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We need new ways to tell stories of the past

We need new ways to tell local stories

I have just finished watching online a critical discussion on the practice of history held at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

In these times of fake news, misleading information, and conspiracy theories. Whom do you trust? What is the truth? Social media is all-encompassing.

This photograph is of a voluntary aid at the Waley Convalescent Home for Soldiers at Mowbray Park in 1920 sitting at her desk perhaps writing a letter to a loved one in her time off. This is a wonderful story of service and sacrifice and how these women did wonderful service during and after the First World War. (NAA)
This photograph is of a voluntary aid at the Waley Convalescent Home for Soldiers at Mowbray Park in 1920 sitting at her desk perhaps writing a letter to a loved one in her time off. This is a wonderful story of service and sacrifice and how these women did wonderful service during and after the First World War. (NAA)

This discussion on the practice of history is a dose of hope when political interest groups seek to rewrite the past on their terms.

Maybe this discussion was not a complete cure, but it certainly seems like a ray of sunshine into the swamp of the abyss.

So what did I see?

I watched a panel of learned historians and museum directors discussing launching the Reframing History report by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). 

The promotional email I received boasted:  

This new initiative provides the field with a set of evidence-backed recommendations to communicate history more convincingly and to build a wider understanding of what inclusive history looks like and why it is important for all of us.

The discussion lived up to the hype.

I highly recommend this lively and challenging discussion to anyone involved in the practice of history. I do not think it matters whether you are from the academy, practise public history, or just like popular history. This discussion should interest you if you are concerned about the long term health of history as a discipline.

Panel Discussion Details

  • John Dichtl, president and CEO of AASLH, started the conversation by providing an overview of the project. 
  • That was followed by a discussion by Anthea Hartig, Elizabeth MacMillan, Director of the National Museum of American History. 

Panellists included:

  • Martha S. Jones, author and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University
  • Clint Smith, staff writer at The Atlantic and author of How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with Slavery Across America
  •  Jorge Zamanillo, director of HistoryMiami and incoming founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino

The panellists expand on the Reframing History Report and Toolkit by talking about their personal experiences of communicating about history and sharing their recommendations for how history organizations can create environments for positive and productive conversations.

You can view the discussion on the AASLH YouTube channel. AASLH YouTube channel.

 Watch on YouTube

Further reading

Be a historical detective.

Art · Attachment to place · Belonging · Camden · Colonial Camden · Colonial frontier · Colonialism · Convicts · Cowpastures · Cultural Heritage · Cultural icon · England · Farming · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · Interwar · Landscape aesthetics · Lifestyle · Living History · Local History · Local newspapers · Local Studies · Macarthur · Memorials · Memory · Modernism · Monuments · Myths · Newspapers · Place making · Ruralism · Sense of place · Settler colonialism · Stereotypes · Streetscapes · Sydney's rural-urban fringe · Tourism · Urban growth · urban sprawl · Urbanism · War · Women's history

Making Camden History

A brief historiography of the Camden District

The story of the construction of the history of the Camden area. There are many versions and they are all correct. They all put their own spin on the way they want to tell the Camden story. Some good, some indifferent, some just plain awful.

(Facebook, 23 November 2015)

View of the farm of J. Hassel [Hassall] Esqr. Cow Pastures, New South Wales by Augustus Earle, c. 1825. State Library of NSW PXD 265, f. 2
View of the farm of J. Hassel [Hassall] Esqr. Cow Pastures, New South Wales by Augustus Earle, c. 1825. State Library of NSW PXD 265, f. 2

Tourist history of Camden

The official story of the township as told to tourists is shared in the brochure for a historic walk around the Camden town centre published by Camden Council.  It is reflective of the pioneer legend that has pervaded the Camden story and the legitimising narrative that is part of the nation-building story of a settler society.  In many ways, it hides as much as it reveals. It states:

The historic town of Camden, less than an hours drive south-west of Sydney, is the cultural heart of a region that enjoys a unique place in our nation’s history.

The earliest developments of the Australian wool, wheat and wine industries are associated with the town following the original land grant from Lord Camden to John Macarthur in 1805.

The town is home to a large number of heritage listed attractions that reflect its strong links with the history of colonial settlement in Australia. Camden is rich in rural heritage with live stock sale yards, vineyards, Equestrian Park and dairy facilities.

The township reveals in its built heritage an interesting and varied range of architectural styles that reflect the town’s evolution from the earliest days of European settlement through to the modern era.

The walking tour brochure portrays Camden’s rich historical and cultural legacy and affords a valuable opportunity to both visitors and the local community to experience the town’s unique character and charm and appreciate some of its history first hand.

(Camden Heritage Walking Tour Brochure)

A similar heritage walking brochure exists for the Narellan area, which tells the story of European settlement of a planned government village that pre-dates Camden. Here there is also silence on many aspects of the past that are yet to be revealed to readers.

This short historiography is one of the few that has been attempted to illustrate the construction of the history of a rural community. One that has been recently published is included in the history of the gold-mining community of Linton in Victoria  (2015). The author, Jill Wheeler, examines the broad range of influences that shaped the writing of that community’s history.

Camden Walking Brochure

This paper should be read in conjunction with the Camden Bibliography, which is a list of published and other sources on the Camden District. It was my first attempt at compiling an authoritative list of sources on the local area and it has been pleasing to note that a host of researchers have found it to be a useful start.

This construction of the story of Camden history can be divided into a number of identifiable stages. Each stage reflects the values and attitudes of those who created the writing of the period, and the social and cultural filters that shaped their version of the story.

The Cowpastures frontier

From the beginning of European settlement in Australia curiosity drew those with an interest in wider issues to the local area. The first expeditionaries were naval and military officers who were trained to observe the landform and surroundings and record the detail in their logs and diaries.  While providing a detailed account of their journeys they also recorded their observations and contact with Indigenous people. They recorded their observations of a managed landscape that was regularly burnt by the local Indigenous people. Prominent amongst these were Englishmen Watkin Tench (1790), Governor John Hunter (1795), David Collins (1795), George Bass (1796) and Lachlan Macquarie (1810, 1815, 1820), and Frenchmen Francis Louis Barrallier (1802) and Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1826).

Then there are the letters of settlers like John Hawdon of Elderslie in the 1820s who wrote back to England of his experiences in the Cowpastures and dealing with ‘the government men’. [convicts]

Amongst other writings, there are the reminiscences of Barron Field (1825), Thomas Mitchell (1836) and William Pridden (1843), while there are the journals of colonial women such as those of Annabella Boswell (1848).

Naming landform features gave the new arrivals a legitimacy of possession. For example on Governor King’s excursion to the area, he named the locality the Cowpastures because of the escaped cattle.

