New England's History

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

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 6 -Despair and then rebirth

Graham Wilson OAM. Both University Archivist Gerry Purkis and Graham as Director of the New England Historical Resources Centre resigned over the failure of the networked University of New England to properly address the organisation of regional records.

This is the sixth and final in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

By 1980 both the Armidale College of Advanced Education with its Museum of Education and New England Historical Resources Centre and the University of New England were providing valuable services to staff, students and the Northern NSW community.

Both institutions had experienced significant growth over the previous decade. Some problems were already apparent, but the future still seemed secure.

Nine years later, both had vanished into the maws of that mess called the networked University of New England, an uncomfortable amalgam of the Armidale College of Advanced Education, the University of New England and the Northern Rivers College of Education. Orange Agricultural College was added a little later.

I will tell you a little of those turbulent years in my next series of columns. It’s a story of Armidale’s rise, fall and then slow recovery. It’s also a story of the way hubris, loss of vision, political divides and complacency reduced the capacity of institutions and community to respond to external threats.

For the moment, the merger of the Armidale College of Advanced Education and University left open the question of what should be done with the Archives, Historical Resources Centre and Museum of Education.

In August 1989, Graham Wilson as Director of the Historical Resources Centre and Gerry Purkis as University Archivist wrote a joint report on future directions. They proposed that the University Archives, the Family History Collection and the Historical Resources Centre should be gathered together at the Mossman Street Campus.

The networked university was already struggling with the integration of ACAE staff and activities into the new institution, as well as broader integration questions across the whole network. In these circumstances, the future of these historical resources was not seen as a high priority.

Gerry Purkis resigned as archivist. His position would remain vacant for three years.

At the end of 1992, a frustrated Graham Wilson also resigned as Director of the Historical Resources Centre. He had been working on a volunteer basis with no relief from teaching load available to accommodate Centre management.  

The entire range of regional archival and support services that had been provided since the 1940s was now in effective suspension. One result was a sharp drop in research and publications focused on regional interests including history. A second was loss of community support for the university.

The network university was abolished in 1994 leading to re-establishment of a separate if much diminished independent UNE.

As had been recommended in 1989, UNE now finally decided to use C.B Newling Library building as a central site for the management of U.N.E. Archives, the Historical Resources Centre and the Museum of Education. The Heritage Centre as we know it today had been born.

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020, here 2021.

Friday, January 22, 2021

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 5 - Lionel Gilbert and the foundation of the New England Historical Resources Centre

Lionel Gilbert played a critical role in the promotion of local and regional history.

This is the fifth in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

Both Armidale and the broader North have been lucky in the people who have fought to build and preserve our institutions, including those concerned with the preservation of our history and culture. Lionel Gilbert was one such man.

Lionel Gilbert was born at Burwood in Sydney on 8 December 1924. After graduating from Sydney Teachers” College in 1942, Gilbert served in the Royal Australian Airforce, returning to teaching in 1946.

As a teacher, Gilbert taught at Nabiac Central School, Wauchope Primary School and then Rocky River Primary School. At Nabiac, he met and married Margaret Roberts. Daughter Anne was born in 1960.

In 1955, Gilbert enrolled as an external student in the first class of the University of New England’s new external studies program, the first of its type in Australia. In 1963 he graduated with first class honours His honours thesis covered the history of botanical knowledge of the eastern seaboard of Australia 1788–1815.

In 1961, Gilbert was appointed by UNE as a Research and Information Officer in the Department of External Studies. In this capacity, Gilbert taught weekend classes on the methodology of local history for the university's adult education department throughout inland New England.

In many ways, the 1960s and 1970s marked the peak of UNE’s extension efforts across Northern NSW and indeed beyond, a focus that would later be lost in constant institutional change. The current NERAM exhibition on the UNE summer schools provides a partial picture of the period.

In July 1963, Gilbert accepted an appointment as lecturer in applied history and curator with the Armidale Teachers' College (later College of Advanced Education) Museum of Education.

