Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shaping a historiography: Crawford and Hancock

The most sophisticated expressions of the liberal interpretation of Australian history in the inter-war years were provided by R.M. ‘Max’ Crawford (1906-1991) and Keith Hancock (1898-1988). A former student of Wood’s in Sydney and Oxford’s Balliol College, Crawford took over the chair of history from Ernest Scott at the University of Melbourne in 1937 and set about establishing what would become known as the Melbourne School of History. Crawford reformed both the department’s programmes and the secondary school curriculum to include the study of Australian history. He also significantly expanded the staff and research skills of the department and the Melbourne School came to represent ‘history as a truly liberal education’.[1] At the University of Sydney, Stephen Roberts undertook a similar renovation of university and school history programmes and the study of Australian history benefited, but perhaps not to the extent that occurred in Melbourne. Roberts, with an interest in European history, did not make the national story a high priority.[2] The establishment of the scholarly journal Historical Studies in 1940 also stimulated the professional development of the discipline.[3]

Crawford developed a ‘synoptic view’ of history, which broke with both conventional empiricism and the determinism of Marxism to advance a sophisticated liberal humanism. He argued that historians must engage with the complexity of human activity and conflict and that history was a process of critical analysis and an expression of moral judgements. The historian should be a philosopher.[4] Crawford’s willingness to explore new territory included his own region. Ourselves and the Pacific introduced the history of the Pacific region to an Australian audience. Published in 1941, just as Australia faced an unprecedented threat posed by Japan’s rapid military conquests across the Pacific, Crawford and his collaborators invited Australians to consider their geographic place in the world, rather than to dwell in the imagined homeland of Britain:

To-day, Australians and New Zealanders have no doubt that their destiny is to be influenced by the fact that they border the same ocean as China, Japan, the United States and Russia.[5]

However, as Ourselves and the Pacific acknowledged, immigration restriction of Asians and Pacific Islanders had helped the British dominions delay their destiny. Excluding Chinese immigrants reflected ‘…their desire to shut out the Pacific and to preserve their own European character.’[6] Australians may have wished to preserve their European character, but Crawford was willing to accept and promote a legend of that character transformed by its national experience. His liberalism celebrated the character of the Australian, an unromantic, individualistic type who persevered through the challenges of settling the land and war, challenges that created a nation:

The heroism of the Anzacs was not different in kind from the courage and endurance of the early pioneers. Australia became a nation [at Gallipoli] because for the first time she was plunged into the responsibilities of nationhood.[7]

Methodological sophistication did not deter Crawford from cultivating a mythological account of Australian experience. In Australia, published in 1952, he was the first historian to employ the term, ‘the Australian Legend’, to describe a ‘national myth’ drawn from life on the land and of a need to distinguish Australian experience and achievements from that of the ‘old world’ of Europe.[8] Crawford described Australians facing the trials of the outback with a willingness to ‘have a go’, often disrespectful of pretentiousness and drawn to a cynical and often grim brand of humour.[9] This portrait of the Australian type neatly fused with Crawford’s liberalism. Australians cherished their individual independence and hoped to build a nation where liberal freedom might flourish:

…the essence of Australian democracy has been a belief in the rights of the individual, without thought of status. The very demand for state action has in some part sprung from this belief – to secure equality of opportunity, a fair and reasonable livelihood, and political rights. The call for state intervention in Australian democracy has often been, in short, an expression of its individualism.[10]

Crawford understood that he was distorting the truth to produce a mythic explanation of the past in order to reinforce the values that Australians shared. As he observed

The Australian Legend is not necessarily a picture of the Australians; but it is a picture of ideals that have been dominant in Australia, and ideals may at least take part in moulding character.[11]

Crawford hoped that his transmission of the national myth would play its own role in shaping the national character, and like Scott, he reinforced the lesson of the Australian legend by concluding his discussion with a final testimony to the plain heroism of the Australian character as it faced the test of war. He cited a long quotation from the Charles Bean’s history of the Australian Imperial Force in France in 1918 on the individualistic nature of the Australian soldier.

It was understandable that Crawford would defer to the official historian of Australia in the First World War. In Charles Bean, the myth of Anzac had its most vigorous champion, a cause that Bean pursued in a multi-volume history and several other works from The Anzac Book in 1916, through to the multi-volume Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 published between 1921-1942 and in his advocacy of the establishment of the Australian War Memorial in the nation’s capital, which when it opened in 1941 included a museum that celebrated Australian military heroism.[12] The extract that Crawford selected included all the defining elements of that peculiar mix of Australian individualism, egalitarianism and mateship that Bean felt was intensely expressed in war writing that the ‘incorrigibly civilian’[13] Australian soldier had maintained his volunteer status by almost perversely exercising his democratic right to reject conscription in the 1916 and 1917 referendum ballots. The digger was never really reconciled to military discipline, yet he was bound to his fellow soldiers: ‘a man must “stand by his mates” at all costs.’ He rejected the English ‘social class’ distinctions evident in the British Army; the Australian soldier ‘…knew only one social horizon, that of race’[14] and even Australian officers could be included in that category. The Australians were, Bean concluded, ‘masters of their own lives.’[15]

Like Crawford, Keith Hancock was Oxford trained, although Hancock’s liberalism had a harder and more self-critical edge, driven by the tensions of a young man caught between the metropolitan culture of Britain and provincial Australia and his compulsion to test the idealised character of Australian national life against the reality of experience.[16] In Australia, published in 1930, ‘intellectual detachment’ struggled with an ‘emotional attachment’ to the Australian people to produce an innovative interpretation and structure, focusing on themes rather than chronology.[17] Hancock employed an inventive use of language that provocatively clarified and redefined the national narrative: colonial Australians were ‘transplanted British’ who became ‘independent Australian Britons’

...it is not impossible for Australians, nourished by a glorious literature and haunted by old memories, to be in love with two soils.’[18]

Hancock offered some shrewd insights into the myths of mateship and egalitarianism: while Australians ‘intolerance of oppression and sympathy with the under-dog’ were attractive character traits, they could conspire to create a monochrome culture of mediocrity.

