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

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

History of the New England New State Movement 1 - scope of work

In January 2010 in Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State I referred to comments from the Hunter calling for the re-formation of the New England New State Movement. As I indicated a little later in Wikipedia and the history of New England, there is almost no decent material on line dealing with the history of the Movement. I think that that's a problem.

I can, of course, be accused of bias. After all, David Drummond who was one of the leaders of the Movement was my grandfather. I was also on the Movement's Executive for a period as the University of New England New State Society representative. However, it's not as clear cut as that.

After my move to Canberra and then the defeat of the 1967 referendum, I drifted away from the issue. When I came to do a biography of my grandfather as a PhD topic, I expected (like Don Aitkin in his work) to focus on the man's public career on one side, politics and the Country Party on the other. The New State Movement would be there, but very much as a secondary issue.

To my surprise, I found that I could not understand Drummond or his career without understanding his love of the North and the relationships between that and the New State Movement. What I had thought of as a secondary issue suddenly moved to central stage. As it did, I found myself again, and quite suddenly, a very strong supporter of New England self-government.

Back in May 2008 in New England New State Movement - consolidated posts linked to the fight for New England self government, I did a consolidation of my blogging to that point. I have not updated this post since and need to do so. However, I also need to provide more developed material that will make it easier to follow the story over time.

The story begins in the colonial period, for it was during the 19th century that historical relationships based on geography were formed that would provide an enduring structure for later events. This was also the period of the first outbreaks of separatist agitation.

While sporadic and localised, these were critical to the launch of serious and sustained agitation that ran in three great waves during twentieth century.

As a first step in telling the story, I am presently focused on the colonial period. I hope to put something up here during the next few days.    


webboy said...

I'm looking forward to reading more about this Jim.

Jim Belshaw said...

Something soon, WB

Peter Firminger said...

I just found an old resource in the Web Archive (Wayback Machine) that has a lot of information about the movement (and maybe a revival of it in the 90s) including maps. The site doesn't seem to exist any more as far as I can see.