Abstracts – JRAHS Vol 100 Part 2 December 2014

Fifty-five years an amateur historian and bibliophile – John Alexander Ferguson Memorial Lecture 2014

Keith Johnson

Looks at the lecturers’ observations from his recollections of the RAHS in the 1960s and give details from his survey of long standing members throughout the Society’s history. His book collecting over the years has fostered an interest in biographical reference works, particularly those published in Australia and some discoveries will be discussed as well as the evolution of the “not for profit” BIOGRAPHICAL DATABASE OF AUSTRALIA, which has been on line since late 2013 and will be a “work in progress” for many years (added to biannually).


Lost and found and lost and found: the discovery and rediscovery of Tench’s Prospect Mount

Vic Jurkis

In April 1791 Governor Phillip led an expedition to determine whether or not the Nepean and the Hawkesbury were the same river. The initial objective was Richmond Hill on the Hawkesbury. The party reached the river downstream of Richmond Hill but upstream of its supposed location. They walked downstream until they were blocked by Cattai Creek, then followed it upstream and headed it. A steep gully prevented the party from following the right bank of the stream. They ascended rising ground on its left and gained the top of a ridge whence they saw that Richmond Hill was upstream of the point where they had made the River. Phillip named this barren ridgetop ‘Tench’s Prospect Mount’ after a leader of the party, and it was shown on a rudimentary map published in 1793. Despite various erroneous modern reports, its precise location remained unknown until I identified it in 2013.


Suspect Women in the Western Division of New South Wales

Jan Cooper

In the 1950s in far western New South Wales, women were prevented from owning land and stock by a Labor minister and senior officials. It was a secretive process, unrecognised by legislation or parliament. This paper reveals and explains how it was done using concepts from past closer and soldier settlement to justify it. These usages failed to mask the fact that, in modern terms, women were being discriminated against on the grounds of gender and that neither closer, nor soldier, settlement was advanced in any way by the policies and decisions.


Six o’clock closing and the growth of prostitution in Sydney, 1916-27

Paul Bleakley

The New South Wales government’s introduction of the Early Closing Act in 1916 was a legislative move designed to curb the growing culture of vice-related crime across the state. Instead, the period between 1916 and 1927 saw rampant growth in crime – largely prostitution. Qualitative exploration of the issue indicates that the quasi-prohibition of alcohol led to the establishment of ‘sly-grog’ houses; these venues of illicit trade provided sex workers with a location in which to practice their trade under the protection of organised criminal syndicates and corrupt elements of New South Wales law enforcement.


The Manor Family: Australia’s oldest urban commune

Bill Metcalf

The Manor Family has had as many as 55 members living in its heritage-listed Mosman house on Sydney Harbour, but now has only six and, aged 91, is one of the oldest urban commune in the world. While some critics once condemned it as a cult led by a charismatic charlatan, to others it has been, and remains, a centre of spiritual practice and cultural and artistic achievements. The Manor Family’s history, in many ways, reflects Australia’s history of religious and new-age thought and practice. Today, The Manor Family remains a fascinating home − but still, in many ways, enigmatic.

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