Central Camden c1930s (Camden Images)
Central Camden c1930s (Camden Images)

Villages and beyond

The earliest records of settlement in the Cowpastures describe the conditions in the villages that were scattered across the area – Cawdor, Cobbitty, Elderslie, Narellan and then later Camden (1840).

The earliest accounts of Camden village, its planning, its establishment and development are carried in the Sydney newspapers – particularly The Sydney Morning Herald. During the 1840s the Camden Clerk of Petty Sessions Charles Tompson was a regular correspondent to the newspaper.

Even by the 1880s the changing nature of the Camden village and the district prompted nostalgia for the pioneering days of the early colonial period. The Camden Times and Camden News printed reminiscences of the town and district of JB Martin in the early 1880s and 1890s and RH Antill in the late 1890s, Richard Todd (1895 and 1896) as well as the stories from Obed West in the 1884 and 1885 in The Sydney Morning Herald.  These stressed the progress and development of the town. Martin, the Camden Clerk of Petty Sessions for a period,  made the point in his 1883 (Camden Times) reminiscences that the history of several English counties had been written by local history associations and he felt that a similar venture was worthwhile in the Camden district.

Further reminiscences were  Thomas Herbert (1909) in the  Town and Country Journal and Samuel Hassall’s  (1902) In Old Australia and there are the unpublished reminiscences of Camden businessman Samuel Thompson (1905).

Wartime writing

The Boer War, then the First and later the Second World Wars provide a period of reflection for local folk who are away soldiering in foreign lands. They are amongst the first to write about the Camden District as home in nostalgic terms from far away places where they are under traumatic conditions.

These letters were published in the Camden News and during the Second World War the Camden Advertiser. Some have found their way into recent publications particularly on the centenary of the First World War.

John Kerry's view of St Johns Church in 1890s (Camden Images)
John Kerry’s view of St Johns Church in 1890s (Camden Images)

Camden Aesthetic

An important theme in the Camden story is the development of a Camden aesthetic based on romantic notions surrounding the colonial properties of the landed gentry and the landscapes that were created by the Cowpasture patriarchs.

This first appeared in Andrew Garran’s highly successful Picturesque Atlas of Australasia  (1886) and portrayed an idyllic English village at Camden surrounded by an ordered farming landscape. The engraving was accompanied by GB Barton’s account of the exploits of John Macarthur and the foundation of the colonial wool industry. This was a narrative that evolved into local and national mythology and was further advanced by Sibella Macarthur Onslow’s Some Early Records of The Macarthurs of Camden (1914), a collection of family papers.

1934 Australian Commemorative Postage Stamp
1934 Australian Commemorative Postage Stamp

The legend of John Macarthur gained further momentum in the 1930s on the centenary of John Macarthur’s death in 1934 when Australia was in search of national heroes. He was the subject of stories in the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society (1929) and biographies. His image appeared on a series of postage stamps and later on the new decimal currency in the 1960s. His character was the subject of a novel (1941) and a new Federal electorate of Macarthur (1949) was named after him.  In 1960 the Camden community held a four-day celebration of the legend of the John Macarthur and the 150th anniversary of wool production in Australia called the Festival of the Golden Fleece (22-30 October).

The early 20th century also witnessed a shift in history writing identified by Graeme Davison from ‘pioneer’ to ‘patriarchal’ history writing and the development of the Camden aesthetic was part of that agenda.

There was William Hardy Wilson’s The Cow Pasture Road (1920) and Ure Smith’s watercolours and etchings in his Old Colonial By Ways (1928). Whimsical descriptions of Camden’s Englishness were published in Eldrid Dyer’s  ‘Camden, The Charm of an Old Town’ (1926) and articles in The Sydney Morning Herald like ‘The Beauty of Age’ (1934).

The Royal Australian Historical Society published articles on the Camden District in its journal.  The first appeared in  1928 on the Cowpastures, Cawdor and Cobbitty, which were followed by the Burragorang Valley (1934), Camden (1935), Narellan (1936), and the Cowpastures again in 1939.

Newcastle based journalist JJ Moloney, a former Menangle resident, published his reminiscences of Early Menangle in 1929.   In Camden two local journalists, George Sidman and Arthur Gibson, each separately marked the golden jubilee of the foundation of the Municipality of Camden (1889). Sidman, the owner of the Camden News, published the memoirs of J. B. Martin in a series of newspaper columns. While Gibson, owner of the Camden Advertiser, commissioned James Jervis from the Royal Australian Historical Society to write The Story of Camden.

The end of the Second World War created an air of confidence in the Camden District, which by this stage was prospering from the wealth created by the Burragorang Valley coalfields. In 1948 the newly formed Rotary Club and Camden Community Centre commissioned the University of Sydney to conduct a sociological survey of the town to provide a foundation for ‘future development’. This was followed up in 1952 by an American sociologist from the University of Kansas  City, ML ‘Jack’ Mason and his wife Elizabeth ‘Beth’. They surveyed the town and established that there was a five-tier social structure, which had its origins in the colonial period and the Cowpasture patriarchs. Both studies were suppressed from public gaze by vested interests until recent times.

Memorials of loss

As historians Graeme Davison and Gail Griffiths have noted the loss of local icons and ‘loved places’ creates a deep sense of insecurity and a desire by some for the ‘good old days’.  The grieving process was triggered in the Camden District community from the loss of Burragorang Valley after the state government decided to build a dam in the 1930s. In the early 1960s, the New South Wales Government closed the Campbelltown to Camden rail link as part of a state-wide rationalisation process.

WW1 Memorial Gates at Macarthur Park (Camden Remembers)
WW1 Memorial Gates at Macarthur Park (Camden Remembers)

There were five seminal events during this period, firstly, in 1957 the number of teachers from the newly established Camden High School formed the Camden Historical Society and held lectures, conducted field trips and outings.

Secondly, there was the erection of civic monuments celebrating the Burragorang Valley. The first monument, erected in 1962, was the Camden Rotary mural at the southern entrance to the town. The mural has designs celebrating Indigenous culture as well as the area’s farming and mining heritage. The stone for the wall came from the St Paulinos Catholic Church in ‘the Valley’.

Thirdly, a wagon wheel was erected by the Camden Historical Society outside the council chambers in 1977 to celebrate the teamsters who brought silver ore from Yerranderie through ‘the Valley’ to the Camden railhead. A heavy horse-drawn farm wagon was located outside the council chambers in 1978 to memorialise farmer workers and the horse. Each of these monuments recalled the values of the frontier; tenacity, stoicism, ruggedness, individualism, adaptability and Britishness. An 1899 water trough was added to these civic monuments in 1979 celebrating the town’s modernity when the town was connected to reticulated water; a sign of progress and development.

Camden Library Museum in John Street Camden
Camden Library Museum in John Street Camden

In 1970 the Camden Historical Society opened a folk museum in a room in the old council chambers encouraged by the Royal Australian Historical Society. The museum used simple displays of local ephemera, artefacts and other collectables supplemented with rudimentary signage to tell the Camden story.