The passion for equal justice can so easily sour into a grudge against those who enjoy extraordinary gifts…the ideal of “mateship” …springs not only from [the Australian’s] eagerness to exalt the humble and meek, but also from his zeal to put down the mighty from their seat.[19]

Hancock was the first Australian historian to offer an incisive critique of the nation building project that successive Commonwealth governments had pursued since Federation. Most Australians and their historians had broadly welcomed policies to protect Australian industry and culture and to offer its workers some measure of security at work and in retirement through immigration restriction of non-Europeans, tariff protection, compulsory arbitration and social welfare initiatives including the old age pension. Hancock tartly concluded that Australians had ‘an excessive dependence on the state.’[20] He maintained that Australians sought both ‘fiscal’ and racial protection. In this culture of protectionism, ‘[t]he policy of White Australia is the indispensable condition of every other Australian policy.’[21] White Australia was the central defence of national identity and this, in Hancock’s view, justified the restriction of non-Europeans.

What [Australians] fear is not physical conquest by another race, but rather the internal decomposition and degradation of their own civilisation. They have gloried in their inheritance of free institutions, in their right to govern themselves and freely make their own destiny.[22]

Hancock believed that tariff protection had not only to be analysed on economic grounds, but also for its ‘emotional and ideological flavour.’[23] His analysis had been influenced by his contemporary, Edward Shann, whose Economic History of Australia was also published in 1930.[24] Like Shann, Hancock criticised the fiscal impact of protection, to which Hancock added a cogent analysis of its cultural consequences. Protection in Australia was a ‘faith and a dogma’ that had triumphed ‘because it appealed irresistibly to the most ardent sentiments of Australian democracy’.[25] Prime Minister Alfred Deakin’s New Protection programme in the period 1905-1908 had drawn the incipient Australian Labor Party into support for his administration by requiring manufacturers to provide ‘fair and reasonable’ wages in exchange for tariff assistance. Despite the mounting cost of tariff protection in the 1920s, Australians clung to it as a defence of their standard of living and a bulwark against ‘frugal and unscrupulous foreigners’, particularly the populous Asian neighbours to the north.[26] This faith in protectionism also inclined Australians towards the paternalistic and utilitarian ‘state socialism’ of which the Labor Party had emerged as the leading advocate by the 1920s.[27]

Describing how drought and the search for arable land had compelled colonial exploration of the continent, Hancock revealed a perceptive awareness of the importance of environmental factors in Australian history and their implications for nation building.[28] He punctured the nationalist and economic expansionist delusions represented by the ‘strange gospel’ of Australian Unlimited, fashionable in the post-World War I years, by noting the ‘Saharan latitudes’ of Australia’s arid interior citing figures of sparse rainfall to dispel ‘…the vanity of imagining that Australia’ of comparable geographic size to the United States, could ‘…ever compare with that country in wealth and power.’[29] The ‘invasion of Australia’, as Hancock bluntly characterised the waves of exploration and pastoral expansion, also had a ‘devastating’ impact on the indigenous population. Hancock was not blind to liberal hypocrisy over the ‘natural progress of the aboriginal race towards extinction’

Australian democracy is genuinely benevolent, but is preoccupied with its own affairs. From time to time it remembers the primitive people whom it has dispossessed, and sheds over their predestined passing an economical tear.[30]

Hancock presented Australian government ‘as the instrument of self-realisation’ through which the people sought ‘…to put the collective power of the state at the service of individual rights.’[31] Despite widespread support for state intervention, Hancock believed Australia’s national mission remained fundamentally liberal, if inward-looking. Tim Rowse has identified Hancock’s radical ‘New Liberalism’, an advocacy of a free market approach to trade and industrial relations, as an essential but largely unacknowledged theme of Hancock’s text:

What distinguishes Australia is the subtlety with which its politico-economic meaning is buried within an apparently non-partisan survey of Australian civilization and nationhood.[32]

Hancock sought to defend the interests of British and Australian capital at a time of global economic crisis. Yet it seems apparent, as he implicitly acknowledges, that Hancock’s hope that Australians would one day realise the ‘spiritual achievement’ of a distinctive nationality compelled Hancock to embrace ‘radical liberalism’, as a means of urging Australians from their habits of economic dependency while he remained undisturbed by Australia’s continuing attachment to Britain.[33] Perhaps because he continued to invest a hope in the future potential of a mature liberal Australian society, Gregory Melleuish suggests that Hancock failed to push his analysis to its logical conclusion: that protection might also equal selfishness. Hancock resorted to ironic observation.[34] As it stood, Hancock’s astringent survey of Australia’s isolationist and ‘homogeneous egalitarian society’ did not sit comfortably with a country plunging into the devastating global depression of the early 1930s that only encouraged nations, including Australia, to erect further tariff protection.[35] Australia exerted considerable influence over subsequent generations of Australian historians, inspiring a repetition of his characterisations and provoking a rejection of them.[36]

Hancock’s dislike of Australian provincialism led him back to Britain in 1933 where he exerted an influence on British perceptions of Australia. Like Scott’s and Crawford’s short histories, Hancock’s Australia was published by a British publishing house. Hancock’s influence over the interpretation of the British Empire and the emerging post-Second World War British Commonwealth and Australia’s place in the Commonwealth narrative was established in his Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs.[37] Hancock revealed himself as an idealistic advocate of a ‘liberal commonwealth’, tempered by instinctive realism. Amid fractious ‘procession’ of the various nations united only by the lingering but increasingly frayed ties of empire, he found his ‘fellow countrymen’ emitting unqualified, unreflective ‘cries of joy’ as they marched along.[38]


[1] Macintyre, Stuart, ‘The Making of A School’, in ibid, Crawford, R.M., Clark, Manning and Blainey, Geoffrey, (eds.), Making History, pp. 3, 9-12.

[2] Fletcher, Brian, ‘Australian History’, in Caine, Barbara, et al (eds.), History at Sydney, Centenary Reflections 1891-1991, (Highland Press), 1992, p. 162.

[3] Macintyre, Stuart, ‘The Making of A School’, in ibid, Crawford, R.M., Clark, Manning and Blainey, Geoffrey, (eds.), Making History, p. 7.

[4] Crawford, R.M., The Study of History, a Synoptic View, (Melbourne University Press), 1939; Dare, Robert, ‘Max Crawford and the Study of History’, in ibid, Macintyre, Stuart and Thomas, Julian, (eds.), The Discovery of Australia, 1890-1939, pp. 188-190.

