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CANNON, Michael Montague =

CANNON, Michael Montague (1929-)


Michael Cannon, historian and author, in 1966, published his pivotal work, The Land Boomers which heralded a popular output of books on Australian history.

In 1969, he edited The Vagabond Papers for Melbourne University Press and in 1970 was awarded a Commonwealth Literary Fellowship. From 1971 to 1998, he prolifically published a steady stream of books including Who’s master? Who’s man?; Land, boom and bust; Life in the Country; Life in the Cities; That damned democrat; Old Melbourne Town; Hold Page One; The Woman as Murderer; The Human Face of the Great Depression; and That disreputable Firm : the inside story of Slater and Gordon. For ten years during this period until 1991, he remained the respected foundation editor of Historical Records of Victoria (1836-1839). His extensive personal papers are held by the National Archives.

Michael Cannon was born in Brisbane on 17 August 1929, the son of parents Arthur C Cannon and Dorothy. The family moved to Cobden in Western Victoria where Michael first attended Cobden State School. Later, he attended Camperdown Higher Elementary School before entering Geelong College as a boarder in 1944. In 1945, he joined the College House of Guilds Council.

After completing Form VI in 1945, he worked for the next three years as a journalist, at times for the Argus and Herald newspapers, as well as freelancing in Sydney. From Sydney he gravitated to London in 1949 to work as a correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald before returning to Australia to take up a position as a senior reporter for The Age. After a brief period from 1953 to 1954 running his own printing business he returned to mainstream publishing as editor of Family Circle magazine. In the next four years he ventured, as an owner, into publishing, establishing the ill fated monthly journal Newsday in 1959 and the more successful Australian Fashion News in 1962, which became part of the Murdoch Group. In 1969, after working for three years as Assistant Director of Melbourne University Press, Michael was appointed founding editor of the Sunday Observer and Sunday Review (later Nation Review).

Michael retired from active writing and publishing in 1999, and took up reafforestation on a disused dairy farm in South Gippsland. His memoir of that experience, entitled Living in the Clouds, may be found in public libraries. He retired to Inverloch in 2009.


Sources: Correspondence, Michael Cannon 21 Jan 2014.


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