Abstracts – JRAHS Volume 103, Part 2 December 2017

Drake’s Progress: The political somersaults of J.G. Drake – Lyndon Megarrity

This article traces the political career of J.G. Drake, a significant MP in Queensland Parliament (1888-1901) and the Australian Senate (1901-1906). It will be shown that despite much controversy over his shifting political alliances, Drake remained true to a version of Liberalism which he had followed since the 1880s. Fundamental to understanding Drake’s ambivalent relationship with the emerging Labor party is his nostalgic attachment to the Queensland Liberal party, which was virtually defunct by 1892.

‘All day there was a stream of curious visitors’: The cremation of Devan Singh in Albury, NSW, July 1905 – Dirk Spenneman

During the 1890s a large number of Punjabi men migrated to Australia in order to further their family’s status at home through remittances. Even though the Punjabi, working as hawkers in rural and remote areas, provided an essential service, they were regarded as unwelcome competition, mainly by white under-employed men during the period of economic recession of the mid-1890s. When economic conditions improved, the outright racism receded, but the Punjabi remained marginalised. This paper traces the relationship between Punjabi hawkers and the Anglo-Celtic host community, using the rural service centre of Albury (NSW, Australia) as the locale and the cremation of the hawker Devan Singh as an example.

Cycling Communities: Bicycle clubs in Australia with an emphasis on Sydney, c. 1860s to 2000s – Marc Rerceretnam

The formation and popularity of bicycle clubs in Australia closely reflects the costs of purchasing a bicycle. In the 1860s it was largely a pastime for the rich and affluent, and by the 1890s it widened to include the middle classes. However by the turn of the twentieth century, with the rich and middle classes smitten with new motorized transportation like automobiles and motorcycles, opportunities to own a bicycle opened up for the first time to the working classes. As a result bicycle clubs flourished throughout the Australian social landscape. The decades following the Second World War saw growth in wealth and the growing affordability of personal motorised transportation. By the 1960s and especially in the 1970s, bicycle users turned away from the low-tech bicycle towards the now affordable automobile. However by the 1990s and 2000s the bicycle acquired new meanings, practicalities and the charm of bicycles were discovered yet again by new affluent professional classes.

The life of Alexander Green revisited: Did he really hang 490 criminals in the colony of New South Wales? – Pamela Harrison

This article shows that Alexander Green was appointed Executioner to the Colony of NSW in January 1834, not 1828 as stated in previous publications. It traces his employment in those six years, thus negating activities previously attributed to him in that time period. Some of his conduct after his appointment is documented, and, contrary to previous claims, he is shown to have married. Part of the record of his time in the lunatic asylum, formerly believed to be lost, has been found, as has the record of his death. The new information shows Green hanged approximately 251 criminals, not 490 as previously claimed.

Surgeon William Redfern in London and Edinburgh 1828–33 – Arthur R Jones

Two published biographical references to William Redfern (1775-1833) serve as his introduction. The later one has a reference to Professor John Pearn’s discovery of Redfern matriculating as a student at Edinburgh University Medical School in 1822. Subsequent investigation initiated by the author of both the 1999 biography and this paper found that William Redfern had returned in 1829, 1830 and 1831 to that same Medical School. Elizabeth Macquarie’s letters now demand attention since she visited Redfern and his son in London in 1828 and mentioned William, in particular, in a number of letters. They are all the more challenging for a contrary opinion of the state of Redfern’s mind in Edinburgh. Evaluating those letters is a major task of this project that at his point has yet to take note of material, independent of the letters, but quite relevant to them.

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