RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 107 pt 1 June 2021 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 107 pt 1 June 2021 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 107 pt 1 June 2021 ABSTRACTS

The Military Command of Maurice O’Connell, 1838-1847 – Craig Wilcox

The first commander in chief appointed to Australia, Sir Maurice O’Connell led a military garrison from 1838 to 1847 with a larger budget than the New South Wales judiciary and post office put together and more people than lived in Campbelltown or Goulburn. His decisions, or more often his failure to make them, influenced the lives of thousands, including settlers and Māori in New Zealand where his troops fought two wars from 1845 to 1848. Remembered for his earlier tenure in Australia as a colonel under Governor Macquarie who married a daughter of Governor Bligh, O’Connell has otherwise escaped the attention of historians. His later and far more influential post as garrison commander is worth investigating.

‘Sorry We Cannot Supply’: Empire trade preference and its impact on Australian motor body builders – Justin Chadwick

This article explores the impact of the British Preferential Tariff and Trade Diversion policies of the Australian Federal Government on the motor car body building industry during the interwar period. It argues that the preferential system of trade within the British Empire, while benefiting Australian primary producers, was not always necessarily ideal for secondary industries, particularly mass-production motor body builders, such as General Motors-Holden’s and T.J. Richards & Sons. This is demonstrated as these body builders introduced the use of wide, long draw mild steel for the manufacture of the all-steel, Fisher body design in 1936. Although the local companies attempted to abide by the requests of the Government to use British-made steel, those manufacturers were unable, due to limitations of facilities and preparations by Britain for the impending war, to supply export markets. As sheet steel supplies dwindled the body builders were forced to lay-off workers until the government finally capitulated and allowed material from US steel makers.

Restoring Order in ‘The Present Scare’: the Bridge Street Affray in fin de siècle Sydney – Mark Hearn

Assaulting several police officers while attempting to flee an interrupted burglary, Charles Montgomery and Thomas Williams were convicted of the capital offence of intent to murder and hanged in Darlinghurst Gaol in May 1894. The Bridge Street affray reflected a fear of anarchy and breakdown in the social order and provided the pretext that armed the NSW Police. The affray and the ‘reprieve agitation’ exposed broader tensions at work in fin de siècle colonial society, as the state not only constrained the pathology of crime, but also the challenges of protest, working class radicalism and strike action.

Malta, the Nurse of the Mediterranean and Cottonera Hospital: the Australian connection – John Portelli

Cottonera Hospital, Malta, played a leading role in the treatment of the sick and war casualties, including many Anzacs, from the Gallipoli and Salonika Campaigns during World War I, when Malta became known as ‘The Nurse of the Mediterranean’.

In the space of two years, Malta, with a population of just over 200,000, became one of the British Empire’s largest complexes of military hospitals that saw an influx of close to 125,000 patients. This was a national effort with the active participation of the civilian population. Distinguished consultants from Britain’s leading hospitals gave their services at Cottonera Hospital and the other 26 hospitals in Malta.

Cottonera Hospital closed its doors in 1920 only to reopen again in 1929 as St Edward’s College. St Edward’s was founded by Lady Strickland, wife of Lord Gerald Strickland, at the time Prime Minister of Malta and formerly Governor of Tasmania, Western Australia and New South Wales.

The Irish Boys at Burnside Homes – Keith Amos

Between 1910 and 1970, through various government-approved child migration schemes operated by charitable and religious institutions, about 7,000 young Britons came or were sent to Australia. This article sheds light on the unique case of 22 Irish boys who were displaced from a Connemara orphanage in June 1922 during the Irish Civil War. They had been in the care of the (Anglican) Irish Church Mission Society and were offered refuge in Australia by Burnside Presbyterian Orphan Homes at North Parramatta.

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 2 Dec 2020 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 2 Dec 2020 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 2 December 2020 ABSTRACTS

Spain and the Botany Bay colony: a response to an imperial challenge – Robert J. King

The founding of the Botany Bay colony in 1788 was viewed with disquiet in Spain and its empire, accustomed as its rulers were for over three and a half centuries to view the whole Pacific as their exclusive preserve. Over the following two decades, as a titanic struggle played out between Britain and France for world dominance, a defensive Spanish empire had to consider how to react to the strategic challenge of the new colony. The immediate Spanish reaction was to include a visit to the colony in the itinerary of the 1789-1794 expedition commanded by Alexandro Malaspina.


