Power Without Glory

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Power Without Glory
Author Frank Hardy
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Thriller, Novel
Publisher Random House
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 660 pp
ISBN 0-09-184206-9
OCLC 47707257

Power Without Glory is a 1950 novel written by Australian writer Frank Hardy. It was later adapted into a mini-series by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1976).


The work was originally self-published with illustrations by his friend and fellow Communist "Amb" Dyson, with the rubric "a novel in three parts by Frank J. Hardy, Ross Franklyn". This combination of real name and pseudonym was carried over to his 1961 book The Hard Way relating in the third person of "Ross Franklyn" his difficulties in having the book published.[1]


The novel is a fictionalised version of the life of Melbourne businessman and Australian Labor Party power-broker, John Wren. It is 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 related to gambling and political machinations.

The book also included characters based on other important Victorian and Australian political figures, including:

A fuller list of characters and locations is provided in the following section "Who's Who in the Novel".

The barely disguised motivation for the "West" character is made clear by the fact that West, like Wren, also 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 Mahon appears as "Nellie", and there is space in the novel given to three of his children: his violinist daughter Margaret, his son John Jr., and another daughter who became a Communist bore similarities with Wren's radical daughter Mary who was an active member of the communist front organisation the Movement Against War and Fascism.

The novel is 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 debates with the Irish-Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, who opposes conscription on the grounds that to send men to aid England was against his, and Ireland's, historical enmity with that country.

Characters and real-life equivalents[edit]

ASHTON, F. — Frank Anstey, Labor politician and social propagandist

BENNETT (The Gentleman Thief) — Hon. W.J. Beckett, M.L.C. for Melbourne

BLACKWELL, Maurice — Maurice Blackburn, Federal Labor M.P.

BLAIRE — Sir Thomas Blamey

BOND, Thomas — Sir Thomas Bent, 32nd Premier of Victoria

BRADLEY, Richard — Richard Buckley, notorious criminal

BRADY, Wm. — Wm. Barry, Victorian Labor M.P. for Carlton; Housing Minister in the Cain Government

CALLINAN, Police Comm. — Police Commissioner O'Callaghan

CAMERON — Campbell, Cycling Promoter Exhibition

CARR, John — John Cain, Leader, Victorian Labor Party

CORY, Pat — Cody of Aust. Distilleries

CREGAN, J. — J.L. Cremean, Federal M.P. for Hoddle

CUTTING, Slasher — Snowy Cutmore, gunman and thief

DARBY, Lou — Les Darcy

DAVISON, Alfie — Sir Albert Dunstan

DEVLIN, Dr. — Sir Hugh Devine

DWYER, Godfrey — Sir Gilbert Dyett, long-time President of the R.S.L.

GARSIDE, David — David Gaunsen, prominent criminal barrister

GIBBON, Sir S. — Sir Samuel Gillott, Chief Secretary in the Bent Cabinet

HORAN, Ned — E.J. Hogan, twice Labor Premier of Victoria

JOGGINS, Rev. — Rev. G. Judkins, prominent anti-vice crusader and preacher

JOLLY, Bob — Bob Solly, Labor M.P. in Victorian Parliament for many years

KELLEHER, Paddy — P.J. Kennelly, M.L.C. for Melbourne; Federal Secretary, A.L.P.

KELLY, Michael — Standish Michael Keon, Victorian Member for Richmond, later Federal M.P. for Yarra

LAMB, Richard — Dick Lean of Melbourne Stadium

LAMBERT, Percy — Percy Laidler, theatrical supplier of 201 Bourke Street and prominent socialist

LAMMENCE, Frank — Frank Laurence, died November 1950

LASSITER family — Loughnan family

LEVY, Ben — Ben Nathan, founder of Maples

LEWIS, Piggy — Piggy Ryan, alias Williamson, gunman and standover man

LONG — Bill Lang

McCORKELL — W. McCormack, Labor Premier of Queensland

MALONE, Daniel — Dr. Daniel Mannix, archbishop of Melbourne

MANSON, "Plugger" Pete — "Plugger" Bill Martin

MORAN family — Mahon family

MORTON, Jim — Jim Morley, communist organiser; journalist with the 'Morning Post'

MURKETT, Kenneth — Sir Keith Murdoch

O'FLAHERTY, Dave — Detective O'Donnell, Chief of the Gaming Squad

PARELLI — Pellegrini

PARKER, Clive — Clyde Packer, journalist. Later worked for 'Truth'

RAND — Ryan

REAL, T.J. — T.J. Ryan

REDMON, Ron — Ron Richards, Aboriginal boxer

RENFREY, Sugar — "Sugar" Roberts, Mayor of Collingwood

ROBINSON, Barney — Barney Reynolds

SANDOW — Santel, genuine champion wrestler

SCOTT, Bob — Possibly another name for Bob Solly

SOLOMON, Sol — Sol Green, noted bookmaker

SQUEERS — Bill Squires

SUMMER, James — J.H. Scullin, Labor M.P., Prime Minister 1929-32

SWINTON — Sir George Swinburne

TANNER, Snoopy — Squizzy Taylor, gunman and thief

THURGOOD — "Red Ted" Theodore, Labor Premier of Queensland in 1919. Federal Treasurer; mining and business magnate

TINN, Ted — Tod Thye, wrestler

TRUMBLEWOOD, Thos — Thos Tunnecliffe, Labor M.P. for Collingwood, Speaker 1937-40

WATTY, Jim — Jack Welsh, Secretary, Milk Distributors Association

WEST family — Wren family

WOODMAN, Paddy — Paddy Boardman

Judges not mentioned by name[edit]

Judge Neighbour — First Criminal Case

Judge Gavan Duffy — Milk Board Royal Commission


Carringbush— Collingwood

RALSTONE — Richmond

APSOM — Epsom

JACKSON Street — Johnston Street

BAGVILLE Street — Sackville Street

SILVER Street — Gold Street

Court case[edit]

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.

Cultural influence[edit]

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.[2][3]

Football commentator Rex Hunt traditionally refers to Collingwood as "the Carringbush"


  1. ^ http://www.trojanpress.com.au/assets/oz_34_living_are_few.pdf
  2. ^ Power Without Glory at MemorableTV.com
  3. ^ [ TV Week 1977 Logie Awards]