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'It is now more than three years since the untimely death of Charles Thomas ‘Tom’ Stannage, AM, FASSA. Tom was a graduate of the University of Western Australia, studying under Frank Crowley and Geoff Bolton. Apart from doctoral years at Cambridge University, he spent more than thirty years at UWA before taking up the position of Executive Dean of Humanities at Curtin University in 1998. The previous year had been a big one for Tom. He became a Member of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, and won the inaugural Prime Minister's Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year. ...'
'Geoffrey Curgenven Bolton, AO, FASSA, FAHA, was the pre-eminent historian of his native Western Australia. He wrote about it in publications that spanned more than fifty years; he held chairs at three of its universities, championed its heritage, guided the fortunes of its cultural institutions, was recognised as Western Australian Citizen of the Year, and in 2015 the new thoroughfare that runs along the Perth Esplanade was named the Geoffrey Bolton Avenue. ...'
'Franz Joseph Gall developed the science of phrenology in the late eighteenth century, proclaiming that the human brain contained twenty-seven distinct organs, each of which controlled a given faculty—animal propensities, moral sentiments and so on. Crucially, Gall argued that the relative power or weakness of a faculty could be ascertained by examining the shape of a person’s skull. ...'
One of the challenges of Aboriginal history has long been dealing with sources not of their making. Indeed, much of what is called Aboriginal history is not Aboriginal history at all. It is stories colonisers have told or constructed, either at the time or subsequently, about the encounter with the land’s first peoples. 'While over the past decade there have been innovative and exciting reconstructions of that encounter which recover the history from the Aboriginal side, Dawson’s book does not set out to do so. Rather, she uses the writings of five British women to glean the lives, reactions and adaptations of Aboriginal people ‘after white settlers infiltrated their lands’ (152). She has looked ‘into and behind the “eye of the beholder”’ to do so, using these women’s published and unpublished works to identify Aboriginal people’s ongoing authority and identity. What we end up with is ‘pockets of insight of Aboriginal culture before, or soon after, its subjugation and reassessment’ following British settlement (xv). ...'
'Graeme Davison is the latest, and perhaps most distinguished, convert to the cause of family history. Davison admits that he had always deliberately avoided family history, but encouraged (appropriately!) by his family, and conceding that its appeal strengthens ‘as our past grows longer and our future shrinks’, he has finally succumbed (237). It might have seemed a challenging prospect, given a lack of letters and diaries and very little memorabilia, but there was one tantalising piece of oral tradition. Davison’s mother had told him that their ancestor, Jane Hewett, a widow, and her eight children, arriving in Port Phillip in July 1850, had climbed down the ship’s ladder and, landing at Sandridge, walked the three miles across the swamp to the city. What had been the cause of this rough introduction to what was still the Port Phillip District? ...'
'This is a very impressive collection that throws new light on both Australian leadership and the nature of ‘leadership’ itself. The feminist insights driving the project have resulted in the uncovering of much-neglected histories of women’s leadership. They have also led to the editors and authors developing conceptions of leadership that, as Joy Damousi, Mary Tomsic (11–13) and Amanda Sinclair (19–20) point out, go beyond ‘alpha male’ conceptions based on macho, militaristic conceptions of outstanding individuals leading at the front, in order to incorporate alternative leadership attributes such as the importance of facilitating and nurturing the contributions of others. Indeed, as Marian Sawer and Merrindahl Andrew note, some 1970s feminists were initially very wary of the term ‘leadership’, seeing it as an inherently hierarchical and patriarchal conception that discouraged female empowerment and consensual decision-making (283). By contrast, this collection draws on more contemporary views which see leadership as a concept that can be transformed in positive ways, and the editors and contributors rightly argue that the varied forms of women’s leadership are deserving of far more recognition than they have been given so far. Nonetheless, as Jane Elix and Judy Lambert establish, women involved in movements such as the environment movement are still sometimes hesitant to claim leadership status for their outstanding records of activism (305), perhaps partly because of the power relations underlying the way in which some ‘leaders’ behave. ...'
'A master story-teller, Broome reveals so much more than the history of an organisation in Fighting Hard. All the elements of an organisational history are there: we learn about the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League’s origins, leaders, workers, structure, policies, projects, and relationships with other groups and government. Drawing on his wealth of knowledge and experience as a historian, Broome sets this story within a richly drawn context of social, political and economic change, thereby enhancing our understanding of the League’s history. At the same time, through his focus on the League, Broome is able to shed new light on aspects of the wider story, deepening our collective understanding of Australian history. Fighting Hard is a model organisational history—a brilliant example of the possibilities and benefits of combining ethnographic, biographical and conventional historical methodologies. ...'
'In the twenty-first century the combination of an architectural and a military career may seem unlikely, but in the less specialised world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was possible for one individual to combine seemingly disparate careers. Historically there are certainly precedents for the dual achievement of Joseph John Talbot Hobbs (1864–1938), for example that of the career of the even more multifarious English architect, Sir John Vanbrugh, who was not only a soldier and a distinguished architect, but an acclaimed playwright as well. While Talbot Hobbs was no Vanbrugh, he nevertheless carved out a significant career in Western Australia between 1887, when he arrived there from Britain, and the outbreak of the First World War. Hobbs’s military career did not begin with the onset of hostilities in 1914, but had run in parallel with his architectural work during the preceding decades. After only three years in Australia, Hobbs was a lieutenant in the Perth Artillery Volunteers, and in 1897 he was second in command of the Western Australian military contingent which travelled to Britain to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. ...'
'Not far from where I live is a large Catholic church built in the 1940s. My mother and her three siblings were educated in the parish school next to it. Her mother, a trained teacher, worked at the school as a volunteer during the era that Victoria’s education department forbade married women’s employment. My parents married in that church in 1977. I was baptised there and, later, confirmed as an adult (at age 11!). Witness to all those comings and goings is the name ‘+ Daniel Mannix DD’, inscribed on the school’s foundation stone that he laid in 1956. There are hundreds of parishes around Melbourne that carry similar marks from Mannix’s tenure as archbishop, 1917–63. ...'
'It is a good thing that Tom Keneally is writing history. For an author with a large readership, regarded with affection by many, to write Australian history may help to retrieve some of the casualties of the history wars, which gave too many citizens the impression our history can only ever be thought of as politicised and partisan. And Keneally demonstrates that our history is not just the preserve of academics, or popular authors in bandanas. ...'
'For its first three years, the town of Albany, situated on the shore of the spectacular King George Sound on the south coast of Western Australia, existed as a military garrison of New South Wales, its principal purpose to forestall French claims to the coast and hinterland of the western portion of the continent. In this environment, where the aim was to establish a presence rather than the groundwork for a colonial enterprise, relationships between the small group of about fifty colonisers, including eighteen soldiers and twenty-three convicts, and the Kincannup traditional owners of the site of the settlement were relatively harmonious. Conflict was actively avoided, and the Europeans made few demands on Kincannup lands and resources, travelling only occasionally into the wider Menang domain. The journals of Isaac Scott Nind (assistant surgeon 1826–29), Captain Collett Barker (commander 1829–31 when the new crown colony at Perth took over), and Alexander Collie (colonial surgeon 1830–32) provide an unusually detailed and vivid account of the early years of the settlement. ...'
'The acknowledgement pages of this biography conclude with Geoffrey Bolton tenderly thanking his wife, Carol: ‘I think I can promise her that this is the last time she will have to live with a research project of this scale’ (548). The ‘think’ was possibly a writer’s wriggle room. Sadly, however, Bolton’s passing in September 2015 meant that this was his final major project. ...'