The memorials of loss across the district extended to the numerous war memorials scattered throughout the Camden District that mourned the loss of men who never came home after the Great War. These monuments were added after the Second World War and in recent times with the centenary of the First World War, and have shaped and re-shaped the Camden story in ways that are still hard to identify. Their meaning is a statement of collective memory that is expressed in April and November every year by local communities.

Elsewhere in the district, The Oaks Historical Society was formed in 1979. It has contributed much material to the storytelling of the western part of the Camden District, particularly the Burragorang Valley and the silver mining fields of Yerranderie.

The rural-urban fringe and other threats

The role of loss in the Camden story acquired new meaning after 1973 when there was an identifiable shift in the interpretation and representation of ruralness in Camden. The release in 1973 of The New Cities of Campbelltown Camden Appin Structure Plan as part of the 1968 Sydney Regional Outline Plan triggered a wave of invaders from the city. Urban planners envisaged three regional centres on Sydney’s outskirts at Camden, Campbelltown and Appin with the ambitious idea of stopping the city’s urban sprawl.

Mount Annan suburban development which is part of Sydney’s urban sprawl c2005 (Camden Images)

These events strengthened the role of the Camden aesthetic. There was the re-making of place centred on the decline of the country town of Camden as the hub of a thriving rural economy to an idealised country town, a country town of the imagination.

Romantic representations of Camden’s rurality, especially St John’s church, became an important part of the contemporary consciousness. They found their way into official council policy and have been used in literature, publications, tourist and business promotions, websites, artwork, music, museum displays and a host of other places. In 1999  Camden Council’s strategic plan Camden 2025 adopted the language and imagery of Camden’s rurality when it outlined ‘the traditional qualities of a rural lifestyle’, ‘the historic nature’ of the area and the ‘unique rural landscapes and vistas’ in a country town atmosphere.

There was also the influence of the national bicentennial celebrations in 1988 and the publication in the same year of  Alan Atkinson’s Camden, Farm and Village Life in Early New South Wales (1988) which examined the early decades of the township. The dust jacket used a romantic watercolour (1850s) attributed to Emily Macarthur which looks ‘across Camden Park to the north-west, with St John’s Church and the distant Blue Mountains closing the view’, with the Nepean River flowing across the vista, similar to the 1886 Garran engraving.

This period also the emergence of the local histories of the area written by keen amateurs with the most notable example being John Wrigley, who has put together several publications the first published in 1980 called A History of Camden.  The Camden Historical Society started a small journal in 2001 called Camden History, which the society continues to successfully publish specialist local histories for a local audience.

The 21st century saw the evolution in the Camden story to a new generation of writers, most notable amongst them was this author. My work started with a local wartime study of a women’s voluntary organisation and has extended across a range of local themes including the rural-urban fringe, urban history, place, identity, philanthropy, the wartime homefront and local government. Most recently I have told the Camden story in a publication of a pictorial history of the district.

Read more @ Camden Bibliography

Updated 6 February 2022. Originally posted 20 November 2015.

Attachment to place · Bibliography · Camden · Camden Museum · Camden Story · Cultural Heritage · Historiography · History · Local History · Place making · Placemaking · References · Sense of place · Storytelling

Camden Bibliography

A Biography of a Country Town

This is a bibliography of sources for the history of the story of Camden and District and is for all those interested in this historic location. This list of sources makes no claims to be exhaustive and is only a guide.

This list includes sources for the Cowpastures district (1795-1850), the Camden district (1840-1973) and the Macarthur region (1949-2022).

Researchers will locate other resources in places like the Mitchell Library, National Archives of Australia, State Records of NSW and a host of other archives.

The bibliography makes no attempt to cover the vast array of manuscript sources that are located in a diversity of archives, both public and private.

The categories used in this bibliography are (1) newspaper and journals (2) books (3) articles (4) theses (5) audio-visual.

This bibliography is only a beginning. The bibliography was originally compiled in 2010. This list of sources should be read with the post Making Camden History.

The author would appreciate being made aware of any significant omissions to be included in any future revisions of this bibliography.

An aerial view of Camden township in 1940 was taken by a plane that took off at Camden airfield. St John’s Church is at the centre of the image (Camden Images)

Newspapers and Journals

Camden Advertiser, Camden, 1936-1957 

Camden Advertiser, Camden, 2005+

Camden Calling, Journal of the Camden Area Family History Society.

Camden Crier,  Camden.

Camden History, Journal of the Camden Historical Society

Camden News, Camden, 1895-1982

Camden Wollondilly Advertiser, Camden.

Campbelltown News, Campbelltown.

District Reporter, Camden, 1998+

Grist Mills, Journal of the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society Inc.

In Macarthur, Campbelltown.

Macarthur Advertiser, Campbelltown.

Macarthur Chronicle, Campbelltown.

Newsletter, Camden Historical Society

Camden’s Miss Rose Festival Queen in 1968 (Camden News 30 October 1968)

Books

Alexander, Pacita and Elizabeth Perkins, A Love Affair with Australian Literature, The Story of Tom Inglis Moore, Ginninderra Press, Canberra, 2004.

Ardler, Gloria, The Wander of it All, Burraga Aboriginal History and Writing Group Inc, Darlinghurst, 1991.

Armstrong, Isabel and Geoff, John Armstrong Colonial Schoolmaster, Sydney and Cobbitty, From Original Diaries – 1839 to 1857, Sunbird Publications, Killabakh, NSW, 1997.

Ashley-Riddle, Josie, History of ‘Gledswood’, 2nd Edition, Josie Ashley-Riddle, Narellan, 1987.

Atkinson, Alan, Camden, Farm and Village Life in Early New South Wales, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1988.

Australian Council of National Trusts, Historic Homesteads, Australian Council of National Trusts, Canberra City, 1982.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Melbourne University Press, South Melbourne. Online. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm .[Accessed July 2007]

Australian Garden History Society, From Wilderness to Garden, Early Colonial Gardens – Their Future?  Proceedings of the 16th National Conference, Australian Garden History Society, Melbourne, 1995.

Bayley, William, History of Campbelltown, Campbelltown City Council, Campbelltown, 1974.

Bagley, Cathy and Edwina Stanham, Camden Public School Sesquicentenary 1849-1999, Camden Public School Sesquicentenary Committee, Camden, 1999.

Barca, Margaret, Advice to a Young Lady in the Colonies, Greenhouse, Collingwood, Vic, 1979.

Barrett, Jim, Cox’s River, Discovery, History and Development, Jim Barrett, Glenbrook, 1993.

Barrett, Jim, Place Names of the Blue Mountains and Burragorang Valley from Aboriginal and Convict Origins, Jim Barrett, Glenbrook, 1994.

