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.