Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Herbert introduction

The Freilich Foundation exists for the study of all kinds of bigotry and the promotion of diversity and inclusion.

I heard a story on ABC radio some years ago.

It went like this:

A white farmer, his wife and infant daughter lived on a property in an isolated area of South Africa.

They had a number of black workers on the farm including a woman with a little boy called Johnny. Johnny used to stay in the house as company for the little girl while his mother worked in the fields or in the house. The little girl grew attached to Johnny who was a year or two older. When she woke in the...

We met Rolf in Surinam, which used to be Dutch Guyana, and again in French Guyana and yet again in Manaus in 1977.

He was from Holland, about 6 foot 4 and as Aryan as could be in appearance. He worked for a Dutch milk company, selling milk powder in South America.

As a child, at the beginning of the war, he lived in Amsterdam in what was predominantly a Jewish quarter. Although he was not aware of it then, most of his friends were Jewish.

One day during...

I saw Doug Joseph in Edinburgh in 1952. He was one of a group of friends from Sydney University days. We had been in the same year at Sydney Grammar but he and the rest of us really got to know each other over a cadaver in the dissecting room in first year at the Old Medical School in 1942.

Doug was doing anaesthetics and had gone as a surgeon on a cargo ship to England, via the Cape, in 1951.

The ship stopped at Capetown to exchange cargo. An accident occurred and a crane load...

The first time I was given any understanding of homosexuality was on the ship going to England in 1952. In those days ships were crowded with young people going on the great adventure to Britain and Europe. Some, like me, to pursue post-graduate studies and degrees. Shipboard life was an adventure in itself, duty-free beer and wine, relative sexual freedom, exotic sightseeing, Colombo, Aden, Suez, Naples.

I was sitting at a table on the boat-deck one morning when one...

Updated:  20 July, 2014/Responsible Officer:  Freilich Foundation/Page Contact:  Freilich Foundation