Barrett, Jim, Yerranderie, Story of a Ghost Town, Jim Barrett, Glenbrook, 1995.

Barrett, Jim, Life in the Burragorang, Jim Barrett, Glenbrook, 1995.

Bates, Harry, Church of St Paul, Cobbitty, Consecrated on 5th April 1842: Moments of 125th Anniversary, St Pauls Church, Cobbitty, 1967.

Beasley, Margo, The Sweat of Their Brows, 100 Years of the Sydney Water Board, 1888-1988, Water Board, Sydney, 1988.

Bell, Gary, Historic Pubs Around Sydney, Ginninderra Press, Charnwood, ACT, 2007.

Bickel, Lennard, Australia’s First Lady, The Story of Elizabeth Macarthur, Allen and Unwin, North Sydney, 1991.

Bicknell, John R, The Dirty Blooody Jizzy, Gordon: John Bicknell, 2003.

Binney, Keith R, Horesmen of the First Frontier (1788-1900) and The Serpents Legacy, Volcanic Publications, Neutral Bay, 2005.

Bodkin, Frances and Lorraine Robertson, Dharawal Seasons and Climatic Cycles, Campbelltown: Bodkin and Robertson, 2006.

Booth, B & T Nunan, Cawdor Uniting Church, Churchyard Headstones Transcriptions and Burial Register, Illawarra Family History Group, Wollongong, 1989.

Booth, Beverly & Ron Clerke, The Churchyard Cemetery of St John’s Camden, Illawarra Family History Group, Wollongong, 1988.

Bridges, Peter, Historic Court Houses of NSW, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1986.  

Broadbent, James, Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta, A History and Guide, Historic Houses Trust, Sydney, 1984.

Brosnan, Graeme, Hard Work Never Killed Anyone, Ern Clinton, The Story of My Life,This is My Story, Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2004.

Brown, Pam & Marion Starr, Narellan Hidden Treasures, Wilson Crescent Richardson Road Area Resident’s Group Inc, Narellan, 2007.

Brunero, Donna, Celebrating 50 Years: The Campbelltown-Camden District Band 1946-1996, Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, Campbelltown, 1996.

Bullen, Paul & Jenny Onyx, Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in New South Wales, Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management, Lindfield, 1997.

Burge, John, A Glimpse of Cawdor, Sesqui-Centenary Committee of Cawdor Uniting Church, Camden, 2000.

Burnett, Brian A, (ed), Camden Pioneer Register, 1800-1900, Camden Area Family History Society, Camden, 1998.

Burnett, Brian and Christine Robinson, (eds), Camden Pioneer Register, 1800-1920,  Camden Area Family History Society, Camden, 2001.

Burnett, Brian, Nixon, Richard and John Wrigley, They Worked At Camden Park, A Listing of The Employees, Leaseholders and Tenant Farmers Known To Have Worked On the Camden Park Estate, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2005.

Burnett, Brian, Nixon, Richard and John Wrigley, Place Names of the Camden Area, Camden Historical Society and Camden Area Family History Society, Camden, 2005.

Bursill, Les, Jacobs, Mary, Lennis, et al, Dharawal, The story of the Dharawal Speaking People of  Southern Sydney, Sydney: Kurranulla Aboriginal Corp, 2007.

Callaghan, Leo, They Sowed We Reap, Catholic Parish of Camden, Camden, 1983.

Camden Area Family History Society, Camden Catholic Cemetery, Cawdor Road, Camden, NSW, Camden Area Family History Society, Camden, 2004.

Camden Area Family History Society, Camden Municipal Council Municipal List Rates Book 1894-1907, Camden Area History Society, Camden, 2005.

Camden Area Family History Society,  Camden General Cemetery, Cawdor Road, Camden, NSW, Camden Area Family History Society, Camden, 2005.

Camden Area Family History Society, St Thomas Anglican Cemetery, Richardson Road, Narellan, NSW, Camden: Camden Area Family History Society, 2010.

Camden Council & Campbelltown City Council, Macarthur Heritage Directory, Camden: Camden Council & Campbelltown City Council, 2008.

Camden High School, Camden High School for our 50th Anniversary, 1956-2006, Camden High School, Camden, 2006.

Camden Municipal Council,  Municipality of Camden, Information and Statistics, Camden Municipal Council, Camden, 1977.

 Camden Park Preservation Committee,  Camden Park, Menangle, Camden Park Preservation Committee, Menangle, 1974.

Camden Park Estate Ltd, Camden Park Estate Pty Ltd, Menangle, Camden Park Estate, Camden, ud.

Camden Park Estate Ltd, Camden Park Estate, 1765-1965, Camden Park Estate, Camden, 1965.

Camden Park Estate Ltd, Camden Park Estate: Australia’s Oldest Pastoral Property, Camden Park Estate, Camden, 1953.

Camden Park Estate Ltd, Camden Vale: Special Pasteurised Milk, Production and Distribution, Camden Park Estate, Camden, 1953.

Carroll, Brian, The Hume: Australian’s Highway of History, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1983.

Charlton, Lenore, (ed), Alan D. Baker, Artist, 1914-1987, G & M Baker, Orangeville, 1987.

Clancy, Eric G, A Giant For Jesus, The Story of Silas Gill, Methodist Lay Evangelist, Eric G Clancy, 1972.   

Clerke, Ron & Beverley Booth, (eds), The Churchyard Cemetery of St John’s Camden, Illawarra Family History Group, Wollongong, 1989.

Cobbitty Public School ‘Child Anzacs Committee’, I Remain the Kid, As Ever, Cobbitty Public School, Cobbitty Public School ‘Child Anzac Committee’, Cobbitty, 2002.

Colman, Patricia Margaret, Just a Simple Soul, PM Colman, Deloraine, Tasmania, 1996.

Cowles, Christopher and David Walker, The Art of Apple Branding, Australian Apple Case Labels and the Industry Since 1788, Apple from Oz, Hobart, 2005.

Cox and Tanner Pty Ltd, Camden Park, Menangle, NSW, A Proposal for Restoration and Rationalisation, Cox & Tanner, North Sydney, 1981.

Country Press Association of New South Wales, Annual Report New South Wales Country Press Association, 1947 .

Davis, Sue, Chapters of Cawdor, An Account of People and Events that shaped 150 Years of Education at Cawdor Public School 1858-2008, Cawdor, Cawdor Public School, 2008.

De Falbe, Jane, My Dear Miss Macarthur, The Recollections of Emmeline Macarthur, 1828-1911, Kangaroo Press, 1988.

Den Hertog, Sonja, The History of Burragorang Valley From the Records, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1990.

Den Hertog, Sonja, Yerranderie, 1871-1995, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1999.

De Vries, Susanna, Strength of Spirit, Pioneering Women of Achievement From First Fleet To Federation, Millennium Books, Alexandria, New South Wales, 1995.

