The Darroch Thesis

Click to go to: Part 1, September 1972- March1990
Click to go to: Part 2, March 1990 - May 2002
Click to go to: Part 3, May 2002 onward


IT HAS, for many years now, been a criticism, even a complaint, about Rananim (and perhaps about the D.H.Lawence Society of Australia itself) that it has been much too involved with what is known in some circles as "The Darroch Thesis".

Yet, to the extent that Rananim (and Australian interest in Lawrence generally) is concerned about what happened when Lawrence came to Australia in 1922, and indeed what his Australian novel Kangaroo is about, is the extent to which such a focus and emphasis are both inevitable and proper.

That is not to say that rival or counter-interpretations and criticism of the "Thesis" should be ignored. Far from it. It is a major disappointment that such criticism and counter-interpretations have not come forward, at least until the recent CUP editions, and not for inclusion and balance in Rananim.

In particular, no one, not even the CUP editors, have advanced any credible or substantive alternative argument about how else a real secret army found its way into Kangaroo.

Yet the full case for the "Darroch Thesis" has also not been put forward, until now (though "the best argument" was advanced in Rananim 7-8/1, "Nothing to Sniff At"- see elsewhere in this site). So there are omissions on both sides.

It is an aim of this new section that it will start, if not a debate, then at least establish a forum for possible discussion on this important - indeed, vital - aspect of Lawrence scholarship, both here and overseas. Comments therefore are welcome, and a facility (click will be provided in the hope that some discussion will indeed be generated. On my part, I welcome any opportunity to react and respond.

However, rather than simply republish in this section a representative selection of the articles and book-extracts that have been written, for and against, the so-called "Darroch Thesis", I have decided to do something rather different, something that I think will add substantially to what is already in the public arena.

From almost the beginning of the research into this matter I have maintained a diary of the progress and result of that research. This was begun following the experience I had assisting my wife Sandra in her research into the life of Lady Ottoline Morrell for her biography, Ottoline. I also edited that work, and in doing so realised how useful it would be to have a day-by-day diary of the research - in other words, as well as the cards and notes generated, and the text written, it would be of enormous help to have a complete record of that research, both to augment and check the material unearthed, and to demonstrate how it was done.

As it turned out (for what I discovered was totally unanticipated) the diary, now in its 26th year, has become the main repository and record of the results of that research, and a document of interest (I believe) in itself.

In particular, it does one thing that should be of interest to those who care about Lawrence, Australia and Kangaroo. It shows how and where I - and others, for I was by no means alone in this labour - came across the material that goes to make up, and underpin, the "Darroch Thesis".

(The term "The Darroch Thesis" was coined by my colleague Dr Andrew Moore in circumstances that will become clearer as the diary unfolds.)

The diary was not begun immediately, and in fact slowly emerged from a more general record of my day-to-day activities, only assuming separate format some considerable time into the project.

Needless to say, the entries herein have been edited so as to eliminate some non-germane material and to contract what could be conveyed more briefly. Included, in the places indicated, are non-diary materials, such as extracts from letters and published articles, and, in particular, additional explanatory explanations and comments (in italics).

The diary takes several twist and turns, as outlined in the entry dated 28/5/02. It is now going in a direction - for it is ongoing - that strikes out into very new territory. So new, in fact, that no name has yet been invented for the concept, as far as I know.

What we had hitherto known as "a diary" records what has happened in the past. It is history, entombed and passive. What follows, after the entry of 29/5/02, is still a record of what has transpired, but it is no longer merely just the online reproduction of that past.

It is, after 29/5/02, something rather more alive and active, even interactive.

In Kangaroo, Lawrence made use of the diary technque to turn reality into "fiction", or at least to explore the fiction-form which that "reality" might be turned to. So it is perhaps appropriate, and it is certainly an apt departure point, for this new digital format.

But, first, we should begin at the beginning, in the era of old technology.

Click HERE to access the diary, please be patient, it is a very long diary covering 26 years!

Click to go to: Part 1, September 1972- March1990
Click to go to: Part 2, March 1990 - May 2002
Click to go to: Part 3, May 2002 onward