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About The Event

Roaring Stories Facebook page
Monday, November 16, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A political betrayal. A constitutional crisis. A hidden correspondence.

Since the infamous event of Gough Whitlam’s sacking, the letters exchanged between John Kerr and the palace have remained hidden. It took Professor Jenny Hocking 10 years and a four-year legal battle to force the National Archives to release the letters. The Palace Letters is the ground-breaking account of her indomitable fight – a book which traces high level collusion and deception, and raises the challenge of royal secrecy acting against Australia’s national interests.

Hocking will be discussing this fascinating book with journalist Nikki Tugwell. The conversation will be livestreamed from 7pm, Monday 16 November on the Roaring Stories Facebook page.

It will also be made available after the event as a recording, accessible via the Roaring Stories YouTube channel.


Publish date: 3 November 2020

Gough Whitlam was a progressive prime minister whose reign proved tumultuous and divisive after 23 years of conservative government in Australia. When a hostile Senate refused to vote on his 1975 budget, the political deadlock that ensued culminated in his unexpected and deeply controversial dismissal by the governor-general, Sir John Kerr. Kerr was in close touch with the Palace during this period, but, under the cover of being designated as personal, that correspondence was locked away for decades in the National Archives, and embargoed by the Queen — potentially forever. This ruse denied the Australian people access to critical information about one of the most divisive episodes in the nation’s political history. In the face of this, Professor Jenny Hocking embarked on what would become a ten-year campaign and a four-year legal battle to force the Archives to release the letters. The Palace Letters is the ground-breaking account of her indomitable fight. Read more.

Order a signed copy of The Palace Letters


Jenny Hocking is emeritus professor at Monash University, Distinguished Whitlam Fellow at the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University, and Gough Whitlam’s award-winning biographer. Her appeal against the decision of the Federal Court in the Palace letters case was upheld by the High Court on 29 May 2020.


Nikki Tugwell is an award-winning reporter, producer & media executive who has worked for leading outlets in Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York across print, podcasts, television and documentaries. She’s worked with the biggest names in Australian political journalism and has been a key member of the 730 (ABC TV) production team, both supervising producing and producing Leigh Sales for two Federal Elections and 2016 US Election. Last year, she produced and executive produced the ABC’s chart-topping podcast series The Eleventh.

This event is presented by Roaring Stories Bookshop Balmain with Scribe Publications
With thanks to our event host The Royal Oak Balmain



    • Anne Cernuta Elliott

    • 4 years ago

    Dear Roaring Stories,

    Can I please book 2 tickets to the “Palace Letters” Event?

    Thanks and Readerly Regards

      • Kate Prendergast

      • 4 years ago

      Hi Anne – I have added your name with a +1 to our exclusive list of attendees! Thank you for your interest in Palace Letters. You will receive an email reminder shortly before the event.

    • Loup

    • 3 years ago

    Great share.

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