The focus of the ATC and later from 1971 the Armidale College of Advanced Education was on hands on learning. By 1973, more than a 1,000 school students each year were visiting the Armidale Folk Museum to learn about the exhibits and their connection with local history.

The new NSW Junior Secondary History Syllabus based on ‘enquiry’ and ‘problem solving’ provided an opportunity for Gilbert to extend outreach because the need for students to match the new curriculum with primary and secondary resources was not being met by traditional museums. A new type of hands on repository was required.

In December 1974, Gilbert obtained funding to establish a new Regional Historical Resources Centre. This involved collection of new material along with the copying of archival and other resources to make them accessible to teachers and students.

Although the cataloguing and collecting of material was on-going, sufficient progress had been made to enable an official opening of the new Centre on 20 February 1976.

The Historical Resources Centre was an immediate success, welcomed by teachers, students and historical societies across Northern NSW. However, events were now to occur that would threaten the survival of both the Centre and UNE’s own regional archive.

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020, here 2021.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 4 - UNE only institution interested in preserving the records of the North

David Drummond in later years. Australian National Librarian Harold White wanted the Drummond papers to come to the National Library as a collection of national importance. To White's annoyance. Drummond insisted that they go to the University of New England Archives.

This is the fourth in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

Writing in the Australian Library Journal in March 1963, University of New England Archivist R J McDonald commented that the distinctive feature of the UNE case was the absence of any other intuitions interested in the records of the North.

If  "the University had not begun collecting records in this area they would not have been collected at all", McDonald wrote.

By now, the holdings had begun to expand rapidly, a process continued under the second archivist Alan Wilkes. Wilkes was determined to collect and preserve as many records as he could and would go to considerable lengths to do so, including collecting remote records by horse!

The 1960s marked the start of a period of great change.

Many smaller organizations such as dairy and banana cooperatives were closing. Long standing pastoral families who held records dating back to the foundation of the first runs were making hard choices about the retention or destruction of property and family records. Newspapers were deciding what to do with their records and past editions.

Under Wilkes’s vigorous collection policies these records started to flow to the UNE archives from across Northern NSW, a process aided by the loyalty felt by many to UNE and the North.

The transfer of the Drummond papers in the early 1960s is one example.

National Librarian Harold White, a good friend of David Drummond, had expected the collection to go to the National Library as a collection of national importance. He was not pleased when Drummond chose to pass them to the UNE Archives.

Drummond would not be budged. To his mind, the papers belonged with the University he had helped found.

The rapid rise in the collection saved many records that would have been lost, in so doing creating an archival collection of national importance. However, Alan’s vigorous approach also created a difficulty, the need to document the collection and to create finding aids that would allow easy access. This remains a problem today.

While the UNE archives were expanding, another move was taking place in a sister institution that would form the third important leg in the future New England Heritage Centre and Regional Archives.

From its foundation in 1928, the Armidale Teachers’ College focused on the practical craft of teaching as compared to the more academic approach followed at Sydney Teachers’ College.

One outcome was the work of Eric Dunlop on building museums including Armidale’s Folk and Education Museums, a second the creation of the Historical Resources Centre by Lionel Gilbert.

Now these moves would come together with the UNE Archives, creating the Heritage Centre and Regional Archives that we know today. 

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 

Friday, December 11, 2020

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 3 - creation of a professional archive


UNE Chancellor P A Wright with Honorary archivist, Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Lane-Poole. Sir Richard began the process of consolidating and documenting the growing regional archival collections, continuing the process of community involvement with UNE and what would become the UNE Heritage Centre. 

This is the third in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

The University of New England became autonomous in 1954. In that year, Robert Madgwick, now Vice Chancellor, issued a further call for the public to donate records to the University to support the University’s research plan.

 “This work”, Madgwick said, “can only be done with the sympathetic support and encouragement of the people of the region and I appeal to all those who have family papers and records of any sort to get in touch with the University.”

 The public responded, but Madgwick faced a problem. How should the new holdings be stored and accessed?

