The women in Arthur Phillip’s life – Michael Flynn

Arthur Phillip, first governor of New South Wales 1788-1792, married twice. As an aspiring naval lieutenant of 24 he married Charlotte Denison née Tibbott, a wealthy widow of 42. Thirty-one years later, at 55, he married Isabella Whitehead, a wealthy single woman of 43.  Neither of these women ever came to NSW, but their stories are intertwined with that of the colony’s first Governor and shed light on his enigmatic character. Phillip, the ambitious son of a German immigrant and an ordinary Londoner, chose to marry two ‘women of fortune’ who remained childless.  Their wealth, manorial estates, social position and connections helped make his career a success. 

Macquarie and the Towns – Iain Stuart

This paper discusses the creation of the “Macquarie Towns” in 1811 in the context of the experiences of Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie with “improvement” and “planned towns” in Scotland. The improving of estates and the creation of planed towns or villages were part of the so-called “Scottish Enlightenment”.

It is shown that the concept of improving estates and the creation of planned towns would have been familiar to both Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie through their direct experience of such estates and interaction with “improvers”. It is argued that this experience was part of the cultural baggage brought to Australia by the Macquarie’s and applied in the case of the settlement along the Hawkesbury, in particular Windsor.

The founding of the Macquarie towns was Macquarie’s first major act as governor and at once emphasised his authority and ability to impose order on disorder. In doing so, Macquarie brought his practical experience and personal knowledge of improvement and planned towns, as well as his instructions as Governor to solve the “problem” of the Hawkesbury settlement by creating the towns.

Histories of the Chinese in regional NSW 1850 to 1950 – Janis Wilton

The past two decades have witnessed a significant growth in research and writing on the histories of Chinese in regional New South Wales. This work taps into broader developments in the study of migration and of Chinese-Australians, and builds from locally focused and supported studies. It is also informed by interdisciplinary approaches and by the opportunities presented through various forms of public history. This article tracks and comments on these developments, identifies key features, suggests areas for further research, and provides annotated endnotes that invite engagement with the variety of research, writing and public history on the Chinese in regional New South Wales.

The introduction of barbed wire to lineside fences of the New South Wales Railways – John Pickard

The first railways built in Britain were regarded with considerable suspicion. Land-owners were concerned that the noise and rapid movement of trains would scare cattle and sheep, or worse, would kill their stock if they strayed onto the lines; and travellers worried that their horses would bolt when they saw trains. Thus, the lines were fenced with various combinations of fences typical of the time: hedges, ditches-and-banks, and various wooden fences. By the late 1840s, Scottish iron manufacturer Charles D. Young & Co recognised a developing market, and advertised a series of wire fences specifically for lineside fences.

When the first government railway was built in New South Wales in 1849, the 20.8 miles from Sydney to Haslams Creek near Parramatta were fenced on both sides. The fences were most likely post-and-rail, typical of farms near Sydney at the time, and cost £914 8s 10d, or 3.5 per cent of the total first-cost of the railway. Enabling legislation for each extension or new line required fencing to minimise damage to locomotives and rolling stock, and interruptions to timetables. Subsequent legislation changed and fencing on many new lines was optional. Maintenance and replacement of aging fences was an on-going cost, and in the early 1880s, the new technology of barbed wire offered a partial solution. 

Careful cost-comparison and limited testing preceded the adoption of barbed wire for lineside fencing of the NSW Railways (NSWR) in the 1880s. But it was not without controversy and suggestions of political corruption. In this paper I review how the NSWR assessed barbed wire, concluding that Commissioner Charles Goodchap was a classic and cautious early-adopter, and the corruption allegations were unfounded.

At the last resort: the Bells Line of Road during the threat of invasion, 1939-1942 – Michael Larnach

This article considers the redevelopment of the Bells Line of Road during World War II, a route identified as possessing definite strategic importance to the Greater Sydney region. In so doing it examines the geographical, political and social factors, both local and international, which impacted on its redevelopment. Accordingly it explores how much work was completed within this period and further evaluates whether the road, as it existed in mid-1942, would have been able to provide a meaningful and practical alternative route across the Blue Mountains if the worst-case scenario of an actual Japanese invasion had eventuated.


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