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

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Round the history blogs 11 - Australian focus

It's been over three months since my last history blog round-up! Today, I want to focus on Australian history blogs.

Springwood Historians is a new blog focusing on the local history of Springwood in the Blue Mountains. These local history blogs are very important because they give people like me a base to build from in writing broader histories.

Gordon Smith's Old News from Armidale & New England continues to provide sometimes random excerpts from old newspapers. I love the serendipity of it all. His Impersonation at Exam provides a 1943 example of alleged exam cheating that made the courts. His Death Of Mr. E. C. Sommerlad records the death of a New England pressman who had national reach.

ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly continues to record details of the visual past. I remain of the view that this is one of Australia's best history blogs. It doesn't always deal just with Australia, and that's one of its strengths.

Looking up — Sydney's history from a new angle is a new blog from the Dictionary of Sydney. Its very good and well worth a visit. However, here I want to express a gripe.

On pure population ratio terms, the history of the area that I write about, Northern NSW or the broader New England, should get a third of the money going to support Sydney history. It doesn't. It would be lucky to get 5%. This actually distorts the writing of history.

I found the new Sydney blog through Archives Outside's April link roundup post. this, too, is worth a read.

In How I work with my material- Access, the Resident Judge of Port Phillip deals with the question of how to order research material. I must admit to feeling a sense of helplessness here. As an independent researcher, I neither know nor have access to the type of things she is talking about.

In The deployment of Allied land forces in 1942, Nigel Davies responds to criticisms about his analysis of the deployment of Allied Divisions in 1942.

I read this post quite carefully because I think that Nigel's argument is important. Essentially, he argues two things. First, you have to get your statistics right.  Secondly, in making judgements you have to look at the overall flow of the war. What might happen is really more important than what did happen in considering deployments.

Why do I say that this post of Nigel's is important? Surely his arguments are self-evident? Not so.

Here in Australia we have a very strong tendency to focus just on Australia, not Australia's position in what was a global conflict. This actually distorts judgements.

Further, war is about what ifs. What if the Germans had deployed resources south and east instead of getting sucked into street fighting in Russia? If they had seized Middle East oil supplies then the outcome of the war could well have been different. British planning had to take this into account. 

All for now. 

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