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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hunter Valley Research Foundation

Back in March in Newcastle University's regional contribution I asked:

What I really want to do is to be able to show the Newcastle University's specific contribution to its region. I have ideas and hypotheses, but I need to be able to test and extend these. Any ideas? 

I asked this because I am trying to trace the contribution made by individual universities to New England's cultural, social and economic development. Now I know most about UNE, not just because of my personal connections, but because it had a very particular mission and left a larger footprint. 

My feeling is that the University of Newcastle has played a considerable role. Here I know that the Hunter Valley Research Foundation was one spin-off.

Professor Cyril Renwick who played such an important role in its foundation was a household name at our place. It wasn't just his school text that I used when I picked up economics. It was also his role in founding what is now the Foundation.

The HVRF web site describes its foundation in this way:

The Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF) grew out of the devastation of the disastrous 1955 floods which left a trail of destruction and despair throughout the Hunter Valley. After recovery had commenced, a community meeting of over 600 residents took place in Maitland to discuss future action. There was a widespread demand that an effort be made to mitigate the flooding and safeguard the Valley's economy. A decision was taken to set up an organisation to acquire knowledge of the total environment through research and subsequently the HVRF was established.

In writing my history of the broader New England, I really need to deal with this because I think that it is a remarkable story. To my knowledge, this was a unique institution. Further, I would like to weave Professor Renwick's work into my narrative.

I have done some web checking, but again, does anybody have knowledge of published material that might help me?  

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