Library early closure: The Library will close at 5pm on Thursday 23 October to prepare for the annual Keith Murdoch Oration. More information

Facade conservation & repair works: Over the next few weeks there will be intermittent noise in the La Trobe Reading Room while work is carried out on the external walls. More information

Library early closure & facade conservation works
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Dr Leah Kaminsky

Dr Leah Kaminsky's book manuscript, The fish council, is a  creative non-fiction narrative about Yiddish–Polish poet Melekh Ravitch who was sent to Melbourne in 1933 by the Jewish Agency to fundraise for Yiddish schools and went on to undertake an arduous trip across the Kimberley with an Italian postal truck driver and a young aboriginal guide in an attempt to find a homeland for German Jewish refugees.

Leah will weave through the book translations she made of Melekh's journals of the trip, as well as rare photographs and the subsequent story of his son Yosl Bergner.

Yosl came to Melbourne in 1937 and became a member of the Angry Penguin group of artists, befriending the likes of Albert Tucker, Sydney Nolan and Noel Counahan. Yosl befriended Leah's father, who arrived from Poland in 1939, and they joined the 6th Australian Employment Corps together. Leah first met Yosl at his studio in Tel Aviv when she was 15 and he subsequently became a close friend and mentor. Yosl has given Leah access to his father's diaries and a photographic collection of Melekh's trip to Melbourne and the Northern Territory in 1933.