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Shelter from the Storm
 Book Cover

from the Storm

"the little matter of a roof over our heads"

Luminaries and larrikins, rebels and refugees, they have all been battlers - but losers, never.

by Siobhán McHugh

Photographs: Mayu Kanamori

An anthology of oral histories of past and present public housing tenants in New South Wales
Gerald Stone's best-selling, ‘Who Killed Channel 9?‘, included Shelter from the Storm in the bibliography of ten titles. The reference is to Siobhan McHugh's extended interview with the elusive media mogul John Alexander, who grew up in public housing in the unlikely area of Turramurra in northern Sydney, and does not usually grant personal interviews. Due to resulting demand, Shelter from the Storm is now available to download online through
'exploding the stereotypes of people in social housing'. Sydney Morning Herald
Allen & Unwin ebook edition 2007
Allen & Unwin 1999
Samoan chieftains patrol their notorious estate singing beautiful harmonies to deter crime. The children of the Flower Children in Nimbin swap hippie communes for modern apartments. A war widow works as a cleaner for 32 years to become the first woman in New South Wales to buy her government home. Aged Vietnamese, displaced as respected elders and alienated from their Westernised children live together in a cooperative. A lesbian ex-police officer raises the child of her violent former partner in coastal retreat. A Bosnian refuge exults in her new life in Australia, and an Aussie film star remembers, as a boy, learning to put on an act -"when the welfare bloke called".  Toni

 Annette Seymour In Shelter from the Storm, Siobhán McHugh tells the compelling stories of past and present tenants of social housing. Told with honesty and humour, they provide unique insights into the extraordinary qualities of ordinary people and the diversity of Australian society. Teachers, artists, taxi drivers; Muslims, Catholics, Mormons; Iraqis, Australians and Russians; orphans and divorcees, are among the people to be found in public and community housing. Former tenants who have gone on to become tall poppies also tell their story: maverick Labor politician Mark Latham, media mogul John Alexander, union leader Jennie George and actor and celebrity Bryan Brown.

Siobhán McHugh is an award winning writer and broadcaster. The Snowy, about the people who built the Snowy Mountains scheme, won the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 1990 and became a radio series and television documentary. Minefields and Miniskirts, a book and a radio series, features the untold stories of Australian women in the Vietnam War. Cottoning On investigates the environmental and social changes wrought by the cotton industry.  Van Lang

 Dunroanin Among her many other achievements, Siobhan was co-writer of a television documentary, Echo of Distant Drum, and international television series, The Irish Empire. She lives in Balmain, Sydney.

"Shelter from the Storm" by Siobhán McHugh
Cover design: Michael Killalea
Photographs: Mayu Kanamori
Allen & Unwin: 1999
ISBN 1 86508 160 4

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