Australia and the Dardanelles Commission, 1916-1917: a re-assessment – Carl Bridge & Jatinder Mann

Rupert and James Murdoch, who made appearances before the Leveson Inquiry into press corruption on 19 July 2011, were not the first in their family to appear before a commission of British Parliament. That ambiguous honour goes to Rupert’s father – another journalist and later newspaper proprietor and knight – Keith, who appeared before the Dardanelles Commission on 5 February 1917. From an Australian point of view, there were two key players in the Dardanelles Commission story: Andrew Fisher and Keith Murdoch; two Scottish Australians ‘on the make’. Fisher was the Australian Prime Minister who had committed Australian troops to the Dardanelles Campaign and Murdoch the journalist who was Fisher’s unofficial ‘eyes and ears’ at Gallipoli reporting back from that front confidentially at a crucial stage of the fighting.


Avoid stigmatising them by name – Michael Williams

The Dictation Test is often held up as the symbol of the White Australia policy and for over 50 years after 1901 was the prime mechanism by which ‘undesirables’ were denied entry to Australia. This paper discusses the background, historical, political and ideological, to the developments that led to the creation of a fake test it was a crime to fail. In particular it looks at the 1897 Imperial Conference at which the colonial Premiers debated the mechanism of restriction with Joseph Chamberlain representing the British government. A discussion leading directly to the compromise that evolved into the Commonwealth’s Dictation Test. Many factors were involved ranging from considerations of empire, both internal and external, to questions of class, principle and concern over appearances. The compromise that became the uniquely unpassable Dictation Test was a contested one that Australia was to live with for the next two generations.


Living with the Hume Dam, 1919–2019 – Bruce Pennay

Commemorative events in Albury-Wodonga to mark the centenary of the turning of the first sod for the Hume Dam prompted reflection on the history and heritage of the dam. This article traces some of the main stories that have been projected onto or read from the Hume Dam and the circumstances in which they appeared. It notes how the dam was acclaimed as a nation-building political achievement and an engineering triumph. It points to the emergence of concerns about the environmental impact of damming the Murray River. It outlines present-day concerns about how the water released from the dam best meets a balance of social, economic and environmental needs. It unravels some of the mystique that has developed about the place at the local level.

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 1 June 2020 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 1 June 2020 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 106 pt 1 June 2020 ABSTRACTS

The Elusive Reginald Benjamin Levien: Victoria’s commercial agent in Asia, fraudster, recidivist – James Cotton

R. B. Levien was appointed in 1905 Victorian commercial agent in North Asia. Setting up office in Shanghai in late 1906 he and his colleague Frederic Jones of Queensland were the first Australian government officials based in China. Levien’s appointment was an act of patronage and he endured a sustained press campaign critical of his role, but his work to 1909 coincided with expanding Victorian trade with Asia. An elusive personality who receives scant mention in the literature, he was subsequently gaoled for fraud. This article also establishes that, later serving in the AIF under an assumed name, he spent a year in military prison similarly for fraud.

Anna Blackwell Sydney Morning Herald correspondent in Paris (1860-1890) – Patricia Clarke

Anna Blackwell’s dispatch as she fled Paris when the Prussian Army approached the capital in 1870 was a high point of her long representation as the Sydney Morning Herald’s correspondent in France. Appointed in 1860 when only a handful of women in Australia had any journalistic association with newspapers, the Fairfax family valued her ‘gossiping’ style. Her dramatic dispatch on the Franco-Prussian War reveals several facets of the changing face of Australian press history. Two years later cable communication revolutionised many aspects of news gathering and production. Major news arrived in hours but dispatches from correspondents such as Blackwell continued to be sent by ship mail. This had ramifications for the perceived value of their dispatches.

Speculator, Settler, Selector, Squatter, Surveyor: Surveyors and the Land Laws, 1860s to 1880s – Terry Kass

The two decades after the passing of the Crown Lands Alienation and Occupation Acts of 1862 until 1884 when the Acts were considerably revised was a pivotal period in land settlement in New South Wales. The establishment of ‘free selection’ began a frenzy of land acquisition by selectors and squatters who hoped to protect their runs from selectors. Surveyors were tasked with measuring land particularly Conditional Purchases established by the Alienation Act. They gained considerable knowledge of the workings of the Act as well as the districts to which they were assigned. Surveyors also acquired land. How did their land-use affect their professional role of measuring and assessing land? What checks and balances were in place ensuring that they did not indulge in unethical practices? This article examines the experiences of three typical Licensed Surveyors active from 1862 and 1884 and beyond to examine these issues.