Paths, plots and patches at the Camden Community Garden 2018 (I Willis)

Ditrich, Julie, Realising the Promise: The Story of Harrington Park, Icon Visual Marketing, Camden, 2006.

Duffy, Michael, Man of Honour, John Macarthur, Pan MacMillan, Sydney, 2003.

Dunn, Ian and Robert Merchant, Pansy, The Camden Tram: An Illustrated History of the Campbelltown to Camden Branch Railway, New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Sydney, 1982.

Ellis, MH, John Macarthur, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1955.

Evans, Gordon, 55 Years, A History of Camden Bowling Club, Camden Bowling Club, Camden, 1994.

The Evangelical Sisters of Mary in Australia, Realities –‘Down Under’, Testimonies of God’s Faithfulness, Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, Camden, 2006.

Fairfax, Marlane, Glenmore Uniting Church (Formerly Methodist) Graveyard, Transcript, Burial Records and Obituaries, Marlane Fairfax, Thirlmere, New South Wales, 1995.

Feiss, Mary-Ann, 50 Years of Legacy Torch Bearers in Camden, 1949-1999, Camden Branch of Torch Bearers for Legacy, Camden, 1999.  

Festival of the Golden Fleece, Festival of the Golden Fleece, Camden Souvenir Programme 22-30 October, 1960, Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Wool Production in Australia,     Festival of the Golden Fleece Committee, Camden, 1960.

Fletcher, Chrissy, Arthursleigh, A History of the Property 1819 to 1979, Chrissy Fletcher, Bowral, 2002.

The Friends of Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe Historic House, The Friends  of Wivenhoe, Camden, 2008.

Garland, Jill and John Martin, Historic Churches of New South Wales, AH&AW Reed, Sydney, 1978.

Garren, JC & L White, Merinos, Myths and Macarthurs, Australian Graziers and Their Sheep, 1788-1900, Australian National University Press/Pergamon Press, Rushcutters Bay, NSW, 1985.

Gleeson, Damian John, Carlon’s Town, A History of the Carolan/Carlon Sept and related Irish Pioneer Families in New South Wales, Damian John Gleeson, Concord, 1998. 

Hawkey, Vera, A History of St James, Church of England, Menangle, 1876-1976, V Hawkey, Menangle, New South Wales, 1976.

Hawkey, HR, Menangle School 90th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet, Anniversary Committee, Menangle, 1961.

Hewatt, Les and Robert Johnson, Macarthur Growth Centre, Ruse Publishing, Campbellltown, 1980.

Hepher, Jack and John Drummond, Goulburn to Sydney 1902-1992, 90 Years of a Cycling Classic, Jack and Lil Hepher, Bundanoon, 1993.

Herbert, Ray, Golden Jubilee, Studley Park Camden Golf Club Ltd, 1950-2000, Camden Golf Club Ltd, Camden, 2000.

Howard, Donald, The Hub of Camden, FC Whiteman & Sons, 1941-1942, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2002.

Howard, Donald, Cobbitty’s Finest Hour, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2010.

Hughes, Joy N, (ed), Local Government, Local History: A Guide to NSW Local Government Minute Books and Rate Records, Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, 1990. 

Hulme-Moir, Dorothy, The Silver Cord, ANZEA, Homebush West, 1993.

Jackson, Tony, Shepherd, Cathey, Green, Sharon & Brian Burnett, Camden Pioneer Register, 1800-1920, 3rd Edition, Camden: Camden Area Family History Society,  2008.

Jeans, DN, An Historical Geography of New South Wales to 1901, Reed, Sydney, 1972.

Jervis, James, The Story of Camden, A Modern Farming Community closely allied with the Earliest Australian History: published to Commemorate the Jubilee of the Municipality, Arthur A Gibson, Camden, 1940.

Johnson, Janice, The Cemeteries of the Camden Anglican Parish, Camden: Camden Anglican Parish, 2008.

Johnson, Janice, Private Cecil Herbert Clark, No 2883, Letters Home, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2009.

Johnson, Janice, If Gravestones Could Talk, Stories from the Churchyard of St John’s Camden,  Camden: Janice Johnson, 2010.

Johnson, Janice, John Wrigley, Brian Burnett & Richard Nixon, They Worked at Camden Park, A Listing of the Employees, Leaseholders and Tenant Farmers Known to have Worked on Camden Park Estate, 3rd Edition, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2010.

King, Hazel,  Elizabeth Macarthur and Her World, Sydney University Press, University of Sydney, 1980.

King, Hazel,  Colonial Expatriates, Edward and John Macarthur Junior, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1989.

Kirkpatrick, Rod, Country Conscience, A History of the New South Wales Provincial Press, 1841-1995, Infinite Harvest Publishing, Canberra, 2000.

Koob, Daphne, Pioneers at Rest, The Uniting Church Cemetery Cawdor, Daphne Koob, Camden, 1998.

Knox, Bruce, A History of Local Government in the Wollondilly Shire, 1895 to 1988, Wollondilly Shire Council, Picton, 1988.

Lee, Claude N, A Place to Remember, Burragorang Valley, 1957, New South Wales, 2nd Edition, Claude N Lee, Mittagong, 1971.

Lee, John N, Rotary Club of Camden, Golden Jubilee Anniversary, 50 Years, 1947-1997, Camden Rotary Club, Camden, 1997.

Lhuede, Val, Yerranderie Is My Dreaming, Valued Books, Milsons Point, 2007.

Liston, Carol, Campbelltown, The Bicentennial History, Allen & Unwin, North Sydney, 1988.

Lofthouse, Andrea, Who’s Who of Australian Women, Methuen, North Ryde, New South Wales, 1982.

Lundy, Andrew, Elderslie High School, 25 Years of Achievement, 1976-2001, Elderslie High School, Camden, 2001.

Lyon, Doreen, (ed),  Women’s Voices, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1997.

Lyon, Doreen & Liz Vincent, Created by a Community, A Social History of Camden District Hospital, Camden District Hospital, Camden, 1998.

Lyon, Doreen, From Estonia to Thirlmere, Stories from a Unique Community, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 2005.

Macarthur Onslow, Sibella, Some Early Records of The Macarthurs of Camden , Adelaide, 1973 (1914).

 McGill, Jeff, The Towns, Villages and Suburbs of Macarthur, A Special Magazine to Mark the 200 Years of  the Macarthur Region, Camden Advertiser (Insert April 2006), Camden, 2006.

Mantle, Nanette, Horse and Rider in Australian Legend, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004.

Martin, JB & George V Sidman, The Town of Camden Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Municipality of Camden, Facsimile Edition, Camden Uniting Church, Camden, 1983         (1939).

Mason, Ron and Chris O’Brien,  Belgenny Farm, Camden Park Estate, Dept of Planning, Sydney, 1988.

