Seeking Social Good is a wide-ranging autobiography of the career, life and times of Australia's first professor of social work, and pioneer social policy scholar. It is well-organised, carefully referenced, and enlivened by the author's photographs. The work is organised into 6 volumes - 'Getting Educated', 'A Career Under Way', 'Working in Australia', 'Living and Working Overseas', 'Working with International Organisations', and 'Disengaging from Work and Later Life'.
Each is substantial and is worth reading in its own right, as well as being integral to the whole story. 'Later Life' in the final volume is told largely through the author's photos. The opening volume of the autobiography of the career, life and times of Australia's first professor of social work, and pioneer social policy scholar. The foundation of the author's learning and social and cultural awareness came during his early years - from his birth in a country town in South Australia in 1931 at the height of the depression, to 1956 a decade after the end of the Second World War.
Originally from Victoria, his parents settled in Adelaide in 1935 where their three children were educated at a state primary school and private secondary schools, and the University of Adelaide. At university he combined an honours degree in history and political science with a professional diploma in social work, a rare choice at the time for a male straight from school. As 1953 South Australian Rhodes Scholar, he read PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) at Magdalen College in Oxford. His fiancee Patricia Berry accompanied him overseas, sharing Rhodes House activities and holiday touring experiences in Europe, England and Scotland, while living in Oxford.
About the Author
John Lawrence has taught social policy for thirty years, taking a special interest in the ethical justification of policy and professional intervention. He is a graduate of the Universities of Adelaide and Oxford, and the Australian National University. Australia's first Professor of Social Work, he headed the School of Social Work at the University of New South Wales for fourteen years, chaired the University's Faculty of Professional Studies, was a member of the University Council, and was directly involved in the development of its Social Policy Research Centre, a national centre directly funded by the Australian Government. A former federal president and life member of the Australian Association of Social Workers, he served on its National Ethics Committee.
For eight years, he was an elected member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work. He has had membership of the governing bodies of community agencies, including a vice-presidency of ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service). He is a firm advocate of international experience, and has spent almost seven years away from his native Australia, studying, researching, teaching and acting as a consultant in England, the United States, Canada, Thailand and Sweden. This has been assisted by various awards - a Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright senior awards, the Moses Distinguished Professorship at Hunter College in New York, and a Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship - and university study leave and exchange arrangements. He is a member of the Order of Australia.