[5] Crawford, R.M., (ed.), Ourselves and the Pacific, (Melbourne University Press), 1941, p. vi.

[6] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., (ed.), Ourselves and the Pacific, p. 221.

[7] Crawford, R.M., Australia, (Hutchinson’s University Library), 1952, p. 166.

[8] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., Australia, pp. 145, 148.

[9] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., Australia, p. 153.

[10] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., Australia, p. 154.

[11] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., Australia, pp. 154-155.

[12] The Anzac Book, (Cassell & Co.), 1916; Bean, C.E.W., Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, 12 Vols. (Angus and Robertson), 1921-1942; for Bean’s mythic intentions see Ball, Martin, ‘Re-reading Bean’s Last Paragraph’, Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 24, (2003), pp. 248-270.

[13] Bean, C.E.W., Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, Vol. 6, (Angus and Robertson), 1934, p. 5.

[14] Ibid, Bean, C.E.W., Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, Vol. 6, p. 6.

[15] Ibid, Crawford, R.M., Australia, p. 155.

[16] Melleuish, Gregory, Cultural Liberalism in Australia, (Cambridge University Press), 1995, pp. 118-120.

[17] Hancock, W. K., Australia, (Ernest Benn Ltd.), 1930, p. vii.  See also, Davidson, Jim, The Three-cornered Life: The Historian W. K. Hancock, (Melbourne University Press), 2010.

[18] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 68.

[19] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 74.

[20] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 69.

[21] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 77.

[22] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 80.

[23] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 82

[24] Shann, Edward, An Economic History of Australia, (Cambridge University Press), 1930.

[25] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, pp. 83, 89.

[26] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, pp. 89, 102.

[27] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, pp. 127-188, 140.

[28] A theme not seriously re-examined in Australian historiography until the 1970s: Tom Griffiths ‘Environmental History’ in ibid, Davison, Graeme, (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Australian History, p. 221.

[29] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, pp. 17, 19.

[30] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 33.

[31] Ibid, Melleuish, Gregory, Cultural Liberalism in Australia, p. 122.

[32] Rowse, Tim, Australian Liberalism and National Character, (Kibble Books), 1978, p. 89.

[33] Ibid, Rowse, Tim, Australian Liberalism and National Character, pp. 80-81.

[34] Ibid, Melleuish, Gregory, Cultural Liberalism in Australia, pp. 123-126.

[35] Ibid, Hancock, W. K., Australia, p. 67.

[36] Macintyre, Stuart, ‘‘Full of Hits and Misses’: A Reappraisal of Hancock’s Australia’, in Low, D.A., (ed.), Keith Hancock, The Legacies of an Historian, (Melbourne University Press), 2001, pp. 36-38.

[37] Hancock, W.K., Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, 2 Vols. (Oxford University Press), 1937-1942; Low, D.A., ‘Imperium et Libertas and Hancock’s Problems of Nationality’, in ibid, Low, D.A., (ed.), Keith Hancock, The Legacies of an Historian.

[38] Thomas, Julian, ‘Keith Hancock: Professing the Profession’, in ibid, Macintyre, Stuart and Thomas, Julian, (eds.), The Discovery of Australia, 1890-1939, p. 149.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Yes it’s the Oliver syndrome…more!

The UK has been told it must pay an extra £1.7bn (2.1bn euros) towards the European Union's budget because the economy has performed better than expected in recent years. The additional payment was requested after the European Commission's statistics agency, Eurostat, reviewed the economic performances of member states since 1995, and readjusted the contributions made by each state over the last four years - based on their pace of growth.   Patrizio Fiorilli, a European Commission spokesman, said the additional request for funds ‘reflects an increase in wealth…Just as in Britain you pay more to the Inland Revenue if your earnings go up’.  It is hardly surprising that a government source said the budget demand was ‘not acceptable’.

Whether the request for additional funds is within EU rules or not, it is a politically inept decision by the Commission.  With the growing intensity of the debate in Britain over whether it should remain in the EU, the resurgence of support for UKIP and the forthcoming Rochester by-election, the timing of this announcement could not be worse.  It gives the impression that the EU bureaucracy has no sense of what is politically expedient  and inexpedient but is only concerned with following the rules come what may.  It has its agenda and seems unwilling or unable to step outside its own tunnel vision to appreciate that this vision is not acceptable to many people…it’s a closer union at all costs.  Now some may see this as politically and ideologically inspired…a vision of a more prosperous and politically united European state rather than the fragmented and aggressive nationalism that existed prior to 1945…others take a different view..the EU as a top-down, bureaucratically-centred, undemocratic, technocracy trying to imposed a uniformity on the diverse and ‘un-uniform’ nations of Europe.

The problem with the rule-oriented, treaty-based conception of the EU is that rules and treaties are difficult to change quickly…this requires, as it should, the agreement of all the member states.  So what happens when some aspect of these rules and treaties is not working for member states?  Well often little in the short-term as making changes to rules and treaties is a long, frequently drawn-out process.  Once something has been enshrined in rules or treaties—whether good or bad—the EU constitutional structures make it very difficult to reverse them even if they are clearly not in the interests of member states.  The EU has become a leviathan, if not quite yet in the Hobbesian mode.  Its unidirectional approach to development seems premised on the notion of more not less interference in the affairs of nation states coupled with an unwillingness to recognise that alternative ways of developing Europe have any real validity at all.      

