The Rise of Manchester and Melbourne
“Tales of Fighting for Freedoms, Fortunes and Football”
This is a rich and dramatic historical novel that experiences the flowering of Manchester and Melbourne, two of the most significant cities of Queen Victoria’s Empire, as they emerged and flourished during the turbulent years of the 19th and Early 20th centuries.
Both gave birth to world famous, liberal leaning newspapers, The Manchester Guardian and The Melbourne Age, which referee the game through the astutely, forensic eyes of their most illustrious and campaigning editors, C.P. Scott and David Syme but, who still can’t help taking sides and entering the play.
It is in two parts.
Firstly The Beginning Years, from 1854 to the start of WW1, follows the life and adventures of a former Manchester Guardian compositor who migrates to Melbourne in time to join the Age, as it reports the beginning of the Eureka rebellion and starts to comment on and shape the colony’s and Australia’s turbulent path to State and Nationhood. With the constant oversight of Scott and Syme drawing out the similarities with Manchester’s complementary fight for civil and political liberties and economic power.
Secondly, The Later Years relates experiences and escapades of a contemporary Manchester migrant, fleeing the dead hand of British socialism in the sixties only to land in the thick of Gough Whitlam’s Prime Ministership and the gradual awakening of Melbourne from its prudish and censorial post war manacles to become the exciting cultural melting pot and social, sporting and culinary pace-setter for Australia, that it is today.
As at many times in their histories, the Guardian and the Age are in serious, if not terminal, economic trouble but their great powerhouse cities thrive and grow in the 21st century as never before.