Photo: New England flag
In April 2006 I established the New England, Australia blog to provide a forum for discussions on the history, life and culture of Australia's New England.
In many ways New England does not exist. In the words of the Australian poet A D Hope, New England is an idea in the heart and mind.
In formal terms, the term New England is used to describe the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Here locals talk of "the New England." But the term is also used, and this is the way I use the term, to describe a much broader region that has maintained a struggle for self government - the right to govern itself within the Australian federation - since the middle of the 19th century.
We have come close at times, but success still eludes us. The forces of the status quo are very strong.
Because the broader New England has no formal political expression, its history, life and culture gets submerged, squeezed between the more narrow local on one side, the broader state and nation on the other. So I thought that a site that focused just on New England might provide another voice, a way of documenting and presenting the New England experience.
A key objective in the original blog was the presentation of my own research and writings on New England's history to provide a starting point for the development of a full New England history. I saw this as important because without a knowledge of history we forget our past. It becomes a far country dimly remembered.
As New England, Australia evolved I began to focus much more on current life and developments. While I have tried to put these in a historical context, the original history objective has become somewhat submerged.
I have therefore decided to create this blog to focus just on New England history and historiography. In doing so, I will begin by copying historical material from the main blog so that already posted material becomes more accessible. Once this is completed, I will start adding new work.
Like all my blogs I welcome discussion. Indeed, I hope that with time I will be able to add other writers to the blog, thus turning it into a collaborative effort.
However, unlike my other blogs I do not intend to post general commentary since I want to maintain the special purpose focus, nor do I propose to post every day. My initial objective is two to three posts per week, thus allowing readers time to find and absorb material.
I have no idea as to how successful this approach will be. However, experience with my other blogs makes me cautiously optimistic.
Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England