighbour — First Criminal Case
Judge Gavan Duffy — Milk Board Royal Commission
RALSTONE — Richmond
APSOM — Epsom Racecourse, Mordialloc
BAGVILLE STREET — Sackville Street, Richmond
JACKSON STREET — Johnston Street, Fitzroy & Collingwood
RICHTON - Richmond Racecourse
SILVER STREET — Gold Street, Collingwood
Hardy was tried for criminal libel in 1951 because of the depiction in the novel of "West's" wife having an affair but he was acquitted on the grounds that the work was, as he said, a mixture of fact and fiction. It was the last prosecution for criminal (as opposed to civil) libel in Victoria.
The case attracted enormous publicity, coinciding as it did with the anti-Communist referendum and served mainly to give the novel and the negative portrayal of Wren greater prominence. Hardy later detailed his experiences during the case in his book The Hard Way.
Hardy's inclusion of Ellen's ("Nellie's") affair with bricklayer Bill Egan, who worked on the Wren mansion, was based on Wren's own belief that his daughter Angela was the illegitimate product of that affair. Just prior to the book's first (underground) publication, Hardy was wracked with uncertainty as to whether it was ethical to include the episode: he was worried about the book's impact on the "living innocents". He was eventually convinced to include it by the former Communist Party leader JB Miles and, it seems, Angela herself, who is portrayed in the book as "Xavier". (Hardy was originally going to call the character "Annette" but changed the baby's sex to provide another layer of protection for Angela.) The real-life Angela committed suicide in 1956 and although Hardy's latest biographer Jenny Hocking (professor) was unable to find concrete evidence for Angela's assistance, she believes that it was provided.
In 1976, the novel was made into a 26 episode ABC-TV series starring Martin Vaughan as West. While "Nellie's" affair with the brickie is depicted, the affair does not produce a child. The series won numerous Logie, Penguin and Sammy Awards. Football commentator Rex Hunt traditionally refers to Collingwood as "the Carringbush"
- "The living are few, Frank tells us, But The Dead Are Many". Trojan Press. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
- "Power Without Glory". Memorable TV. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
- "Logie Awards 1974 -177". australiantelevision.net. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
- Griffin, James. "Wren, John (1871–1953)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2015-01-18.
- Hocking, Jenny (2005). Frank Hardy : politics, literature, life. Melbourne: Lothian. ISBN 9780734408365.
- Macintyre, Stewart (1998). The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from Origins to Illegality. St. Leonards, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1864485809.
- Steger, Jason (2005-11-12). "Mrs Wren and the brickie: the veil lifted". The Age. Retrieved 2015-01-18.