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Shaping a historiography: Ernest Scott and the Short History

A number of the historians may well have recoiled at any suggestion that their histories included elements of politicised myth-making. Influenced by von Ranke’s empiricism and intolerant of theory, Ernest Scott saw himself elaborating the facts into service to clarify the story of the Australian people.[1] Yet the Short History, the first significant history of Australia published in the twentieth century, outlined the mythic origins and character of the Australian people. Scott wanted to explain how British racial origins and the accompanying heritage of liberal ideals had flourished in Australia. Gifted with ‘the most liberal endowment of self-government that had ever been secured in the history of colonisation by dependencies from a mother-country’, the ‘thoroughly British’ Australian population had been left ‘free to work out their own destiny’.[2] Thus Australia became ‘…a field for the exercise of their racial genius for adaptation and for conquering difficulties.’[3] Scott was himself a product of this genius for adaptation: an emigrant of illegitimate birth from London without an academic degree, Scott had trained as a journalist and published several works on the exploration and settlement of Australia before becoming the chair of history at the University of Melbourne in 1913.[4]

Ernest Scott (left) c1916

Scott described a myth of progress and the formation of a unique national identity. His idealised vision was most potently expressed in his observations on the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915. Britain found itself at war with Germany in August 1914 and the Australians ‘flew to arms on the instant’ in support of the Empire. The Anzac landings had occurred a year before the publication of Scott’s Short History, and although he could only offer a few remarks about the campaign in the concluding chapter, he made the most of his opportunity to elevate the campaign into myth. Scott asserted that Anzac and its sacrifices had been pre-destined by fate and prophesied in the poetry of Henry Lawson. Scott observed that poetry was that ancient and ‘Spartan’ art form of the Muses that could not only confer artistic inspiration, but also bestowed the gifts of memory and prophecy. The ‘Spartan spring’ had flowed ‘constantly and copiously’ in Australia, and poured ‘hot from the heart’ of Henry Lawson: ‘There are passages in his virile ‘Star of Australasia’ that ring like the authentic message of prophesy, written as this poem was nearly a quarter of a century before the name of Anzac blazed into being :

… I tell you the Star of the South shall rise – in the lurid clouds of war.[5]

Australians were fulfilling an ancient destiny by sacrificing themselves in war, to ‘fight for a Right or Great Mistake’.[6]

In his Short History, Scott sought to solve the contemporary problems of Australians: who they were and how their history might help them cope with the unprecedented sufferings posed by the First World War. In identifying shared British origins, Scott offered a reassuring sense of familiarity, enhanced by an account of how Australians had proved themselves worthy of their inherited traditions and faced the challenges of developing a new country. Scott defined and expressed this mythic history on behalf of the Australian people and the Short History became a standard reference for students and the general public selling 40,000 copies within a decade and appearing in a number of editions between 1916 and the outbreak of the Second World War.[7]

In Scott’s tale of progress and sacrifice, the first Australians were swept from sight by the relentless tide of European progress; he briefly described how the ‘fading out of the native race’ was grim, hateful and inevitable.[8] However, the sectarian and racial tensions between the Protestant English majority and the Irish Catholic minority went largely without comment. The fundamentally gendered nature of Scott’s celebration of the Australian character with the masculine conquest of the land and cult of military sacrifice on behalf of the feminised nation and the imperial motherland was simply taken for granted. In these omissions, Scott’s Short History established a familiar pattern for Australian historiography that persisted well into the twentieth century, sustaining the myth of racial and male superiority that defined white, British-Australian culture. The Short History provided a vital text for establishing Australian history as a legitimate area of historical enquiry, capable of being fashioned into a compelling narrative and worthy of further research. Yet it was not until 1926 that before Scott established the first course offered by an Australian university called ‘Australasian History’ that sought to place the study of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific in its imperial context but not structured along the lines of the nation building lessons that he had described in the Short History.[9]

‘Mateship’ at Gallipoli: the epitome of two ‘myths’

At the University of Sydney, George Arnold Wood had already begun to expand the research horizons of Australian historiography. Like Scott, Wood was a British immigrant, although formally trained as an historian at Balliol College. At Oxford he was influenced by von Ranke’s methods and encouraged to explore primary sources. Appointed to the chair of history in 1891, Wood, like many of his contemporaries, saw the study of history as a story of progress to be explained in essentially literary terms. He was an ardent liberal who believed history must illuminate the present and act as a moral force, shaping the values of future leaders and ‘much of Wood’s interest in history centred round the struggle between liberalism and authoritarianism.’[10] Overworked and sometimes at odds with the University of Sydney authorities because of his radical liberalism, Wood presided over a syllabus that privileged British and European history at the undergraduate level; he only once taught an undergraduate course in Australian history, in 1925. Amongst postgraduates, he encouraged research into Australian history, a field which opened up with the availability of primary sources at the State Library of New South Wales, opened in Sydney in 1910, and through his involvement in the project to publish The Historical Records of Australia between 1914 and 1925 that documented the early colonial period.[11]

In 1922, Wood published The Discovery of Australia, a pioneering account of the exploration of the continent and in the same year produced an influential article in the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, then the only dedicated historical journal in the country, on white Australia’s origins as a convict settlement.[12] Wood took issue with the established tendency to avoid discussion of the shameful convict stain, considered an embarrassment by most respectable Australians. He argued that convicts, ‘generally criminals of a low rank’, had played a vital role in nation building after being transported by the state to protect the interests of a corrupt English aristocracy. ‘Is it not clearly a fact that the atrocious criminals remained in England, while their victims, innocent and manly, founded the Australian democracy?’ The convicts were equipped with both the qualities and the gender required for nation building. Australian sacrifice at Gallipoli and on the Western Front demonstrated that convict ancestry had produced Australians who had ‘proved themselves to be among the greatest and noblest souls who have ever grown among the British race.’ Wood cast back in time to find vindication of the liberal democratic nationalism that he championed.[13]


[1] Macintyre, Stuart, ‘The Making of A School’, in Crawford, R.M., Clark, Manning and Blainey, Geoffrey, (eds.), Making History, (McPhee Gribble/Penguin Books), 1985, p. 11.

[2] Ibid, Scott, Ernest, A Short History of Australia, pp. 330-332.

[3] Ibid, Scott, Ernest, A Short History of Australia, p. 336.

[4] Macintyre, Stuart, ‘Ernest Scott: ‘My History is a Romance’’, in Macintyre, Stuart and Thomas, Julian, (eds.), The Discovery of Australia, 1890-1939, (Melbourne University Press), 1995, pp. 71-75.

[5] Lawson, Henry, ‘The Star of Australasia’, In Days When the World Was Wide, And Other Verses, (Angus and Robertson, 1903), p. 116.

[6] Ibid, Scott, Ernest, A Short History of Australia, pp. 336-340. See also, Cronin, Leonard, (ed.), A camp-fire yarn: Henry Lawson complete works 1885-1900, (Lansdowne), 1984, p. 459.

[7] Macintyre, Stuart, A History for a Nation, Ernest Scott and the Making of Australian History, (Melbourne University Press), 1994, p. 73.

[8] Ibid, Scott, Ernest, A Short History of Australia, pp. 184-185.

