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

Friday, August 19, 2011

Classical Greek, boxing & New England history

Again, my main history post today, Boxing, history & social change, is on my personal blog. Here I want to make a few short additional comments targeted at the history of New England.

The boxing tents such as those of Jimmy Sharman were part of the texture of life in New England for fifty years. There were those who visited, but also those worked within them.

Boxing was especially important to Aboriginal people because the sport provided an opportunity for income and advancement to a disadvantaged group  However, the importance went beyond this. Boxing was very strong in Newcastle and the lower Hunter because of its working class roots.

I saw the post on my personal blog as a way of sketching out some background, a framework, for later work. In writing my history of New England, I cannot do a history of the world. Yet the inclusion of something like boxing as part of the history of New England life is important in telling an interesting story.

To try to give you a feel for this, compare my boxing post with 1923: Classical Greek in the New England countryside. There is a huge difference between the hot, dusty and sweaty world of the boxing tent and the desire to establish Armidale as a national centre for classical Greek studies. Yet boxing was also a school sport at TAS. I used the school gloves many years later when boxing had already dropped from the frame.

One of the joys of history to my mind remains the contrasts, the way that very different things coexist at the same time. We do ourselves and history no justice when we try to jam things into acceptable frames, ignoring the comparisons and conflicts inherent in any historical period. 


Saturday Morning Musings - boxing & the power of blogging in history on my personal blog provides a consolidated update on these linked posts.

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