Bridges of Friendship: Reflections on Indonesia's early independence and the Volunteer Graduate Scheme


Please note: This product is currently not in stock, we will order it in for you.

Add to Wishlist

Additional information

ISBN 9781925495225

McCarthy, Anna






Weight 0.35 kg
Dimensions 13.5 × 21 cm


Bridges of Friendship unveils personal ties between Indonesians and Australians in the early days of the Indonesian Republic. At the same time it reveals an important chapter in the history of international development and volunteering, and provides insight into Indonesian-Australian relations.

Betty Feith, co-founder of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme in Indonesia – an initiative under which Australian graduates were employed in the Indonesian civil service – draws on both first-hand experience and an array of archival documents to narrate a history of the Scheme from 1950 to 1963. The VGS pioneered the concept of international volunteering as we understand it today. Feith’s nuanced and insightful narrative demonstrates the ideals of equality and support for the newly formed Indonesian Republic that were at the heart of the Scheme.

The reminiscences of Kurnianingrat Ali Sastroamijoyo – an educator who worked extensively in English language teaching and training, and who took an active part in the Indonesian Revolution – include a fascinating and moving account of daily life in occupied Yogyakarta during the struggle for independence against the Dutch. Kurnianingrat illuminates Indonesian social and cultural history at this critical time for the nation.

A common thread across these two accounts is the friendship of Kurnianingrat and Harumani Rudolph-Sudirdjo with Australian volunteer graduates Feith and Ailsa Thomson Zainuddin: all four women worked together at the English Language Inspectorate in Jakarta in the mid-1950s. Extracts from correspondence, in a final section, illustrate the mutual interests and lasting connections and commitments of this circle of friends.

Taken as a whole, Bridges of Friendship suggests the depth of human connection between Australia and Indonesia, fostered by the international spirit common to both the Indonesian Revolution and the Volunteer Graduate Scheme.

About the author
Betty Feith is a teacher with a lifetime involvement in church and other service, particularly with refugees and the advancement of peace and human rights. Betty worked at the English Language Inspectorate, Jakarta, in 195456, under the auspices of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme, a programme she co-founded. She has taught at schools and tertiary institutions in Melbourne and Indonesia, and her courses on Asian and Indonesian Studies at Burwood and Toorak Teachers Colleges in the 1970s were among the first of their kind in Victoria. She has been closely involved with the Australian Student Christian Movement, the Christian World Service and the Uniting Church of Australias Division of Social Justice in Victoria, among other organisations. Her association with Indonesia has been shared with her husband, Herb Feith. Harumani Rudolph-Sudirdjo was a teacher whose career spanned English language education, training and curriculum development, Harumani Rudolph-Sudirdjo has been described as having belonged to a small educationally privileged generation of teachers who played a key role in the great democratising wave of education for all. Born in 1922 in Bandung, Harumani attended Dutch schools, and graduated with a teaching diploma from the I E V Kweekschool in 1941. She took up a Fulbright scholarship to study at Barnard College, Columbia University, in 195152, and graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Indonesia in 1967. Harumani was a member of the English Language Inspectorate, Jakarta, from 1955 to 1966. She also worked in junior and senior high schools, the University of Indonesia, and many other organisations. Kurnianingrat Ali Sastroamijoyo was a teacher, lecturer and public servant who worked extensively in English language education and training in the early years of the Indonesian Republic. She is remembered for the active part she took supporting the nationalist cause during the Revolution. During the 1950s she was second in charge of the English Language Inspectorate in Jakarta, and in this role helped to oversee the establishment of English as Indonesias first foreign language. She later joined the English Language Department at the University of Indonesia, becoming head of the department in 1961. Kurnianingrat married former Prime Minister, Ali Sastroamijoyo, in 1970. Kurnianingrat died in 1993. Ailsa Thomson Zainuddin is a writer and scholar who has specialised in the history of education. In 1954, Ailsa travelled to Jakarta under the Volunteer Graduate Scheme, working at the English Language Inspectorate. In 1965 she joined the Faculty of Education, Monash University, where she carried out pioneering work in relation to education for girls, and education in Southeast Asia. Ailsas published works include A Short History of Indonesia. Ann McCarthy was raised in New Zealand, and has a background in archival work at Archives New Zealand and also at the e-Scholarship Research Centre at Melbourne University. Ann was a member of the team that worked on the records of Diane Elizabeth Barwick, anthropologist, historian and Indigenous rights supporter (

Subscribe to our mailing list

Stay updated, discover new books and special offers. Sign up now!

Product Enquiry.

Fill in your details below and we will contact you with details about this product.

Product Enquiry