[9] Ibid, Macintyre, Stuart, ‘Ernest Scott: ‘My History is a Romance’’, p. 85.

[10] Fletcher, Brian H., ‘History as a Moral Force: George Arnold Wood at Sydney University, 1891-1928’, in ibid, Macintyre, Stuart and Thomas, Julian, (eds.), The Discovery of Australia, 1890-1939, pp. 13-14.

[11] Fletcher, Brian H., ‘History as a Moral Force: George Arnold Wood at Sydney University, 1891-1928’, in ibid, Macintyre, Stuart and Thomas, Julian, (eds.), The Discovery of Australia, 1890-1939, pp. 18-19.

[12] Garden, Don, ‘Historical Societies’ in ibid, Davison, Graeme, (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Australian History, p. 321.

[13] Wood, G. A., ‘Convicts’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. viii, (1922), pp. 187, 190 197.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Shaping a historiography: a mythic beginning

In 1916, Ernest Scott, newly appointed professor of history at the University of Melbourne, concluded his highly influential A Short History of Australia with a discussion of Australia’s novelists and poets. In the final paragraph of the book, he observed

Perhaps not many of the writings of these men are well known outside Australia; but what of that? She has her own life, and it is good; they wrote for her about the things that are hers; and they have helped her people to understand their country, their destiny, and themselves.[1]

Scott might have provided a similar commentary of the ambitions of Australia’s historians, across the twentieth century, to create and contest a mythic narrative of national experience. European national histories

…showed a remarkable zeal in demonstrating the uniqueness of their particular nation-state; a similar zeal in Australian national histories was intensified by a strong sense of insularity as a federation of colonies finding its path to nationhood in a region distant from comparable western nations.[2]

Australians defensively withdrew from the Asia-Pacific region in the name of economic growth and white cultural destiny. Looking inward, the national narrative attempted to discover the sources of Australian character from within a culture that could proudly acknowledge its British origins, while searching for evidence of its unique character.

This introduction considers twentieth century Australian national histories that have embraced or challenged myths of national identity and nation building from the interpretations of an evolutionary Australian-British liberalism and progress typified by Ernest Scott in the period between the two world wars, to the mid-century assertions of a culturally distinctive Australian nationalism, and the intensely competitive revisionism over issues of national identity, race and gender in recent decades. Successive generations of Australian historians have grappled with the themes of ‘mateship’ and ‘egalitarianism’, White Australia, and masculine struggles of progress and sacrifice in war. During the first half of the twentieth century, many Australian historians cultivated the status of these mythic themes in shaping what Margaret Somers has described as a ‘meta-narrative’: a myth of national identity.[3] From the late 1960s, this project, serving the needs of homogenous nation building, was challenged by a more critical analysis of the evolving nation, as the economic and cultural protectionism that had characterised Australian society since federation in 1901 began to break down under the influence of post-war immigration and the liberalisation of the economy.

Myth is a highly charged concept to link with the study of history: as Rebecca Collins observes, ‘myth and history are typically construed as antithetical approaches to the past’. To suggest that fable and fact may be reconciled to explain the past is to apparently suggest that truth and falsity can explain the same historical event.[4] Yet, myth cannot be so easily dismissed from a consideration of history, particularly from histories of nations and national identity. All histories contain some element of myth especially some sort of ‘creation story’[5], a distortion of the truth produced to draw out a significant explanation of the past; a sense of significance shared by a cultural group embracing a mythic explanation of the past in order to reinforce shared values. Historians write to communicate with contemporary audiences and Collins concludes that all history writing is concerned with the political problems of the present.[6]


[1] Scott, Ernest, A Short History of Australia, (Oxford University Press), 1916, p. 340.

[2] Berger, Stefan with Donovan, Mark and Passmore, Kevin, ‘Apologias for the nation-state in Western Europe since 1800’, in Berger, Stefan, Donovan, Mark and Passmore, Kevin, (eds.), Writing National Histories, Western Europe since 1800, (Routledge), 1999, p. 10.

[3] Somers, Margaret R., ‘Deconstructing and Reconstructing Class Formation Theory: Narrativity, Relational Analysis, and Social Theory’, in Hall, John R., (ed.), Reworking Class, (Cornell University Press), 1997, p. 85.

[4] The distinction between fact and fable was far less problematic for medieval historians. Take, for instance, the writings of Dudo of St Quentin and their importance in establishing the ‘Norman identity’ in the early eleventh century; see, Webber, Nick, The Evolution of Norman Identity 911-1154, (Boydell), 2005, pp. 1-53.

[5] The question of Australia’s creation story is contested. For the indigenous peoples, it lies in the ‘dreamtime’ though they have no single creation story. For those who came to Australia after 1788, the events at Gallipoli and the Anzac spirit have been regarded by some as the modern creation story. Ernest Scott linked the European settlement of Australia with the idea of Australia becoming a nation on the battlefields of Gallipoli: ‘This Short History of Australia begins with a blank space on the map and ends with the record of a new name on the map, that of Anzac.’

[6] Collins, Rebecca, ‘Concealing the Poverty of Traditional Historiography: myth as mystification in historical discourse’, Rethinking History, Vol. 7, (2003), pp. 341-343, 356.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The need for an archive

Bonwick’s main interest lay in the preservation of records for posterity and he followed this interest assiduously even though he was not successful in having a public records office created in any of the Australian Colonies. Between 1872 and 1891 Bonwick called on Sir Henry Parkes, the NSW Premier to support and assist him in his endeavours.  Bonwick had a Public Service position in mind when he wrote to Parkes:

It was as the historian and not the copyist, that I sought to select from the old records of our Colony. I would copy the most important, make a digest of the others, and give a collective report of the whole as the archivist’.[1]

In May 1885, Bonwick wrote privately to Parkes:

By this mail is sent an application to the Colonial Secretary at Sydney, for permission to act as the archivist in your colony to a small extent. Knowing from Sir Saul [Samuel, NSW Agent General in London], who has little interest in literary matters, that the Govt may need a friend to literature to support my claim, I ask your service. Objections to a general transcription of early records I can understand, as family names and stories may appear, so I seek only to make for your Public Library a list of all the documents in the Record Office here, from 1786 and a short digest of their contents.[2]