The University Library was still in Booloominbah where limited space and poor storage conditions were damaging book holdings. New facilities were needed, but cash was tight.

In May 1956, Frank Rogers, was appointed as Librarian, while work began on the construction of a temporary library on the east of the campus, later the Marshall Building.  

Rogers was a training archivist as well as librarian. In May 1957 space was allocated in the basement of the new building as a dedicated archives repository, while Rogers also recruited an able volunteer in retired Vice Admiral Sir Richard Lane-Poole to be the university archivist under Roger’s guidance.

Sir Richard proved an inspired choice because of his intelligence, energy and local connection, both building and helping document the collection.

In 1959 consideration began on what would become the NSW State Archives Act 1960, Madgwick and Rogers lobbied the Government asking that UNE be recognized in this legislation as a regional repository for the State Archives.

In the end, UNE was satisfied with Rogers being given a seat on the Board created under the Act to manage the state’s archives. The appointment recognized Roger’s specific skills, as well as UNE’s growing archival role.

 Rogers now appointed UNE’s first full time archivist, R J McDonald. In now familiar words, he directed McDonald in now familiar words to: 

Collect all research material likely to be of value in throwing light on the historical, economic and social development of Northern New South Wales from the earliest European settlement until recent times.

The focus on the period since European settlement reflects the times. The Centre’s relevance to Aboriginal history emerged later.

 The stage was now set for the next chapter in the story of the UNE Heritage Centre and Regional Archives, a period of significant expansion. 

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 

Saturday, December 05, 2020

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 2 - Cumpston and Madgwick combine to make official records available to regional students

Working in conjunction with History lecturer Mary Cumpston, Sir Robert Madgwick's actions in 1947 established the principle that official records could be held regionally to facilitate local access. This is the second in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

1947 marked a critical stage in the evolution of what we now know as the University of New England Heritage Centre and Regional Archives.

Ina Mary Cumpston, normally called Mary, had a problem, one that she was determined to solve.

Mary was an interesting woman, a pioneer in an academic environment still dominated by men.

Both her parents were community activists with a love of learning.

Her father, J H L Cumpston, was Commonwealth Director General of Health. His pioneering history of small pox in Australia (1918) is still a basic text. Her mother,

Mother Gladys Maeva Cumpston nee Walpole, was very interested in gardening, botany and native plants. Later, she would become actively involved in the braille movement.

 In 1936, Mary won a scholarship to study Arts at Sydney University. At university she was a member of the Sydney University ski team.

Upon completion of her studies, Mary came to the New England University College (NEUC) as a lecturer in history. There she found that historical records held in the Armidale Court House could not be accessed locally. Instead, the records would need to be transferred to the Mitchell Library in Sydney to allow access, requiring students and staff to travel to Sydney to see them.

This made no sense to Mary. She wrote to NEUC Warden Robert Madgwick in mid 1947seeking his support to try to fix the problem, 

Madgwick had arrived as Warden earlier that year, replacing Jim Belshaw who had been acting Warden as well as Head of History and Economics since Edgar Booth’s departure in 1945.

Madgwick would prove to be an inspired choice as Warden and later first Vice Chancellor. He was committed to the development of NEUC and saw adult education and community engagement as central to that development. He was also a capable negotiator.

Madgwick wrote to the Under Secretary of Justice of NSW complaining about lack of regional access. “This (the current position) was all very silly,” Madgwick told the Under Secretary. In July 1947, the Armidale Court Records were transferred to NEUC custody.

In that same month, Mary sailed for England to study at Oxford on a postgraduate scholarship and vanishes from our story. However, the episode had established the principle that regional archival records could be held locally for better access.

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 

 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre 1 - beginnings

Dr J P Belshaw, October 1940. As head of history and economics at the newly established New England University College, Belshaw needed archival records for student use and to allow the College to fulfil its role in the promotion of economic, social and cultural development across Northern NSW. This is the first in a short series on the remarkable story of the University of New England's Heritage Centre and Regional Archives. 

