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Bridges of Friendship: Reflections on Indonesia’s early independence and the Volunteer Graduate Scheme, 1920s–1960

Ann McCarthy and Ailsa Thomson Zainuddin

978 1 925495 22 5
Pages: List price(s):

Publication date:
15 April 2017

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Includes writings from Betty Feith and Kurnianingrat Ali Sastroamijoyo

This volume casts new light on the intercultural and personal ties among Indonesians and Australians in the context of the post-war rise of secular volunteering and the unique political and social conditions then prevailing in the newly formed Indonesian Republic. It brings together previously unpublished manuscripts by Betty Feith, who has combined teaching and lecturing with a lifelong involvement in church and humanitarian service, and Kurnianingrat Ali Sastroamijoyo, an educator who worked extensively in English language teaching and training, and someone who took an active part in the Indonesian Revolution.

‘‘Putting in a Stitch or Two’: A History of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme in Indonesia 1950-1963’ provides a bird’s-eye view of the ethos and workings of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme, an initiative under which Australian graduates were employed in the Indonesian civil service. Betty’s nuanced and insightful narrative reflects her intimate involvement in the inception and running of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme. Researchers will be interested in the extensive bibliographic references to records of the Scheme contained in ‘‘Putting in a Stitch or Two’’. Kurnianingrat’s reminiscences, ‘Other Worlds in the Past’, offer insights into Indonesian social and cultural history at a critical time for the nation, as historian Jean Gelman Taylor observes, at the same time as they chronicle Kurnianingrat’s own experiences and perspective. Kurnianingrat’s memoirs include a fascinating and moving account of daily life in occupied Yogyakarta during the struggle for independence against the Dutch.

A common thread in ‘Other Worlds in the Past’ and ‘‘Putting in a Stitch or Two’’ relates to the government inspectorate in Jakarta where, in the 1950s, Indonesians Kurnianingrat and Harumani Rudolph-Sudirdjo formed lasting friendships with Australian volunteer graduates, Betty Feith and Ailsa Thomson Zainuddin.

The mutual interests, connections and commitments among this circle of friends are illustrated in the final section of Bridges of Friendship, in which extracts of correspondence exchanged between Kurnianingrat, Ailsa and Harumani reveal the contributions made by Ailsa and Harumani to Kurnianingrat’s writing project.



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