Even though Bonwick was never appointed archivist of NSW, he was the first to raise the profile of archives in the Australian colonies and certainly contributed to the belief that the proper care of government archives was the cornerstone of democracy. Not everyone was impressed with Bonwick’s work. A reviewer of the second volume of Historical Records of New South Wales asked rather sarcastically

Why must we read a quantity of the dreariest public correspondence, all that is hardly the material for history...The whole thing has been conceived on an excessive scale which neutralizes the talent of the historian and exposes the community to ridicule...besides the disproportion of the work is melancholy. Four solid tomes bring us only a few years on our way to New South Wales. In four volumes Mommsen has written the history of the majesty of Rome.[3]

It was not all criticism and in the preface to Historical Records, Alexander Britton wrote:

But for the active search made in London by Mr J Bonwick FRGS, the early records on New South Wales would have been little better than a blank, the transcripts that have been made repair, so far as can be repaired, the loss of early Colonial records. [4]

Bonwick had written to Parkes in 1891:

I hope soon to report to you upon the systems adopted in various countries, in relation to the preservation and utilization of materials constituting a records office’.[5]

Bonwick was not the first person who had suggested the establishment of a record office for government archives. George Burnett Barton[6], brother of Edmund Barton, first Prime Minister of Australia,  noted:

The records of the Colony for the past hundred years are stored in a large room at the Colonial Secretary’s office; but no attempt has been made to ascertain their contents, or even to arrange them so that their contents could be ascertained, by anyone in search of information they are supposed to contain...the result is that the records, in their present condition, are not available for historical or any other purposes.[7]

Archives were invariably stored in a haphazard arrangement with no special premises. When the Garden Palace in Sydney was vacated after the International Exhibition of 1879-1880, it was thought to be a good idea to store some State archival material there. When the Palace burned to the ground, these irreplaceable archives, including relics of the Eora people, were also destroyed. In subsequent correspondence with Parkes, Barton puts forward a proposal for his employment as Keeper of Public Records, but this fell on deaf ears.

In 1891 a History Board was appointed to revise the text of the official history of NSW, to supervise the Colonial archives collection and to publish the documents on which it was based. This grew into Historical Records of New South Wales, edited first by Alexander Britton and then by Frank Murcott Bladen, who went on to become Principal Librarian at the Public Library of New South Wales in January 1907.[8] In that role he was vocal in his criticism of the lack of a public records office in NSW, stating:

It is a disgrace to Australia as an enlightened nation that there is no place where the original papers bearing on the discovery of the continent; the exploration and settlement of the states; the constitutional history and records of their courts of law and judicial and political institutions can be consulted by the student of history.[9]

As Principal Librarian Bladen occupied an influential post to push for the establishment of a records office, though despite his best efforts, nothing tangible occurred during this period. Bladen had undertaken a visit to Europe in 1902 looking at archives that influenced his thinking during this period. The concept of a records office was once more on the agenda with some powerful supporters. The Trustees of the PLNSW were pushing for a separate public records office for their own possibly more selfish reasons. This was the construction of a suitable building not only to house the library collections of the State but also the archival collections.


[1] Bonwick to Parkes, 16 January 1884, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Parkes correspondence, A9, p. 51.

[2] Bonwick to Parkes, 8 May 1885, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Parkes Correspondence, Vol. 2, A872, p. 363.

[3] Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 1894, p. 4.

[4] HRNSW, Vol. 1, (1), p. xi

[5] Bonwick to Parkes, 2 November 1891, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Parkes Correspondence

[6] Ward, John M., ‘Barton, George Burnett (1836-1901)’, ADB, Vol. 3, pp. 113-115.

[7] Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Parkes Correspondence, Vol. 6, A876, p. 39.

[8] Fletcher, B.H., ‘Bladen, Frank Murcott (1858-1912)’, ADB, Supplementary Volume, pp. 33-34

[9] Bladen, F.M., Manuscript notebook on archives, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, C710, p. 12. .

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

James Bonwick and Australian archives

James Bonwick was pivotal in the development of the idea of a public record office or archives in NSW.[1] Ironically it was in England from the early 1880s than Bonwick made his mark on the archives of Australia in general and on those of NSW in particular

The first recorded awareness of the value of public archives and of the necessity for their preservation as fundamental source materials for the history of Australia dates from the third quarter of the 19th century when the Centenary of the Colony was approaching. This interest led to the appointment of an archivist in New South Wales in 1887 and to the publication of the History of New South Wales from the records and Historical Records of New South Wales. [2]

The task of searching for documents was one in which Bonwick was well practised. He had carried out intermittent research in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney from the 1840s and after his return to England in 1877 he began his research at the Public Records Office. The result of this work was contained in the First Twenty Years of Australia and Port Phillip Settlement. Both books are little more than chronicles, composed largely of quotations from contemporary documents linked with phrases such as ‘the writer then declares’, there being little attempt at interpretation or editorial comment. Yet both works were important in that they showed just how valuable the documents located in London could prove to be in arriving at a comprehensive view of Australian history. The preface to Port Phillip Settlement noted that there were ‘stores of wealth awaiting research in London’, suggesting that ‘faithful copies of such interesting documents should be in the public libraries of colonial capitals’.[3] Instances of neglect and destruction that Bonwick had experienced both in London and the colonies made it even more essential that copies be made before valuable documents were lost.[4]

 [Portrait of James Bonwick] [picture]

Bonwick was not the first colonial historian who realised the value of the records located in England. F.P. Labilliere[5] had searched Colonial Office papers for his Early History of the Colony of Victoria and in the early eighties G.W. Rusden[6] and J.H. Heaton[7] had made reference to similar documents. At an even earlier date the Canadian government had begun a much more systematic and thorough search of English archives. The position of Dominion Archivist was created in 1872 with the purpose of collecting records in an Archives Office in Ottawa. Douglas Brymner (1823-1902) was appointed to the position and almost immediately began transcribing documents in the Public Records Office. Bonwick met Brymner, was impressed with the scheme, and realised that a similar plan could be adopted by the Australian colonies.[8]