Back in October 1919 I wrote on the economic, cultural and social benefits of family, local and regional history:

Achievement of these benefits depends upon a network of historical societies, family history groups, museums and archives spread across Northern NSW. Within that network, the University of New England’s Heritage Centre occupies a very particular place.

The Centre’s history is a remarkable one. I will share a little of that history with you over the next few columns

In 1938, the still small staff at the newly established New England University College faced considerable challenges. The College was founded to become the Sydney University of the North. It was expected to contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of the North. It was expected to provide a high quality university education to its new students.

 Staff took these responsibilities seriously, but lacked access to books and other resources necessary to support teaching, research and extension activities. An effort began to build local resources that students could use and that would also support research. This extended from history and economics into other disciplines including geology and geography.

 Initially progress was slow, but momentum did build. The first Master of Economic on New England’s history appeared in 1940, followed by Desmond Long’s BA Honours thesis, the History of New England 1832-1861.  With time, these theses in history and other disciplines would become a critical resource.

 Long went onto a Master’s thesis on the history of colonial New England, in so doing building up descriptions of source resources in various locations. He also wrote on the professional issues involved in the writing of regional history.

 In 1946, the Northern Daily Leader and other papers reporting on Long’s work carried an appeal for old records from any area of Northern NSW to be supplied to the History Department. The appeal noted that such records were often stacked away in homesteads, often brought out only to be destroyed.

In 1943, Jim Belshaw (Head History & Economics) and Alan Voisey (Head Geology & Geography) had attempted to establish a NEUC Research Bureau. This failed because of lack of money, but with the ending of the war, funding became available to fund a series of research monographs focused especially on the history of mining.

Writing in 1951 in the NEUC Regional Research Report, Belshaw described the area of geographic coverage as the Tablelands, North Coast, Upper Hunter and Western Slopes and Plains. This remains the formal coverage of the Heritage Centre today.

Belshaw also expressed the hope that, with time, the NEUC might be able to make some contribution to the welfare of Northern New South Wales. 

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Battles in the bush - David Drummond and the rise of the Progressive Party

David Drummond, Inverell, 1910s. The young share farmer was not expected to be elected to Parliament in March 1920, but with what was described as support from a handful of cockies and a newspaper he was.

Back in May 2020 I began an Armidale Express series on the history of the country press in NSW with a particular focus on New England. It seemed an appropriate time given that the combination of existing trends with the impact of covid-19 was likely to complete destruction of the press that we had known, a press whose role and influence had already declined. 

2020 also marked 100 years since the emergence of the Progressive Party, later Country now National Party, in the NSW Parliament at the March 1920 elections. The Federal Party really began in 1919 with the election of farmer representatives to the National Parliament. In Northern NSW, the history of the Country Party and the country press are inextricably entwined. 

What began as a series on the history of the country press was effectively hijacked by the March 1920 election campaign. There I focused especially on one man, David Drummond, the share farmer from Inverell who was not expected to win but did. 

In this post I am providing links to the posts on Drummond and that first election campaign that saw the emergence of the Progressive Party as a major political force, Later, I will return to the story of the country press.

The posts are:

For those who are interested to find out more, Decentralisation, Development and Decent Government: the life and times of David Henry Drummond, 1890-1941 - introduction, provides links to my biography on Drummond's life and times. If you are interested, you can follow the story through in more detail up to 1942.    

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

History of the New England newspaper press 21 - How David Drummond won the election

 


Tattersalls Hotel Emmavillel. Campaigning at Emmaville, Bruxner finally got Drummond into a pub where he drank a soda water! 

This is the twenty first in a series on the history of the media and especially the newspaper press in New England, the fourteenth column on the emergence of the NSW Country Party. I am resting the series for a little while to focus on other things. It has become very long! 

As the other candidates in the March 1920 elections swung to the countryside Drummond turned his attention to the towns. There he made one major tactical error.

