Banned Books in Australia A Special Collections-Art in the Library Exhibition

Norman Lindsay, Redheap (banned 1930–1958)

Australian authors who published in London were occasionally caught in the Customs’ censorship net when their books were sent to Australia. One such was Norman Lindsay, whose novel Redheap was published by the prestigious London firm of Faber. In 1930, acting on a tip-off from London, a Customs official discovered 2000 copies in Sydney, bound for bookshops throughout Australia.

The novel was described as containing ‘serious reflections on the morality’ of a fictitious Australian country town that bore a striking resemblance to Creswick, where the author spent his childhood. In 1930, the minister announced that the novel was a prohibited import. It was the first time an Australian novel had been banned. There were protests about the ban and Lindsay was quoted in the press as saying that if such actions were allowed to continue, there ‘could be no hope of culture here’.

Redheap remained on the prohibited list until 1958, though it was freely available in Britain, the USA and other countries. Ure Smith eventually republished it in 1959.

top of page