Having already worked as an emigration lecturer for the Queensland government during 1874-1875 and 1882-1883, it is not surprising that in August 1882 he should make his first offer as a transcriber to the Colonial Secretary in Brisbane. His offer accepted, transcripts relating to Moreton Bay were begun in May 1883 and completed by December.[9] Bonwick worked at great speed on his task of patient collection that suited his perspective on history. Bonwick’s research had shown that Australian history was not without its ‘myths’, erroneous views created by partisan spirit. Many Australian histories were works composed by participants in the events they described and were often ‘coloured by the hues of party’.[10] His own works were not without this fault, though he came to realise that he was often misled by accepting the evidence of personal opinions ‘influenced by party feeling or private sympathy’.[11] Bonwick saw it as his task to correct this bias by presenting history based on reliable factual evidence. He found models for his work in the books of English historians like Lecky and Sharon Turner, both ‘honest recorders’ who stressed patient critical scholarship; the ‘fine writing with faulty research and party prejudice’ of Hume and Macaulay was to be avoided as it would only sustain those ‘myths’ which Bonwick wished to destroy.[12]

By claiming the support of eminent historians, Bonwick pressed on with his idea of encouraging the Australian colonies to have him transcribe the relevant documents. Over a year passed on completing the Queensland transcripts before Bonwick was able to persuade the South Australian government to appoint him in February 1885, but it was only a small order and took less than five months to complete.[13] This batch was followed by transcripts relating to the discovery of Port Phillip, copied for the Melbourne Public Library from July to November 1886[14]. In January the following year the Tasmanian government, prompted by the local historian James B. Walker (1841-1899), engaged Bonwick as a transcriber.[15] The first batch of these transcripts was completed in July 1887, a second batch in June 1888, and a third group was transcribed (at a guinea per day) between June 1890 and January 1894 when the work was stopped because the Premier pointed out ‘the absolute necessity of curtailing our expenditure’. Then between March 1899 and June 1902 further transcripts were copied gratuitously by Bonwick, but such was the interest in Hobart that neither the government, the Royal Society nor the Public Library was prepared to contribute towards a gift of £25 for Bonwick who had now retired from transcribing.

The NSW Government almost stumbled into history matters with the acquisition of the Brabourne Papers in 1884. These papers relating to NSW included letters of Banks, Flinders and Bligh and were finally purchased for £375. [16] Bonwick was employed by the NSW government to list and briefly describe these papers, his first work of an archival nature. During this period Bonwick was angling for a position in NSW and he gave a lecture to the Royal Colonial Institute in London in 1895, where he regaled them with ‘curious stories of shameful negligence in the preservation of official documents here and in the colonies’.[17] Bonwick also commented on the negligent way the NSW Government looked after its archives in his monograph The first twenty years of Australia

All these precious manuscripts were extracted, in the writer’s presence, from a heap of rubbish and old documents, laden with the undisturbed dust of many years’.[18]

Finally, in April 1887 Bonwick’s repeated requests to the New South Wales government met with success when he was appointed to transcribe documents to be incorporated in a new history of the colony to be published in the centenary year of 1888.[19] The initial move came from Charles Potter, the Government Printer, who proposed the publication of a new edition of Thomas Richards’ history of New South Wales[20], but it was decided that an entirely new work be published, the documentary material being provided by the transcripts. Bonwick was appointed in April to transcribe for £50, and when the first batch was forwarded to Sydney in September 1887 the material they contained proved so valuable and interesting that the work was allowed to continue without interruption.

From 1887 until his retirement in 1902, Bonwick worked full time at his transcribing duties, copying approximately 125,000 foolscap sheets for the Tasmanian and New South Wales governments (both series were compiled concurrently). Copied by hand, many of them by Bonwick himself, some by female assistants employed by him, they represent years of patient work spent in the cold, dimly-lit Records Office. Other sources of information were not neglected; the Home Office, War Office, Admiralty, India Office and the Colonial Office were all visited, as were the headquarters of the London Missionary Society and many other private bodies. Journeys were made to Scotland, Ireland and Wales in search of material.

The transcripts have been described as ‘a major influence on Australian historical writing’, in that they stimulated serious historical research.[21] Many of the transcripts reached a wide audience by their incorporation in the Historical Records of New South Wales and later in the thirty-three volumes of the Historical Records of Australia. The publication of these documents showed Australian historians the vast mass of evidence that was awaiting their research before reliable judgments could be made. The transcripts and their publication allowed Australian history to move from the highly personal interpretation that had previously served as history to balanced, professionally written work.

If the transcripts proved such a stimulus, can they now, after eighty-odd years of use, be accepted uncritically? When the Commonwealth government began publication of the Historical Records of Australia,[22] Dr. Frederick Watson[23], their editor, spoke of the ‘grave errors’ and lack of ‘accuracy, completeness and precision’ found in the Historical Records of New South Wales.[24] Although he is critical the value of Bonwick’s work, Watson does make some very pertinent criticisms of the transcripts. Firstly, he noted the action of the censor before the transcripts were forwarded to Australia. In dealing with public records, Bonwick was restricted to material of a certain age. He was refused permission to transcribe documents relating to Moreton Bay after 1850, and the same restriction also applied to documents of the other colonies had the transcription proceeded far enough. Furthermore, the authorities at the Colonial Office placed restrictions on those archives to which it gave Bonwick access. In one instance some material from the Appendix to Bigge’s Report was destroyed at the Colonial Office and the remainder was forwarded to Sydney on condition that it was kept ‘strictly confidential…not to be printed and not to be accessible to the public’.[25] This is a particular instance, and it is now impossible to determine how much censorship was applied during the day-to-day work.

A second, more serious defect of the transcripts are the editorial omissions made by Bonwick. When he first applied to the NSW government for employment, Bonwick offered to work as ‘the historian and not the copyist’[26], revealing an attitude to archives that has since proved erroneous. Later, when forwarding the first batch of transcripts to Sydney, Bonwick noted that ‘there is a careful omission of all names of prisoners, private slanders and irrelevant facts’.[27] There is no evidence to suggest that this policy of editing was changed as the copying continued. Nor are the New South Wales transcripts unique in this respect. A comparison of the South Australian transcripts with the originals shows that Bonwick paraphrased or omitted to a considerable extent; the Tasmanian transcripts suffer likewise because of Bonwick’s failure to include references to the location or series number of the original, and because he followed Walker’s advice ‘to restrict your selection very considerably’.[28] Such editing not only destroyed the value of the transcripts as an undisturbed archival sequence, but, as Watson remarked, ‘it is only by the careful examination and assimilation of all statements...that the fundamental basis of truth may be conceived in its true proportions’.

