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.