I was really hoping to discover who Robert Desmond Tate is, but alas, other than finding out he was educated in NZ, I know nothing of him other than he wrote a book which rather galvanised opinion in mid-thirties literary circles in Australia.
Set in a bakehouse amongst working class people faced with an evil boss and a terrible work environment, it was, depending on your point of view, a novel of ‘relentless realism’ (SMH) ‘a novel with the stuff of life in it’ (Bulletin) or ‘nothing less than realism running amuck'(Barrier Miner); it is either saved by its romantic theme or spoilt by it. Interestingly, all critics are agreed it is about a period that is gone for good since health inspectors have been introduced.
Other than the existence of this book, there is no record I can find of the author, though I will note that the papers of the literary man PERCY REGINALD STEPHENSEN contain material about him. It would appear that Stephensen was planning another edition of the book in the 1950s, which I assume did not appear. There is correspondence with Tate and about him listed in the contents of his papers.