Two further limitations need to be considered. As the bulk of the transcripts increased, both the Tasmanian and New South Wales governments allowed Bonwick to employ female assistants to carry out the actual copying while he acted as searcher and general superintendent. Although this practice certainly improved the legibility of the copies it is possible that the assistants, lacking historical background were not careful in their work nor had it thoroughly checked by Bonwick. Finally, the transcripts now in the Mitchell Library have been considerably re-arranged from the numerical sequence provided by Bonwick. Many have been extracted and bound into separate volumes, whilst the rest have been sorted into three series, thus rendering almost useless the lengthy indexes which Bonwick prepared. The result of this censorship, editing and rearrangement is that the transcripts have to be used selectively and with care. Most of them have been published in the Historical Records of New South Wales and the Historical Records of Australia or are now available in the original form on the microfilm copies provided by the Joint Copying Project. Only some small sections of the transcripts retain some value; the rest are available elsewhere in a more accurate form.

Although it was not his intention, Bonwick’s transcriptions placed British state papers at the heart of Australian historiography. This was a reflection of local and especially NSW identity. History provided the justification for NSW’s dominance in the new Australia, something that could not be denied when faced with the overwhelming evidence in Historical Records of New South Wales and the Historical Records of Australia.


[1] Featherstone, Guy, ‘Bonwick, James (1817-1906)’, ADB, Vol. 3, pp. 190-192.

[2] Archives Authority of New South Wales, Annual Report, 1961, pp. 1-2.

[3] Bonwick, James, Port Phillip Settlement, (Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivingston), 1883, p. iv.

[4] Bonwick, James, First Twenty Years of Australia: a history founded on official documents, (Low, Marston), 1882, p. v.

[5] Labilliere, F.P., Early History of the Colony of Victoria: From its Discovery to its Establishment as a Self-Governing Province of the British Empire, 2 Vols. (Low, Marston), 1878.

[6] Rusden, G.W., History of Australia, 3 Vols. (Chapman and Hall), 1883.

[7] Heaton, J.H., Australian dictionary of dates and men of the time: containing the history of Australasia from 1542 to May, 1879, (G. Robertson), 1879.

[8] Wallace, W.L., (ed.), Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, (Macmillan), 1963, p. 89; Bonwick, J., ‘The writing of colonial history: an abstract of a paper delivered to the Royal Colonial Institute, 26 March 1895’, Royal Colonial Institute proceedings, Vol. 26, (1894-1895), pp. 6-7.

[9] The details of the Queensland transcripts are drawn from Letter Book, Agent-General to Colonial Secretary COL/85 and COL/89 (Queensland Archives).

[10] Ibid, Bonwick, James, Port Phillip Settlement, p. v.

[11] Bonwick, J., An Octogenarian’s Reminiscences, (J. Nichols), 1902, p. 258.

[12] Ibid, Bonwick, J., ‘The writing of Colonial History’, p. 4.

[13] Details of the South Australian transcripts are drawn from South Australian Archives: Letter Books of Correspondence, Agent-General to Treasurer 1884-1885, 613 and 634.

[14] Details of the Victorian transcripts are drawn from Victorian Archives: Melbourne Public Library Librarian’s Letter Books 1885-1877.

[15] Details of the Tasmanian transcripts are drawn from Tasmanian Archives: Premier’s Department Records, 1/16/119, 8/8, 1/53/31, 1/167/40; and Walker Papers, University of Tasmania: J.B. Walker Letter Book 1883-1892.

[16] The papers are available on the State Library of New South Wales web site www.sl.nsw.gov.au/banks.

[17] Ibid, Bonwick, James, ‘The writing of colonial history’, pp. 270-272.

[18] Ibid, Bonwick, James, The first twenty years of Australia, p. v.

[19] Details of the New South Wales transcripts are drawn from Mitchell Library: Correspondence re Bonwick Transcripts, uncatalogued manuscript 152.

[20] Richards, Thomas, An epitome of the official history of New South Wales: from the foundation of the colony in 1788 to the close of the first session of the eleventh parliament under responsible government in 1883 compiled chiefly from the official and parliamentary records of the colony, (Govt Printer), 1883.

[21] Ward, J.M., ‘Historiography’, in McLeod, A.L., (ed.), The Pattern of Australian Culture, (Melbourne University Press), 1963, p. 216.

[22] The original series of Historical Records of Australia was launched in 1914 and discontinued in 1925 by which time thirty-three volumes in three Series, I, III & IV had been produced. Series III concentrated on Official Despatches between the Colonial Office and the colony of Tasmania from 1803-1827 in its six volumes.[22] The original plan was for seven Series: Series I, Governor’s Despatches to and From England; Series II: Papers belonging to the General Administration in Sub-Sections (not-published); Series III, Despatches and papers relating to the Settlement of the States (resumed publishing 1997); Series IV: Legal Papers; Series V: Exploration Papers (not published); Series VI: Scientific Papers (not published); and, Series VII: Ecclesiastical, Naval and Military Papers (not published). Following an unsuccessful initiative to continue the project in 1956, a further application stimulated by the 1988 bicentenary and supported by Australian Research Council grants and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library resulted in the resumed series continuing the Tasmanian context of which three volumes have been published to date.

[23] Mitchell, Ann M., ‘Doctor Frederick Watson and Historical Records of Australia’, Historical Studies, Vol. 20, (1982), pp. 171-197, Mitchell, Ann M., ’Watson, James Frederick William (1878-1945)’, ADB, Vol. 12, pp. 398-399. See also, Mitchell, Ann M., Dr Frederick Watson and Historical records of Australia, (Sydney Hospital), 1981.

[24] HRA, Series I, Vol. 6, ‘Introduction’, p. x.

[25] Mitchell Library: Correspondence re Bonwick Transcripts, uncatalogued manuscript 152.

[26] Bonwick to Sir Henry Parkes, 16 January 1884, in Mitchell Library: Autograph Letters A9.

[27] Mitchell Library: Correspondence re Bonwick Transcripts, uncatalogued manuscript 152.

[28] J.B. Walker to Bonwick, 16 April 1891, in Walker Papers, University of Tasmania: J.B. Walker Letter Book 1883-1892