by Dr Jennings

W.A.Webb: South Australian Railways Commissioner 1922-30

A Political, Economic and Social Biography


Webb was a Yankee who was brought to South Australia by premier Sir Henry Barwell to rescue the S.A.R. from years of incompetent management and political interference. He did a stunning job of rehabilitating the railway system and inadvertently managed to bankrupt the state and destroy two state governments in the process.


Barnacles and Parasites: Independent Members of the

South Australian Parliament


This is the story of individuals who stood as independents for election to the S.A. Parliament and who often were elected. Far from being independent with few exceptions they were useless parasites (like a lot of M.P.s we know).  The story is woven around the late Tom Cleve Stott CBE, who as Speaker held the balance of power in the House of Assembly and was able to destroy a couple of governments. Much of his time was spent trying to get a knighthood (preferably KCMG).

His wife was equally venomous and narcissistic.


Line Clear – a History of Train working and Signalling on

the Adelaide – Serviceton railway


This was written to commemorate 100 years of the Adelaide – Melbourne Railway line and describes the ways in which the S.A.R. ran its trains and had an exemplary safety record.



Some Historically Insoluble Railway Problems

in South Australia


Basically an account of how politicians destroyed public transport in South Australia. Heyday of the village idiots was the Dunstan/Whitlam era.


An Annotated List of Registered Medical Practitioners

- South Australia: Nos. 1 – 1018 (1844 – 1918)

The men (and a few women) who walk the stage in this book are fairly representative of humanity. Some stood on their individual mounds of high ground and were prominent, but most were obscure. They pass quickly like the parade of Banquo's spirits: the long-lived, and those whose promising lives were cruelly cut short by disease or misadventure: those with lengthy years of practice and service, and the transient and forgotten. Over many hovers the spectres of tuberculosis, alcoholism, addiction, accident and violent death. Their origins are fascinating. Most were English, Scottish or Irish, but there are Americans too. An important group came from Germany and reflects the abhorrence of the efforts of Frederick William III to venture into ecclesiastical bigotry. And of course we still can’t keep the Irish out.

Like all the other books it is long out of print and I’m told that the State Library copies have been pinched.


Holding the Candle: – Growing up and working in Adelaide in the 1950s and 60s.


This is out of print. Even if you don’t want to read it, the photos are interesting. The National Railway Museum might have a few copies.



A History of the South Australian Medical Profession


1836 – 1975

The SA medical profession, predominantly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, profoundly conservative and misogynic, had an astonishing ability to marry into prominent families with wealth, land and sound blood lines and to acquire prestige and status. In the process many of its members became inter-related by marriage. Many were people of great personal accomplishment and versatility, but their numbers also included scoundrels, pompous humbugs, entrepreneurs, cowboys and incompetents. (They are still with us, of course). Many of the most colourful and interesting were either unqualified or unregistered and they play an important part in SA medical history.

The book was accepted for publication by a university but arguments over the author’s rude criticisms of medical saints has left him with the manuscript which he intends putting on the web.

It is now being published serially. To access the book up to chapter 5 click here.

The rest of the book will be added to the site as it becomes ready.



Yes – we are on 


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