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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round the history blogs 4 - Aborigines, Canada, architecture

Will Owen's Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American Eye focuses on art, but also provides a wealth of information from time to time on Australian Aboriginal history. Will's blog led me to an article in Insight by Dean Ashenden, The strange career of the Australian conscience.  This traces the relationships between anthropologists Baldwin Spencer and Frank Gillen, with a special focus on the writing of the Native Tribes of Central Australia.

One of the things that I find difficult looking at the history of the Aborigines is the vast gap in comprehension in the European mind about things Aboriginal. To my mind, the reaction to that incomprehension and the things that flowed from it have further twisted our understanding of Aboriginal Australia. I am not immune to this. Instead of researching and writing what was, I find myself shaking my head and saying, you can't have believed that! 

A new set of articles is out on Australian Policy and History, providing some good reading. APH is always looking for new articles. The guidelines read: 

Guidelines to submitting an article

We are looking for two kinds of articles for Australian Policy & History: short opinion-style pieces; and longer, more traditional style academic papers. Both are to be written in clear, concise text appropriate for a non-academic audience. The emphasis should be on policy relevance, with a clear focus on what can be learned from history for policy makers.

1. For opinion pieces, these can be between 500-1000 words written in a newspaper-style that is short, sharp, engaging and to the point.

2. For APH papers, we would like the following:-

  • Between 2,000 — 4,000 words
  • Short succinct paragraphs with sub-headings if necessary
  • No footnotes but a short reading list at the end
  • An executive summary [or abstract] at the beginning of the article explaining the major points [using bullet points]

There is a content review process, but this is far simpler than the journals.

Archives Outside has consolidated all the tips it received on dating photos into a single table. This is a very valuable document. You will find it here

Staying with Archives Outside, 2010 marks 200 hundred years since Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of the colony of NSW. This story on the celebrations actually ran some time ago, but I am including it because it contains links to evolving digital display created by NSW State Records.

My thanks to Christopher Moore's History News for this one. Historypin is a new site developed in conjunction with Google that aims to allow people to pin photos and stories. Say there is a modern scene: then people can attach past photos of that scene with stories. I'm not sure how this will work in practice,

Like most web 2.0 applications, time is required to see if it will work. So far, there is nothing posted from the areas that I am most interested in.

Staying  with Christopher Moore, since my visit to Canada last year I have become very interested in Canadian history. As I usually do, I bought some histories and then wrote some posts. Without realising it, I wrote something drawing from Christopher's work and he responded with a positive comment. So I started following his blog.

Canada is just so different from Australia, yet also familiar because Empire and Commonwealth provided a common framework for both countries. For a number of reasons, Australia has truncated its past, putting Imperial linkages into a them and us class. Yet you cannot understand Australian history without understanding the British and Imperial past.

To see what I mean by differences, have a look at a site identified by Chris, Mike Green's history of the Canadian Confederation. The length and complexity of Canadian history is far greater than that of Australia. Yet the evolution of Canada played out, as it did in Australia, within a frame set by Imperial policy. I suspect that Australia as it is today actually depends in part upon the story of British North America. But who in Australia would know?

Finishing on a different note, a little while ago I went down to Bathurst to watch Clare (youngest) play hockey. Driving and walking around Bathurst, I was struck by the architecture. Does anybody know of blogs that deal with the history of Australian architecture beyond ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly?       

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