Earlier this year I acquired a second edition (1942) of The Great Boomerang, with a typical salutation from Idriess, dated '42, and addressed To the Rev John Calder (as above). It's interesting to find out more about some of the people Idriess interacted with. It quickly became apparent, after a bit of Googling, that the only Rev John Calder who fit the bill in Australia was the one who at this time was minister of St Peter's Presbyterian Church, North Sydney.
Idriess was not, I think, a church goer. Perhaps far from it. So I can only speculate as to how and why they met. In 1942 Ion Idriess turned 53 and the Rev Calder was 67 years old. It may have been simply that Rev Calder had an interest in the ideas espoused in The Great Boomerang and bought the book. And, as Idriess was often in residence at Angus and Robertson, 89 Castlereagh St, Sydney at this time, writing and signing books, he may have taken the opportunity for Idriess to sign his copy.
Another point of contact may have been their war experience. Idriess fought in the Great War (WWI), in Gallipoli and Palestine (as described in The Desert Column) and Rev Calder served as Captain-Chaplain in France in the war. Rev Calder was ministering at Forbes, NSW, when he enlisted as a chaplain on the 21/1/1917 at the age of 41 years and 8 months! He did not return to Australia until January 1920, but during his time on the front he was Mentioned In Despatches (M.I.D.). Idriess returned - invalided - about 2 years earlier.
But both men were also trying to do their bit in WWII as well - and perhaps their paths crossed because of that. Idriess was feverishly writing books about and for the war effort (as well as other books - about 10 were published from 1939 to 1945), including the prescient (How) Must Australia Fight, The Guerilla Series and The Silent Service. He also wrote letters to the newspapers about aspects of the war, and even to PM Robert Menzies and Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur. He also offered his services - as part of a coast-watch system, if nothing else. Meanwhile the Rev Calder had again volunteered his services as a chaplain, and served units stationed nearby in the early war years.
There is another explanation as to their meeting up. It is possible that Ion Idriess and Rev Calder were known to each other before 1942 and the common denominator may have been the Very Rev John Flynn. Idriess wrote the seminal work about Flynn - Flynn of the Inland - in 1932 (10 March). Flynn, when he was in Sydney, was part of the St Peter's congregation: he was an Elder there from 1914 until his death in 1951. There is a plaque at St Peter's acknowledging this. Meanwhile Rev Calder served at St Peter's from 1924 (after moving there from Wagga Wagga - he had moved from Forbes to Wagga Wagga after coming back from the war in 1920) until his retirement and subsequent death in 1962. So it is possible, and maybe likely, that in the course of his research and meetings with the Rev John Flynn, that Ion Idriess had also met the Rev John Calder at St Peter's. We may never know exactly how and why they met. But meet they did! It's there in writing in my Idriess book!