Abstracts – JRAHS Volume 101 Part 1 June 2015

The Forgotten Expedition – 1885: The Strickland River, New Guinea

Peter D. Dwyer, Monica Minnegal and Chris Warrillow

The Geographical Society of Australasia’s expedition to New Guinea in 1885 generated much public controversy. The outcomes were that no detailed reports were published and the expedition has seldom received more than passing mention in subsequent literature. This contribution resolves one of many uncertainties, namely the location of the furthest point on the Strickland River reached by expedition members. It directs attention to tensions that arose between the scientific communities of the colonies of Australia in the aftermath of the expedition and notes that these, and their outcomes, await further investigation.

‘A great deal of mischief can be done’: Peter Worsley, the Australian National University, the Cold War and academic freedom, 1952-1954

Geoffrey Gray

This paper focuses on the impact of the Cold War on anthropologists who planned to work in the Australian colonial territory of Papua and New Guinea. It is an area less well known and under-researched. The role of the Australian National University and its relations with government and ASIO and its resultant complicity in suppressing academic freedom is often alluded to – especially in the case of Peter Worsley (1924-2013), the subject of this paper. When he enrolled in 1952 for PhD research as part of the ANU’s Overseas Scholarships Scheme, he was refused entry to Papua New Guinea and the ANU was drawn into a major scandal over academic freedom. It attempted to shift such criticism by pointing out that it was due to government concern over security. Worsley, however, viewed it differently. In his autobiography, interviews and other commentaries Worsley makes the point that it was the Australian security service (more so than the British MI5) that thwarted his career as an anthropologist.

Shark attacks in Sydney Estuary

Patrick James

Sydney Estuary extends from the Heads to Parramatta and includes Middle Harbour Creek and Lane Cove River. Part of the estuary was examined by Governor Arthur Phillip, David Collins, John Hunter and others in January 1788. This examination led to the relocation of the First Fleet from Botany Bay and to the establishment of the Colony of New South Wales at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. Since this date 27 fatal shark attacks, 15 non-fatal shark attacks and 15 boat attacks by sharks have occurred in the estuary.

‘Things Australians Strive For’: Jack Lang’s landmark speech at the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Gerald Lefurgy

The opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March 1932 has been described as a significant day in Australian history. While much attention has been given to the events, little has been devoted to what was said. On the day of the great Sydney celebration, Jack Lang, the New South Wales Premier, gave one of the most important speeches in Australian history. Lang’s speech intimated national reconciliation/maturity, federalism, social justice and democracy. A closer examination of the historiography reveals that ‘Things Australians Strive For’ was a powerful interpretation and vision of the nation’s past, present and future, in common with another landmark political speech, nearly 70 years earlier, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Independent Women: Midwives of two cities, Sydney and Edinburgh in mid-19th-century

Lesley Potter

Sydney in 1861 was a fledgling British colonial city: Edinburgh in this same year, was the capital of Scotland, an established, sophisticated city of Europe. Drawing on Barbara Mortimer’s 1997 analysis of the nurses and midwives who lived and worked in Edinburgh, this article explores the work practices, survival strategies and educational opportunities of the midwives who resided in Sydney. Mortimer’s study of Independent women: domiciliary nurses in mid-nineteenth–century Edinburgh focuses on the year 1861. This article discusses the independent women who were practising midwives in Sydney in that same year, highlighting the parallels and outlining the differences between the midwives and nurses residing in these two cities. In particular this article examines how these midwives were able to achieve a measure of independence through their work. The nature of that independence proved to be different for each group in each city.


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