"A Witness to History is a fascinating account of the life and times of Robert Arthur Broinowski. In his quest to learn more about the grandfather he barely knew, but whose legacy affected his own life, Richard Broinowski has uncovered a remarkable man living in a remarkable era of Australia s history.
Born in Australia of Polish descent in 1877, Robert Broinowski rose from a clerk's position in the Department of Defence in Melbourne to serve as private secretary to three post-Federation Defence Ministers. As Usher of the Black Rod, he transferred with Parliament to Canberra in 1927 where he played an integral role in the running of Parliament throughout the Great Depression and the start of World War II.
Broinowski had a wide circle of literary friends, and served as editor of two poetry magazines, Spinner and Birth. Driven by his ideals and a passionate nature, he was determined to make an impact on society. Twice married, his relationship with the sons of his first marriage was marred by bitterness and hurt.
A maverick, an enthusiast and perhaps an unsung hero, Robert Broinowski was indeed a witness to history."