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 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.[1]


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:

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[edit]

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

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

BLACKWELL, Maurice — Maurice Blackburn, State Labor MP for Essendon, Fitzroy & Clifton Hill. Federal Labor M.P. for Bourke

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

BRADY, William — Bill Barry, Victorian Labor M.P. for Carlton, minister in various Cain Governments

CALLINAN, Police Commissioner — Thomas O'Callaghan, Police Commissioner 1902 - 1913

CAMERON — Campbell, Cycling Promoter Exhibition

CARR, John — John Cain, leader of Victorian ALP, Premier on three occasions

CONN (Archbishop) — Thomas Carr, Catholic archbishop of Melbourne preceding Daniel Mannix

CORY, Pat — Pat Cody of Australian Distilleries

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

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

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

EVANS, Bill — Bill Egan, bricklayer

GARSIDE, David — David Gaunson, prominent criminal solicitor

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

HORAN, Ned — Ned Hogan, twice Labor Premier of Victoria

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

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

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

KIELY, Michael — Stan Keon, Victorian Member for Richmond, later Federal M.P. for Yarra

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

LANE — Jack Lang, NSW Labor leader and Premier

McCORKELL — William McCormack, Labor Premier of Queensland

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

TRUMBLEWOOD, Thomas — Tom 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, associate of Squizzy Taylor

Judges not mentioned by name[edit]

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

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. ^ "The living are few, Frank tells us, But The Dead Are Many". Trojan Press. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Power Without Glory". Memorable TV. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  3. ^ "Logie Awards 1974 -177". australiantelevision.net. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 

Further reading[edit]