Mathews, RH,  Some Mythology and Folklore of the Gundungurra Tribe, Den Fenella Press, Wentworth Falls, 2003.

Menangle Public School,  Centenary of the Menangle Public School, Centenary Committee, Menangle, 1971.

Meredith, John, The Last Kooradgie, Moyengully, Chief Man of the Gundungurra People, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1989.

Moloney, JJ, Early Menangle, Australasian Society of Patriots, Newcastle, 1929.  

Moorhead, Arthur, (ed), The Australian Blue Book, Blue Star, Sydney, 1942.

Morris, Sherry and Harold Fife, The Kangaroo March, From Wagga Wagga to the Western Front, Sherry Morris, Wagga Wagga, 2006.

Mount Hunter Public School,  Mount Hunter Public School, 125 Years of Education, 1859-1984, Committee, Mt Hunter, 1984.  

Paramount Movie Theatre, Elizabeth Street, Camden built-in 1933. (Camden Images)

Murray, John, Macarthur Heritage, Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils, Campbelltown, 2000.

Murray, Robert and Kate White, Dharug and Dungaree, The History of Penrith and St Marys to 1860, Hargreen/Council of the City of Penrith, North Melbourne, 1988

Mylrea, Peter, Belgenny Farm, Camden, Belgenny Farm Trust, Camden, 2000.

Mylrea, Peter, Belgenny Farm, 1805-1835, The Early Years of the Macarthurs at Camden, Belgenny Farm Trust and Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2001.

Mylrea, Peter, Belgenny Farm, 1805-1835, The Early Years of the Macarthurs at Camden, 2nd Edition, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2007.

Mylrea, PJ, Camden District, A History to the 1840s, Camden Historical Society, 2002.

Mylrea, Peter and Don Blaxell, Mount Annan Botanic Garden, The Native Plant Garden of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 1998.

 Nepean Family History Society, St Paul’s Church of England, Cobbitty, New South Wales: Cemetery Inscriptions Record      Series No 7, Nepean Family History Society, Emu Plains,      1982.

Nepean Family History Society, St Matthews Church of England,  The Oaks, Glenmore Uniting Church, The Oaks Roman Catholic Cemetery, NSW, Record Series, No 15, Nepean Family History Society, St Marys, 1983.

New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, The Camden Tramway, An Illustrated History of the Campbelltown to Camden Branch Railway, New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Sydney,1967.

Nichols, Alan, Jill Garland and John Martin, Historic Churches of NSW, Reed, Sydney, 1978.

Nixon, RE,  Interesting Bits and Pieces of the History of Camden, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1982.

Nixon, RE, (ed), Camden Show Society Centenary,1886-1986: One Hundred Years On Still a Country Show, The Society, Camden,  1986.

Nixon, RE, Carrington, The Centre of Total Care, 1890-1990, The Carrington Trust, Camden, 1990.

Nixon, RE & PC Hayward, (eds), The Anglican Church of St John  the Evangelist Camden, New South Wales, Anglican Parish of Camden, Camden, 1999.

Norrie, Philip, Vineyards of Sydney, Cradle of the Australian Wine Industry From First Settlement to Today, Horwitz Grahame, Sydney, 1990.

Oakes, John,  Sydney’s Forgotten Rural Railways, Camden, Kurrajong, Rogan’s Hill, Australian Railway Historical Society, Redfern, 2000.

Onyx, Jenny & Paul Bullen, Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in New South Wales, An Analysis, Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management,    University of Technology, Sydney, 1997. 

Organ, Michael, A Documentary History of the Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines, 1770-1850, Aboriginal Education Unit, Wollongong University, Wollongong, 1990.

Pain, Allan, Records of the Parish of Narellan, 1827-1927, Sydney: np, 1927.

Partl, Sabine, Aboriginal Women’s Heritage: Nepean, South Sydney: Dept of Environment and Conservation  NSW, 2007.

Pearce, Owen, Rabbit Hot, Rabbit Cold, Chronicle of a Vanishing Australian Community, Popinjay Publications, Woden, Australian Capital Territory, 1991.

Phelan, Nancy, Some Came Early, Some Came Late, Melbourne, np, 1970.

 Power, Paul, (ed), A Century of Change, One Hundred Years of Local Government in Camden, Macarthur Independent Promotions, Camden, 1989.

Prior, Marjory Beatrice, Cow Pastures, An Uncomplicated Affair, Mike Prior, Gympie, 1999.

Proudfoot, Helen, Colonial Buildings, Macarthur Growth Centre, Campbelltown, Camden, Appin, Macarthur Development Board, Campbelltown, 1977.

Radi, Heather,(ed), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women’s Redress Press, Broadway, New South Wales, 1988.

Radi, Heather, Spearitt, Peter & Hinton, Elizabeth, (eds), Biographical Register of New South Wales Parliament, 1901-1970, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1979.

Reeson, Margaret,  Certain Lives, Open Book, Adelaide, 1999.

 Roberts, Jack L, A History of Methodism in the Cowpastures, 1843-1977, Jack L Roberts, Camden, 1976.

Robinson, Stephen and Christine,  1901 Census Camden NSW, Stephen and Christine Robinson, Camden, 2000.

Rosen, Sue, Losing Ground, An Environmental History of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment, Hale & Ironmonger, Sydney, 1995.

Russell, William, My Recollections, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1991 (1914).  

Sayers, George, Views of Camden and Surrounding Area, Etchings and Drawings by George Sayers, George Sayers, Camden, 1996.

Sayers, George, Views of Camden and Surrounding Area, Etchings and Drawings by George Sayers, 2nd Edition, George Sayers, Camden, 2001.

Seibright, Les, Werriberri, King of the Burragorang, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1987.

Sharpe, Betty, The Messenger, A Book of Verse, Betty  Sharpe, Camden, 1973.

Sharpe, Betty, So We’re Ill! Don’t Lose Heart, Betty Sharpe, Camden, 1987.

A milepost at the southern end of Camden town on the Old Hume Highway – Camden 38 Miles from Mittagong and 1 Mile from Camden (I Willis 2021)

Sharpe, Betty, ‘Half a Year’, Through the Eyes of a Country Woman, Betty Sharpe, Camden, 1984.

Sharpe, Betty, The Year Ambles On, Betty Sharpe, Camden, 1985. 

Sidman, GV, The Town of Camden, A Facsimile with Index Compiled by Liz Vincent, Liz Vincent, Picton, 1995 (1939).

Simpson, Caroline, (ed), William Hardy Wilson, A 20th Century Colonial, 1881-1955, National Trust of Australia (New South Wales), Sydney, 1980.

Smith, Diane, The History of ‘Gledswood’, Diane Smith, Camden, 2004.

Smith, Malvin J, 50th Anniversary: Nattai-Bulli Colliery, MJ Smith, Camden, 1982.

