Author(s): Elizabeth Kleinhenz
As a student in Melbourne, Elizabeth Kleinhenz heard frequent talk of this almost mythical figure, Germaine Greer. Urged on by her mother, a first wave feminist, she read The Female Eunuch, a clarion call that rallied women to assert their female power,and, like her mother and millions of others across the world, changed her life.
As one of the first researchers permitted to trawl through the Germaine Greer Archive housed at the University of Melbourne, Elizabeth found evidence of a brilliant teacher, serious scholar, flamboyantly attired hippie TV presenter, provocative magazine columnist and editor, real estate investor, domestic goddess, creator of extravagant gardens and preserves, shelterer of strays and waifs, libertarian, bohemian, anarchist, working journalist, correspondent, traveller and adventurer, international celebrity and performer, wag and ratbag, mentor and icon.
Germaine Greer has said that her archive is a representation of the times in which she has lived. Yet she anticipated, catalysed and triumphantly rode the wave of the immense social and intellectual changes of her era.
For Elizabeth, two things are certain- women's lives today are very different from how they were when Germaine Greer and she left school; and much of the change that has occurred over the past half-century can be directly attributed to the lifetime of intense scholarship, unremitting hard work and influence of Germaine Greer.