Certain that Bruxner would have a large surplus vote in his Tenterfield home base, Drummond decided to campaign heavily in Tenterfield hoping to pick up Bruxner's second preferences.

Although Bruxner did poll well, he did not secure a quota till the sixth count and Drummond's Tenterfield campaign was wasted.

The two men seem to have had considerable contact during the campaign. Bruxner liked Drummond immediately, but there were considerable differences in outlook between the polished grazier and the young farmer. At one point Ray Doolin organised a combined meeting for them at the mining village of Emmaville.

 “Anxious that our two colts would work together, I asked the Colonel how he was getting on with Dave. He replied ‘Oh Dave is coming on, I got him into the Pub and he drank a soda water.’ After the meeting I asked about the Colonel - Dave replied ‘Ray, he is a very fine and able man, but I think he is a bit of a lad!’"

 The difference in temperament between the two men did result in at least one clash, but after that “temperate but straight speaking episode” the two became firm friends and allies.

The Northern press played an important role in the Progressive's campaign, as did a resurgent campaign for Northern self-government. The two were linked, because most newspapers were supporting the self government cause.

While the separatist campaign was non-party, it benefited the Progressives most. They supported self-government and could campaign for it without the entanglements affecting Labor and Nationalist candidates.

Press support was particularly important for the lesser known Drummond. Drummond's old friend, Ernest Sommerlad, campaigned for him strongly through the Glen Innes Examiner. Sommerlad was also able to persuade the supporters of sitting member F.J. Thomas to grant preferences to Drummond.

Election day, 20 March 1920, saw the Progressives poll well, with 49 per cent of the vote as compared with Labor's 37.2 per cent and the Nationalists' meagre 13.8 per cent. As expected, Bruxner, with 23.5 per cent of the vote, was the second candidate elected after Labor's McClelland.

This left Drummond with 10 per cent of the vote competing for the third spot against the remaining candidates. In the end, it was enough.

The result was a surprise to many. As the The Land put it some years later:

 Mr Drummond was a young farmer of Inverell. He had ideas, and had been active in the Farmers and Settlers' Association. No one knew much about him, but that was of no consequence. He proceeded to tell them. There were no widely signed requisitions for him to contest Northern Tablelands. They were not required. He had made up his mind. He informed the electors he knew about politics, and would be able to run the country as it ought to be run. At first he was not taken seriously, but he was quite confident the people would elect him to Parliament, and they did.

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

History of the New England newspaper press 20 - Drummond goes to the circus

 Wirth’s Circus 1941. Photo State Library. The touring circus that Drummond spoke to at half time were a feature of country life.

This is the twentieth in a series on the history of the media and especially the newspaper press in New England, the thirteenth column on the emergence of the NSW Country Party.

The offer by Stephen Cosh to drive Drummond around the electorate free of charge “except for petrol and a tyre or two” did prove a Godsend. 

They moved from meeting to meeting, up to ten in day. Drummond would usually spoke in the open air (during the whole campaign he only spoke in halls three times including his campaign opening in the Inverell Town Hall) then adjourn to a room with his local committee to sign scrutineer and other forms and lay out the plan of organisation. 

After the meetings were finished, he and Stephen would retire, often as late as 1 am, to a quiet place in the countryside to spend the night. 

The travellers had always to be ready for the unexpected. One night Drummond arrived at Ashford to find the whole village in darkness, for the circus was in town and the whole countryside was at it. 

There was no chance of coming back Drummond therefore asked the manager if he could speak at half-time. He responded dubiously, “that if I could stand it he supposed he could.”

At half time Drummond bounded into the Ring with a small wooden box:. "Ladies & Gentlemen. My name is David Drummond Progressive Candidate at the forthcoming State Election. Take a good look at me and make up your mind what you think of me. Vote Drummond No. 1". 

Grabbing the box, he made a fast exit before the bottles etc. began to fly. “That was the shortest political speech I ever made”, he later recalled. 

Considering that the other Progressive candidates would concentrate first on the towns, Drummond focused on the country districts. 