Smith, Jim, Aborigines of the Burragorang Valley, 1830-1960, Jim Smith, Wentworth Falls, 1991.

Smith, Jim, The Last of the Cox’s River Men, Ben Esgate, 1914-2003, Den Fenella Press, Wentworth Falls, 2006.

Sommerlad, E Lloyd, Serving the Country Press, Country Press Association of New South Wales 1900-2000, The Country Press Association of New South Wale,  Sydney, 2000.

Sproule, Colin, Timbermen of the Wollondilly 1821-1991, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1993.

Sproule, Colin (ed), Of Mines and Men, The Stories of the Miners of the Wollondilly Mines, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1995.

St Aloysius Catholic Church, Church of St Aloysius, The Oaks, Centenary Celebrations, The Oaks Catholic Centenary Committee, The Oaks, 1965.

St Andrews Presbyterian Church, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Camden, 130th Anniversary, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Camden, 1979.

St James Church of England, A History of St James Church of England, Menangle, 1876-1976, St James Church of England, Menangle, New South Wales, 1976.

St John’s Church of England, The Church of St John, 135th Anniversary, St John’s Church of England, Camden, 1975.

St Paul’s Catholic Church, Along the Way: St Paul’s Catholic Church, Camden, 1859-1987, St Paul’s Catholic Church, Camden, 1987.

Strecker, Marlene, Wivenhoe, The Friends of Wivenhoe, Camden, 2004.

Stuckey, Frank, Our Daily Bread: The Story of Stuckey Bros Bakers and Pastrycooks of Camden, NSW, 1912-1960, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1987.

Tench, Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years: Being a Reprint of A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and , A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson; with an Introduction and Annotations by LF Fitzhardinge, Library of Australian History/ Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, 1979 (RAHS/A&R, 1961)

Tildesley, EM, A History of the Queen’s Club, Halstead Press, Sydney, 1970.

Thompson, Christopher, Camden Park, Menangle, New South Wales, Camden Park Preservation Committee & State Library of New South Wales, Camden, 1993.

Todd, Jan,  Milk for the Metropolis, A Century of Co-operative Milk Supply in New South Wales, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1994.

Townsend, Helen, Serving the Country, The History of the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales, Doubleday, Sydney, 1988.

Turner, Greg and Denis Gregory,  Camden Park, Birthplace of Australia’s Agriculture, NSW Agriculture, Orange, 1992.

Valentine, James, Then and Now: Historic Roads Around Sydney, Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1937.

Vernon, Stella, The Fitzpatrick and Sedgwick Families of Campbelltown, Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, Campbelltown, 1992.

Vincent, Liz, Tales of Old Camden, Liz Vincent, Picton, 2001.

Waldersee, James, Catholic Society in New South Wales, 1788-1860, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1974. 

Walker, George, Memories of Whiteman’s, Christine Davies, Camden, 2007.

Ward, John Manning, James Macarthur, Colonial Conservative, 1798-1867, Sydney University Press, University of Sydney, 1981.

Watson, AL, Camden Aero Club, A History, Camden Aero Club, Camden, 1992.

Watson, Peter,  Life and Times of Walter Neville (Peter) Watson, Peter Watson, Camden, 2005.

Weir, Nell R, From Timberland to Smiling Fields, A History of Orangeville and Werombi, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1998.

Welsh, Ian Frederick, Valley of Wealth, A Burragorang Coal Story, Ian Frederick Welsh, Thirlmere, 2005.

West, Janet, Daughters of Freedom, A History of the Women in the Australian Church, Albatross Books, Sutherland, New South Wales, 1997.

West, Janet, Gilbulla, 1899-1999, Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney, Sydney, 2000.

Whitby, Kath & Eric G Clancy, (eds), Great the Heritage, The Story of Methodism in NSW, 1812-1975, Methodist Church of Australia, Sydney, 1975.

White, Sally, A Patchwork Heritage, Thirteen Australian Families, Collins Dove, Melbourne, 1986.

Willis, Ian, The McAleer Story, A History of a Camden Family, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2009.

Wilson, William Hardy, The Cow Pasture Road, Art in Australia, Sydney, 1920.

Wollinski, Werner, Escape to a Future, From Germany to Camden, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2000.

Woods, Doris,  A Short History of The Oaks, 3rd Edition, The Oaks Historical Society, The Oaks, 1982.

Wright, Don & Eric Clancy, The Methodists, A History of Methodism in New South Wales, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1993.

Wrigley, JD, A History of Camden, New South Wales, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1980.

Wrigley, John, A History of Camden, New South Wales, 2nd Edn, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2001.

Wrigley, John, A History of Camden, New South Wales, 3rd Edition, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2008.

Wrigley, JD, (ed), Historic Buildings of Camden, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1983.

Wrigley, JD, (ed), Pioneers of Camden: including Derivations of Street Names, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1988.

Wrigley, JD, (ed), Camden Characters, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1990.

Wrigley, JD & Nixon, RE, They Worked At Camden Park, A Listing of the Employees, Leaseholders and Tenant Farmers Known To      Have Worked On Camden Park Estate, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1993.

Wrigley, John, The Best of Back Then, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2007.

Al-Natour, Ryan, ‘” The Mouse That Dared to Roar”, Youth and the Camden Controversy’, Youth Studies Australia, Vol 29, No 2, 2010, pp. 42-50.

The Camden-Campbelltown Railway with the locomotive affectionately called Pansy approaching the Camden township from Elderslie 1910s (Camden Images)

Articles

Akers, Jennifer, ‘Cawdor’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/cobbitty.

Akers, Jennifer, ‘Mount Hunter’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/mount_hunter

Akers, Jennifer, ‘Smeaton Grange’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/smeaton_grange

Andrews, Alan E J,  ‘Mount Hunter and beyond: with Hunter, Bass, Tench, Wilson, Barrallier, Caley and Macquarie 1790 to 1815’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 76, pt 1 (June 1990).

Andrews, Alan E J,  ‘Barrallier and Caley: the evidence of their Burragorang maps 1802-1806’, Journal of the Royal Historical Society, Vol 82, pt 1 (June 1996).

Atkinson, Alan,  ‘James Macarthur as author’,  Journal of Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 67, pt 3 (December 1981).

Broadbent, James, ‘“Where purple flags and oxalis bloom” , The Significance of the Cow Pasture Garden’, in From Wilderness to Garden, Early Colonial Gardens, Their Future, 16th Annual National Conference, 1995,  Australian Garden History Society, Melbourne, 1995, pp. 22-25.

Campbell, JF, ‘Wild Cattle of the Cowpastures, and the Village of Cawdor’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 14, pt. 1, (1928).

Campton, Phil, ‘P Fuchs – P Fox and Son, Cordial Manufacturers, Camden’, Newsletter of the Macarthur Historic Bottle and Collectors Club, May 1990 [CHS].

