New England University College first geology class 1939. Just one male! Mary Hindmarsh, Catherine Miller, Rae Anthony, Frank Wickwood, Sylvia Willoughby and Joan Bates
As the first stage of the Great Depression began to grip the world in 1929, Governments around the world began to adopt protectionist measures.
In 1930, the Republican controlled US Congress passed the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act imposing punitive import tariffs on US imports. Other countries retaliated. In 1932 under pressure from the Dominions, the Ottowa Imperial Economic Conference adopted a system of Imperial preference, breaking long standing Imperial support for free trade.
Zealand and , governments turned to
the still small pool of local economists for support. In 1932 Horace Belshaw, along
with fellow professors Douglas Copland, James Hight and Albert Tocker, was
appointed by the NZ Coalition Government to an economic committee to advise on
measures for dealing with the depression. Australia
Horace Belshaw had been writing extensively on the economic position of
farmers, focusing on their
increasing indebtedness and possible reforms to the systems of land tenure and
credit, including mortgage adjustment and the need for a central bank. New
Now the committee recommended depreciation of the exchange rate and mortgage adjustment as well as wage cuts. Most of the recommendations were put into effect, but the Treasury opposed depreciation and the government delayed implementing it until 1933.
While Horace was engaged in the debate on
economic and farm policy, his younger brother was completing his postgraduate
studies. Both his MAs had had an economic policy component. Now his Manchester
PhD was on Depression, Recovery and Reconstruction in New Zealand, 1929-1932. New Zealand
As Jim Belshaw later remarked, there is something wonderfully efficient in selecting topics where your brother can supply you with all the key documents!
To this point, Jim Belshaw had been effectively living in the shadow of his elder brother. He had formed interests and views that would have a major impact on
New England, but had yet to carve out his own role, his
place in the world. .
We know now that the new
that place, that he would spend the rest of his life in Armidale. But that was
not clear when he arrived in early February 1938, nor would he have necessarily
welcomed it had he known. University
He was young, fresh faced, so young that Jean Dyce, the Warden’s secretary wanted, to enrol him as the first student and was disappointed when she could not. This was his first permanent job outside teaching.
He was not impressed with Armidale. The place was small, dry and dusty. Despite his reservations, he threw himself into the job and, with that, the world changed.
Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express Extra on 21 February 2018. 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 2017, here 2018