Bob Gould, 1937-2011


By Ed Lewis

Bob Gould died yesterday (May 22), aged 74. He had been ill for some time and died as a result of a fall.

Bob Gould

An obituary appears in the May 23 Sydney Morning Herald.

The funeral will be on Thursday, May 26, 3.15pm at the Macquarie Park Palm Chapel, corner of Delhi Rd and Plassey Rd North Ryde, followed by a wake at the Courthouse Hotel, 202 Australia St, Newtown 5pm.  The pub is on the corner of Australia Street and Lennox Street.

Other comments on Bob’s life and contribution to the left will be added here as they become available.

His old friend and comrade Hall Greenland summarised Bob’s life and work at Bob’s 70th birthday celebration.

This site will continue to host Bob’s extensive writings on left politics and other matters.


Novel character who knows every trick in the book

Sharing from the yoga shed

Brian Coyne. Catholica

Big day for Bob Gould. Sydney Morning Herald report on the funeral

Labor Party institution and bookshop legend dies. Hall Greenland (audio)

Newtown icon Bob Gould dies. Alternative Media Group

Josephine Pennicott

Sandra Bloodworth (Facebook)

Paul Norton (Larvatus Prodeo)

Vale Bob Gould. Workers Bush Telegraph

Bob Gould, 1937-2011. Martin Thomas

Vale Bob Gould, 1937-2011. Jim McIlroy and Peter Boyle

Bob Gould, 1937-2011. Matthew Asprey

A bit more on Bob Gould. Rafe Champion

Rest in peace Bob Gould. Cath Pews

Bob Gould RIP. Metafilter

Passing of a Sydney book trade stalwart. The Wheeler Centre

People: Bob Gould RIP. Bytes. The Interesting Bits

Vale Bob Gould. Bluepepper

Vale Bob Gould. Window Dresser’s Arms, Pig & Whistle

Vale Bob Gould. Mood Struck

Bob Gould passes away. John Percy (Facebook)

The sad passing of a veteran Trotskyist. Diane Fieldes (Facebook) Socialist Alternative website

Bob Gould (1937-2011) – leftist cultural institution and organic intellectual. Remy Low

Bob Gould: The man who changed my life. Peter Moore

Bob Gould RIP. Harry Clarke

Sydney activist was a brilliant man

ABC News Online

Hoyden About Town

Fran Barlow on Larvatus Prodeo

Happy Antipodean

The Interpreter

Peter Boyle on the Green Left Weekly discussion list

Twitter comments

Sinclair Davidson on Catallaxy

Bob wrote exensively about his life and political activity. Below are some items that include anecdotes.

Recollections of the struggle against the war in Vietnam

Helen Palmer. Three snapshots of the Vietnam antiwar movement

Arthur Calwell’s last hurrah

Bob Santamaria and Bob Gould

A left eye at the funeral of Paddy McGuinness

A pleasant Sunday afternoon in the life of an “old crank”

An Irish family in Australia

Deconstructing the 1960s and 1970s


7 Responses to “Bob Gould, 1937-2011”

  1. Sylvia Hale Says:

    Let’s lay mawkish words to rest

    I met Bob Gould in 1960 and we have remained friends (”End of cultural chapter as beloved bookseller dies at 74”, May 23). I gathered stock for the Third World Bookshop, tried to import Lady Chatterley’s Lover for him, and was a principal of the company that printed the Beardsley and Michelangelo posters as well as anti-Vietnam War material.

    The Bob Gould I knew could be described as argumentative, irritating, courageous, stubborn, principled, or as an inveterate non-returner of borrowed books and a savourer of his own jokes. But ”beloved” never.

    No matter how good ”beloved bookseller” may sound, it’s a demeaning description of Bob that panders to the maudlin sentiments of people who did not know him and would doubtless vehemently disagree with his politics.

    Sylvia Hale, Petersham

    (Letter to The Sydney Morning Herald)

    • Steve Brook Says:

      Hear, hear Sylvia Hale! I would add “impervious to time’s arrow”. I returned to Oz in 1974 after ten years abroad, mainly in Poland. Melbourne became my home city and I paid a short visit to Sydney later that year. While there, I dropped into Bob’s bookshop in George St. The epithets began to fly as soon as he saw me. “Stalinist bastard!”, “Trotskyist bastard!”, “Zionist swine!”, “Secret Grouper ally!” etc. etc. Then we both dissolved in helpless laughter. Later, we shared a Chinese meal.

      No, maybe not quite beloved — but badly missed.

  2. Anne Picot Says:

    from Solidarity, Sydney

    Our best wishes go to Bob’s family and friends.

    Bob will be sorely missed on the left, not least because he was always contributing to the debates, always thinking and arguing for a way forward, and encouraging others to engage with the questions of the day. Public political meetings in Sydney will not be the same without Bob getting to his feet and holding the floor (no matter what the Chair might do) to have his say. The Labor party may have long memories but Bob was one of the few who genuinely gave us the benefit of being a living memory of the class.

    With the greatest of comradely respect, a donation has been made to APEHDA union aid abroad to help continue Bob’s internationalism.

    Sydney Branch of Solidarity (Australia), on behalf of the International Socialist Tendency

  3. Frans Timmerman Says:

    I first met Bob Gould in 1967 in Wollongong, but more of that later. I have just received the following comment from Prof. Rob Watts (of RMIT University): I first met Bob following the first big anti Vietnam war protest in 1968 outside the PM’s Lodge – occupied by John G. Gorton then – in Canberra. About 80 of us were arrested and taken off to the Canberra lockup. I recollect very fresh faced characters like Bob, Harry van Moorst and Michael Hamel-Green were in the crowded lockup. It was way over the limit for number of inmates. We spent the weekend at the expense of the Government planning the next stage of the trip which was a national meeting of left groups at Sydney University to establish a national anti-war organising committee and a national coordinated strategy. I remember that I got Bob to help me select a couple of hundred books to sell back in Melbourne at La Trobe University as part of the new Labour Club which I had helped set up. I don’t recollect where the book stock came from – was he already running his shop?

  4. Frans Timmerman Says:

    I first met Bob Gould in about 1967 when we set up the Wollongong University College Labour Club. He was a guest speaker. He spoke very fast, waved his hands and never finished a sentence. Decades later, when Frank Hardy died, Bob came to the funeral at Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne, where I lived for 33 years. He came in and squeezed in beside me and, as usual, began interrogating me about what was happening in the union movement in Melbourne. (We had always kept in touch over the decades, usually by telephone.) When the service was over Gough Whitlam led the funeral procession out of the hall. When he reached the row where we were sitting, Gough stopped and began changing pleasantries with Bob, after which he resumed the procession.

  5. futilitarian Says:

    Gouldie had the extraordinary capacity of being a one man clearing house of information on everyone who ever had anything to do with the Left in Sydney, and anything that ever happened on the Left in Sydney.

    His information may not have always been accurate, and it frequently reflected one or another of his eccentric political prejudices, but he was the only one capable of pulling it off.

    I can think of only two occasions when I pipped him to the post on matters of Left trivia — i.e., when the S.P.A. renamed itself the C.P.A., and when a former C.P.A. activist had become a Buddhist.

    The Oracle is no more and there will not be another.

  6. Joel Says:

    Please, include this other link about Bob .

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