Alan Rickard was born in Sydney on 28 February 1929, and died at Coffs Harbour, NSW, on 25 January 2005.
Alan was a travel agent for some years. In 1970 he was one of the founders of the Sydney-based Atheist Society of Australia and editor of its magazine, the Atheist Journal, until 1981 when the ASA was wound up and merged with the Atheist Foundation of Australia (based in South Australia).
After the death of his wife Betty, he was, according to his own account, left with no family whatever. His final years were spent in Lithgow and other parts of rural New South Wales where he devoted his time to writing, mainly short stories and poetry, much of which he published and provided for review in Biblionews. Indeed, as I said in the editorial to the June 2003 issue, he had “the, I think so far unique, distinction of being both reviewer and reviewed in the same issue of Biblionews.” What I have since realised is that he was probably further unique in having the same book reviewed twice in our journal, for in asking Nigel Sinnott to review it in that issue, I had forgotten that I had reviewed it myself already quite a few issues earlier. (It was around that time that I decided it best to ask Neil Radford to be Reviews Editor.)
Alan was a fairly frequent contributor to Biblionews in his own right. From his own account, too, he lived his final years in some degree of penury, such that he could not afford a typewriter, much less a computer, and his contributions arrived in handwritten form. His last contribution, “Some complexities of book addiction” in the December 2003 issue, which contained “the story of a psychic experience which, despite the disbelief of sceptics, is true in its entirety” (p.135), seems somewhat out of keeping with his atheistic commitment adverted to above.
He was made a life member of the Society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary celebrations.
He asked for no funeral service and was buried in Lithgow beside his late wife.