This is an edited extract by Robyn Dalton and Laura Ginters from The Ripples before the New Wave: Drama at the University of  Sydney 1957 – 63, to be launched on February 27 by Currency Press

It was a night of excitement, a little sadness and not a little envy. I boarded the small passenger shipBretagne berthed in Circular Quay to farewell Anne O’Neill, my friend through childhood and university, who was sailing to London to marry Leo Schofield. I wasn’t envious of the fact Anne was getting married … but I was a little envious that she was heading for London – Mecca for many new graduates from the University of Sydney.

I was surprised to find so many familiar faces from university days swarming over the deck … until I realised who Anne’s fellow travellers were going to be. Clive James was there in full flight. He was surrounded by fellow aesthetes from his Sydney University days, members of the Sydney Push, and his mother. Others milled around Professor Bill Trethowan, with his wife, Pamela, who had directed many shows for Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS), and their three children. They were returning to the UK for...

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