A tiny footnote on Frank Moorhouse

Frank Moorhouse died last week, after making a huge contribution to Australian literature and to the lives of Australian writers. Many thoughtful and informative pieces have been published. In case you’ve missed them altogether, I’ll just mention Julianne Lamond’s piece in The Conversation and the most recent Monday Musing in the Whispering Gums blog.

What I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the recent articles – or anywhere else, for that matter – is that in the late 1960s, before the publication of his first collection of stories, Futility and Other Animals, he wrote a series of sketches for the student paper Honi Soit under the general title ‘Around the Laundromats’. From memory they featured a big lazy cat, and each piece featured a conversation in a laundromat. Frank lived in what he came to call ‘the Ghetto of Balmain’, but I’m pretty sure some of these encounters happened in the laundromat opposite my flat in Glebe. One of them featured the young woman who was my girlfriend at the time, whom he called ‘the English Student’ or something of the sort.

I wonder if anyone has dug those sketches out, and if they would be worth reprinting, perhaps as a small book.

7 responses to “A tiny footnote on Frank Moorhouse

  1. I remember Around the Laundromats. The cat’s name was Ward, after Ward ‘Pally’ Austin, a local DJ. Ward was the brother of my cat, Pushpah, he was a large handsome grey cat. They were delightful witty conversations, it would be lovely to read them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right – Ward! I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers them, Kathy.


    • Hi Jonathon

      It’s possible to look at old copies of Honi Soit online – by going to digital.library.sydney.edu. I’m not sure if they have complete runs of all the issues for every year, and I’m not sure when Frank Moorhouse was there – I was there in the early sixties.But I expect you’d probably be able to find Around the Lundromats.

      Best wishes

      Maggie Pender



  2. Sounds great. Could be a short film script.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t remember Around the laundromats, but I do remember Ward “Pally” Austin.

    Thanks very much for the link. I have only just seen it, but I must have sensed your presence, because this week’s Monday musings has linked to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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