In those days, before radio and television, politicians could still attract large public audiences. Since Drummond was the first candidate in the field it was not unusual to find ninety to one hundred people gathered at some agreed cross roads, “really alert and stirred up to break free from being run by ‘City Lawyers’ & nominees of the Nationalist Party Executives”.

Drummond usually devoted the first half of his speech to an explanation of proportional representation. This always gained a good response and allowed him to preach his political message during the second half of his speech. 

His theme was always 'Decentralization, Development and Decent Government'. He usually finished by saying that “Parties, Platforms and Policies existed for only one reason, the good government of the people. When they ceased to serve this end they should cease.”

Drummond was now developing campaign guidelines that he generally observed throughout his long political career.

“I never made the mistake then or later of slanging my opponents. I simply ignored their existence. Never did I make the cardinal blunder of dealing with past incidents in Parliament. ‘You people know all about what has been happening in the past in Parliament. What you are interested in hearing is the Policy of the Progressives’ & I went on to explain my own version of that policy.” 

This approach was “new and held an audience tired of the old political clap.” It also “compelled the opposition to fight on a battle ground of my own choosing.”

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

History of the New England newspaper press 19 - David Drummond and rivals for election in 1920

Born at Nundle in 1886, shearer and AWU union organiser Alfred McClelland was expected to win the first Northern Tablelands seat, the popular Mick Bruxner the second. This left David Drummond campaigning for third spot against a raft of candidates.

This is the nineteenth in a series on the history of the media and especially the newspaper press in New England, the twelfth column on the emergence of the NSW Country Party.

David Drummond may have won the first round, but his success at the March 1920 elections was by no means assured.

Under the multi-member proportional representation system being tried for the first time, three members were to be elected. Drummond considered, accurately, that the Labor vote would be disciplined and that their number one candidate, Australian Workers' Union organiser Alfred McClelland, would certainly be elected first. He also considered, again accurately, that Colonel M.F. Bruxner, the Progressives' star candidate, would be elected next. 

Bruxner was then thirty-eight. Deservedly popular, he had a fine war record, was a member of an old grazing family and a grazier and stock and station agent himself, was a noted amateur rider at picnic races and had a friendly, out-going personality. 

Bruxner's assured success left Drummond contending for third place against a galaxy of candidates, including two sitting members, F.J. Thomas and H.W. Lane, the Nationalist member for Armidale. 

This was difficult enough. In addition, each Progressive candidate had to organise his own campaign committee and pay for his own personal expenses including publicity, printing, advertising and travel. Short of funds, the Central Council would only pay for general party advertising and for rent of halls when authorised by the District Councils. 

This created no problems for the wealthy and popular Bruxner, but for the poor and still struggling Drummond it was another matter. Although his campaign committee numbered thirty, no less than twenty-nine were from the Inverell district. The Drummond campaign organisation was described by a local stock inspector as 'one newspaper and a handful of cockies'. 

They may only have been 'a handful of cockies', but their loyalty and work were vital. 

The support given by Drummond's old friends from Mt. Russell, the Coshs, was particularly important. Leonard Cosh appointed himself Drummond's advance agent and political secretary. He was supported fully by his brother Arthur. Their uncle, Stephen Cosh, provided transport. 

Stephen had recently lost his wife. Advised by his doctor to go away on a trip, Cosh bought a large car with a camping body intending to take his daughter on a tour of Western Australia. The daughter's appendicitis forced the trip's cancellation. 

Stephen Cosh now offered to drive Drummond around the electorate free of charge 'except for petrol and a tyre or two'. He stipulated, however, that he would not stay in hotels because of his nervous condition. 

To Drummond, who had a store of inexhaustible energy and a powerful voice but little money, this offer was a Godsend. The following campaign showed Drummond’s drive as well as his emerging political shrewdness.

Note to readers: This post was prepared as a column for the on-line edition of the Armidale Express. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not all on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited/History Matters columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015,  here for 2016, here  2017here 2018, here 2019, here 2020