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Seeking Social Good: A Life Worth Living: A Career Under Way Volume 2 - A Career Under Way

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Seeking Social Good: A Life Worth Living: A Career Under Way Volume 2 - A Career Under Way

John Lawrence

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Seeking Social Good is a wide-ranging autobiography of the career, life and times of Australia’s first professor of social work, and pioneer social policy scholar. It is well-organised, carefully referenced, and enlivened by the author’s photographs. The work is organised into 6 volumes – ‘Getting Educated’, ‘A Career Under Way’, ‘Working in Australia’, ‘Living and Working Overseas’, ‘Working with International Organisations’, and ‘Disengaging from Work and Later Life’. Each is substantial and is worth reading in its own right, as well as being integral to the whole story. ‘Later Life’ in the final volume is told largely through the author’s photos. The second volume of an autobiography of Australia’s first professor of social work and pioneer social policy scholar. After education in Adelaide, then Oxford described in Volume 1, this covers the early years of his career, before appointment to the social work chair in 1968. Returned from Oxford to Adelaide in 1956, the author and Patricia Berry married. Their three children were born in 1958, 1960 and 1961. John worked in the social work field, briefly in a family welfare agency and then in the social work section of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. Rapid national experience came as organising secretary of a conference of the Australian Association of Social Workers. A PhD scholarship at the embryonic Australian National University in 1958 enabled him to research the history of professional social work in Australia. In 1961, he was appointed to Australia’s first academic appointment in social policy at the University of Sydney. A sabbatical year in 1967 at the University of Michigan in the USA, was memorable for all of the family. It was the time of the race riots, the Vietnam War, the ‘war on poverty’, and student protests. A summer tour included Expo ’67 in Montreal. After 12 professionally productive years, living in Adelaide, Canberra, and Sydney, the University of New South Wales appointed him in 1968 to the first chair of social work in the country.

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