Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New England's Pastoral Dynasties - the Whites: note on sources

This post simply records some source material on the White family


White, James (1828 - 1890), ADB. See also Parliament of NSW

White, Francis (1830-1875), ADB

White, Henry Luke (1860 - 1927), ADB

White, Harold Fletcher (1883 - 1971) ADB. See also Parliament of NSW

White, Patrick: Wikipedia Article; ABC Why Bother with Patrick White? contains a range of useful material including family history


White, Judy, The White family of Belltrees : 150 years in the Hunter Valley, Sydney : Seven Press, 1981.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

History of New England's National Parks - Mount Kaputah

With the exception of the link inserted in the text, the following material is drawn directly from the NSW State Archives agency record for the Mount Kaputar National Park Trust.

"Mount Kaputar National Park is located between Narrabri, Barraba and Bingara.

In 1925 an area of 775 hectares around Mt Kaputar was proclaimed a Reserve for Public Recreation with the Narrabri Shire Council apparently appointed as Trustee of the area. (1)

Two years later Narrabri Shire Council passed control over to the Mount Kaputar Trust, which was a group of very interested and dedicated local people. This group gave advice and guidance on management issues within the reserve. (2)

In 1959 the reserve became Mount Kaputar National Park but remained under the management of the Trust. (3)

In 1967 the Mount Kaputah National Park was permanently reserved as a national park under section 15 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1967 (Act No.35, 1967). The park was then described as containing about 35, 200 acres in the Counties of Courallie, Jamison, Murchison and Nandewar, Parishes of Bombell, Terrergee, Cowinmangarah, Paleroo, Rusden, Coryah and Ningadhun. (4) In 1967 the park (then 14,244 acres) came under control of the newly-established National Parks and Wildlife Service. A regional advisory committee now gives advice and guidance. (5)

On 31 January 1969 a further 6,290 acres 2 roods and 20 perches in the County of Nandewar, Parish Rusden were reserved as an addition to the Mount Kaputar National Park. (6) On 5 December 1969 a further 100 acres in the County of Nandewar, Parish Rusden were reserved as an addition to the Park. (7)


(1) Department of Environment and Climate Change website http://www2.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/parks.nsf/ Mount Kaputar National Park printable travel guide(cited 30 Jun 2008).

(2) Loc. cit.

(3) Loc. cit.

(4) National Parks and Wildlife Act 1967 (Act No.35, 1967) s.15 (1) and First Part of the Third Schedule.

(5) Loc. cit. note 1.

(6) NSW Government Gazette No.12, 31 January 1969, p.357.

(7) Ibid. No.142, 5 December 1969, p.5043.

Friday, August 15, 2008

History of New England's National Parks - the Warrumbungles

Note to readers: Much of the following material directly quotes the NSW Government source listed at the end of the post.

The Warrumbungle National Park lies 329km (4:43 hours driving time) south east of Armidale, 480km (6:4 hours driving time) north-east of Sydney. The Warrumbungles are the spectacular remnants of a large, heavily eroded shield volcano that was active from 18 to 15 million years ago.

The first European record of the Warrumbungle Mountains was by the explorer John Oxley in 1818, on his second inland expedition. While Oxley named the mountains Arbuthnots Range, the original Aboriginal name has survived. Warrumbungle comes from the Kamilaroi language and is believed to mean 'crooked mountains'.

Soon after Oxley's exploration, settlers arrived. Although some logging took place and valleys and lower slopes were cleared for grazing, large tracts of more rugged land were left largely alone. Some logging took place and valleys and lower slopes were cleared for grazing. Evidence of previous pastoral use survives in the park in old fences, some ruins and exotic garden species at sites where old homesteads and huts once stood.

Bushwalkers and rock climbers had discovered the Warrumbungles by the 193os. The first proposal for a national park was made in 1936. However it was not until January 1952 when, with the agreement of the owner, approval was given for 2428 hectares to be withdrawn from the Crown Lease held by Alfred Pincham and reserved for public recreation. On 30 October 1953 an area of 3360 hectares was notified as Warrumbungle National Park under the care, control and management of trustees appointed by the Minister for Lands.

The first ranger for the park, Carl Dow, oversaw the construction of a new network of walking tracks. These were all built by hand, a considerable physical feat in the rugged Warrumbungles terrain. The John Renshaw Parkway, providing vehicle access to Coonabarabran, was completed in 1966. In 1967 the management of the park was handed over to the newly created NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. A new camping area was opened in 1975 at Camp Blackman. In 1987 a new visitor centre was opened and a field studies centre opened in 1994. Visitor access roads and infrastructure have been gradually upgraded over the years.

Visitation to the park increased dramatically from a few hundred annually in the 1950s to over 85,000 people in the 1980s. While visitor numbers then declined, between 40,000 and 70,000 people are reported to visit the park every year. A recent study found that the park contributes to the viability of local economies by generating revenue and directly and indirectly providing employment.


The material in this post is drawn from NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, Warrumbungle National Park

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome to visitor 2000

By the nature of its subject matter as well as may approach, this is not a high traffic blog. So it gives me great pleasure to welecome visitor 2,000.

He/she came from Arizona and searched on how fast are horses. This led to How fast do horses travel?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Notes on New England Historiography - the importance of geography 1

I know the geography of New England pretty well. Even so, I am regularly reminded that I do not know it well enough.

Back in November 2006 in my second post on this blog, Geography of New England - Introduction, I suggested that to understand New England's history we needed to understand New England's geography, the way in which climate and landscape have helped shape New England life. This remains true.

I know the Tablelands and coast best simply because I have spent more time there.

Flying back the other day from Grafton to Sydney, the first time that I had done this, I found that I could recognise all the main rivers and coastal towns from the air quite easily because I had a very good mudmap in my mind. The same is true of the Tablelands.

As we move west, my knowledge weakens. While I have driven through the area, there are more places that I have not visited. For that reason, I have begun to write a series of posts on the New England Australia blog with a western focus. I have added a list at the end of the post that I will try to update from time to time.

If there are gaps in my knowledge of current geography, they become still greater as we move back into the geographic past. When I look at the geographic posts I have written on this blog, also listed at the bottom, there is just the one post on the Macleay Valley dealing in any way with the more distant geographic past.

We all write history in different ways. I write by creating patterns in my mind that I then test and refine with further research. In doing so, I use existing histories as a starting point where they exist. In other cases, I collect pieces of information, then fit them together to form an initial rough outline.

The relations between human beings and their surrounding environment is quite complex.

In one sense, geography just is. It may change with time. It may be affected by human occupation. However, it can be described in physical terms.

Human perceptions of the geographical world around them, the nature of the interactions between humans and that world, is very different. These interactions take place at many levels and are often unseen. Often, they have to be inferred from the evidence.

In all cases, though, the starting point has to be the actual geography itself. If you do not understand this, then it becomes hard if not impossible to understand human history.

Western Posts

Geography Posts