No Band of Brothers: Officers and internal politics in the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion, 1915-1918 – William Westerman

Mythology concerning the Australian contribution to World War I minimises important aspects about the experience of officers, including issues of competence and ineffectiveness, as well as internal frictions and rivalries. This article provides a more complex view of Australian officers, presenting the history of senior officers in the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion. It shows how officers moved through the Australian Imperial Force as an organisation, and that the battalion was rife with ambitious officers, personal rivalries and that internal politics was a large factor in determining which officers were promoted.

Percy Gledhill’s memorial to Aboriginal People – Keith Amos

On a public reserve beside the Hawkesbury River near Lower Portland, a little-known memorial obelisk is dedicated: ‘To the Aborigines of the Hawkesbury for whom this area was originally reserved’. Unveiled in 1952, it was instigated by Percy Gledhill (1890-1962), councillor and fellow of the Royal Australian Historical Society. The memorial commemorates Sackville Reach Aboriginal Reserve (1889-1946), founded by the Aborigines Protection Board and serviced by resident missionaries from the NSW Aborigines Mission. This article outlines the reserve’s history with particular attention to Gledhill’s role in organising the monument.

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 2 Dec 2019 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 2 Dec 2019 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 2 Dec 2019 ABSTRACTS

The Physical Endeavour: how a wooden ship shaped Cook’s first circumnavigation – Claire Brennan

This article examines the role of his vessel in James Cook’s first Pacific voyage. The Endeavour strongly influenced what Cook was able to attempt and its limitations directed the course of the voyage. A close reading of the journals of Cook and Joseph Banks reveals the ways in which the physical conditions of the vessel influenced the voyage and casts fresh light on the Endeavour’s voyage around the world.

Governor King and the illicit distillers, 1800-1806 – Darren Hopkins

This article consists mostly of unpublished manuscript material concerning cases of illicit distillation brought before the Magistrates during the administration of Governor King, notably the first prolific period of colonial distillation during the last years of his governorship, 1805-06. Most of the distillers tried during this period were comprised of the ‘United Irishmen’ involved in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, who had begun to arrive in the Colony in 1800, but also consisted of a broader spectrum of the colonial population, such as the English convicts, free settlers, and ex-military personnel. This article also highlights the conflict regarding the prosecution of illicit distillers between the Governor versus the Judge Advocate and the Sydney, Parramatta and Hawkesbury Magistrates (some of whom were also distillers).

The 1820 influenza outbreak in Sydney and its impact on Indigenous and settler populations – Denis Gojak

Reflecting on its impending bicentenary, this paper explores Sydney’s first influenza epidemic in mid-1820 through a range of source material. It caused perhaps a hundred deaths among its settler inhabitants and affected all parts of the community. Less well understood is the impact it had on the Aboriginal people of southeastern Australia, although we know that many deaths resulted.

Although variable in its effects, the influenza epidemic had broader importance in weakening Indigenous resistance to pastoral expansion, as European expansion in Australia and the Pacific became increasingly associated with rapid transfer of infectious diseases. It presents a novel use of biographical and demographic data to understand the effects of influenza on isolated populations.

Enid and Elaine de Chair: Government House and Modernism in Sydney – Anne Sanders

Lady Enid de Chair was the very popular and active vice-regal wife of the 25th Governor of New South Wales, Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair, KCB, MVO.

Enid’s support of early Australian modernist artists in Sydney and her indefatigable support of women’s clubs and organisations, make her a very interesting subject in her own right. She amassed a significant Australian art collection, some of which has returned to Australia in auction sales. An energetic, enthusiastic and adventurous woman – born in South Africa, educated in England, started her married life in America – she travelled widely with a young family. During their vice-regal tenure, both de Chair women – mother Enid and daughter Elaine – were acknowledged as having played important roles as active, modern, forthright women. For Lady de Chair, as chatelaine of Sydney’s Government House by the glorious harbour, it was her happiest home.

Reverend George Soo Hoo Ten – Howard Le Couteur

The Reverend George Soo Hoo Ten was the first Chinese person ordained in the Anglican Church (Church of England) in Australia, in December, 1885. It was a time of rising anti-Chinese feeling, and his active ministry was backgrounded by a strong racist discourse. His ministry, though based amongst the Chinese population of Sydney, was not geographically limited, as he was regularly visiting Chinese communities in rural New South Wales and other Australian colonies. He was also very active in training Chinese catechists for the evangelisation of their countrymen. In fact, the ministry to the Chinese community was dependent on the work of these Chinese catechists. His story is part of a larger story of the work of various churches amongst Chinese settlers.

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 1 June 2019 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 1 June 2019 ABSTRACTS

RAHS Subscriptions: Journals – Vol 105 pt 1 June 2019 ABSTRACTS

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 improvement of estates and the creation of planned 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.