Conigrave, C Price, ‘Mrs Faithfull Anderson – obituary’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 34, pt 4 (1948).

Curtis, P, ‘The Camden Circuit’, Journal and Proceedings, Australasian Methodist Historical Society, May 1957, Vol. 72, Issue 72, pp. 969-973.

Eldershaw, Rosalind, ‘Gardening with History at Camden Park’, in From Wilderness to Garden, Early Colonial Gardens, Their Future, 16th Annual National Conference, 1995,  Australian Garden History Society, Melbourne, 1995, pp. 33-35.

Hassall, R, ‘Bishop Reginald Heber’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, May 1957, Vol. 2, Issue 2, pp. 22-23.

Herbert, Raymond, ‘Studley Park’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/studley_park

Hetherington, Les, ‘The Kangaroos march: Wagga Wagga to Sydney,           December 1915-January 1916’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, 26, April 1995, pp. 19-25.

Jervis, James,  ‘Settlement in the Picton and The Oaks district’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 27, pt 4 (1941).

Jervis, James, ‘The Discovery and Settlement of Burragorang Valley’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 20, pt. 3, (1934).

Jervis, James, ‘Camden and Cowpastures’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol.21, pt. 4, (1935).

Jervis, James, ‘Settlement at Narellan – with notes on the pioneers’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol.22, pt.5, (1936).

Lehany, Michael, ‘The Conservation Analysis of Camden Park, The Gardens and Grounds’, in From Wilderness to Garden, Early Colonial Gardens, Their Future, 16th Annual National Conference, 1995,  Australian Garden History Society, Melbourne, 1995, pp. 26-32.

Little, V., ‘Centenary of Cawdor Church’, Journal and Proceedings Australasian Methodist Historical Society, July 1950, Vol. 59, Issue 59, pp. 819-820.

Liston, Carol, ‘The Dharawal and Gandangara in Colonial Campbelltown, New South Wales, 1788-1830’, Aboriginal History, Vol. 12, No. 1-2, 1988, pp. 49-62.

This is a sketch of the 1826 Cowpasture Bridge attributed to Thomas Wore of Harrington Grove in 1842. The newly finished St John’s Church is on the hill with Mr Thompson’s woollen mill on the RHS of image. (Camden Images)

Mackaness, G , ‘Kirkham Estate: an account by John Oxley’s grandson, 1922’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 49, pt 4 (December 1963).

Mills, Colin, ‘The Case of the Missing Notebook’, Australian Garden History, Vol. 18, No. 1, July/August 2006, pp4-7. 

Mitchell, R. Else, ‘The Wild Cattle of the Cowpastures’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 25, pt. 2. (1939).

Norrie, Harold, ‘John Macarthur’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 15, pt. 4, (1929).

Pacchiarotta, Samantha, ‘Currans Hill’, Dictionary of Sydney (2010).  Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/currans_hill

Perry, TM, ‘The Spread of Rural Settlement in NSW, 1788-1826’, Historical Studies, May 1955, Vol. 6, Issue 24, pp. 377-395.

Pettigrew, J., ‘The Oaks Parish via Camden’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, September 1974, Vol. 19, Issue 3, pp. 67-70.

Robbins, SR., ‘On the Trail of the Wild Cattle. Camden Methodism’, Journal and Proceedings of the Australasian Methodist Historical Society, 1923, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 24-32.

Robbins, SR., ‘On the Trail of the Wild Cattle’, Journal and Proceedings Australasian Methodist Historical Society,  June 1933, Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 25-34.

Robinson, Christine, ‘Cobbitty’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/cobbitty.

Robinson, Steve, ‘Bickley Vale’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/bickley_vale.

Robinson, Steve, ‘Camden West’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/camden_west.

Robinson, Steve, ‘Ellis Lane’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at  http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/ellis_lane

Robinson, Steve, ‘Grasmere’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/grasmere.

‘St John’s Church, Camden’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, June 1962, Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 263-264.

‘St Marks Church Elderslie’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, March 1967, Vol. 12, Issue 1, p. 28.

‘St Pauls Cobbitty’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, April 1956, Vol. 1, Issue 2, p. 27.

Thompson, Jack and John Perkins, ‘The Wild Cowpastures revisited’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 77, pt 4 (April 1992).

Wallace, Ian, ‘Campbelltown to Camden’, in Byways of Steam 9,On the Railways of New South Wales, (eds) Ian Dunn  and Ray Love, Eveleigh Press, Matraville, 1995.

Watson, JH, ‘Heber Chapel, Cobbity’,  Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 14, pt.6, (1928).

Weatherburn, A K, ‘The exploration and surveys of James Meehan between the Cowpastures, Wingecarribee River, Goulburn Plains, Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay 1805, 1818 and 1819’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society,   Vol 64, pt 3 (December 1978).

Willis, IC, ‘Active Citizens and Loyal Patriots: The Role of the Two Local Newspapers on the Australian Homefront, 1939-1945’, Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Bulletin, 24, 1, 2000, pp. 81-92.

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’s Salvage Campaign, 1939-1945’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, No. 38, April 2003. Online. http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j38/index.htm [Accessed 5 August 2004]

Willis, Ian, ‘Wartime Volunteering in Camden’,  History Australia, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, Vol. 2, No. 1, December  2004. DOI: 10:2104/HA40009. Online. http://publications.epress.monash.edu/doi/abs/10.2104/ha040009 [Accessed July 2007]

Willis, Ian, ‘The Member for Camden: Dr Elizabeth Kernohan’, AQ Journal of Contemporary       Analysis, Vol. 77, Issue 1, Jan-Feb 2005, pp.21-25.

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden At War’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 1, January- February 2006, pp. 23-28.

Willis, Ian, ‘The Gentry and the Village, Camden, NSW, 1800-1939’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 4, July-August 2006, pp.19-24.

Willis, Ian, ‘Democracy in Action in Local Government: Camden, NSW’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 79, Issue 2, March-April 2007, pp17-26.

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden, The Best Preserved Country Town on the Cumberland Plain’, HeritageTourism, 2007. Online at http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/camden-the-best-preserved-country-town-on-the-cumberland-plain-nsw/ .

Willis, Ian, ‘Fifty Years of Local History, The Camden Historical Society, 1957-2007’, An Address to the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Camden Historical Society, 12 July 2007,  AQ Australian Quarterly, November- December  2007, pp. 11-16.

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’, Sydney Journal, 1(1) March 2008. Online. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/sydney_journal

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’, AQ Australian Quarterly, May-June 2008, pp. 15-18.

Willis, Ian, ‘A Night Out – Memories of the Gayline Drive-In Movie Theatre’, Phanfare, No. 229: March-April 2008, pp. 18-19. Online  http://www.phansw.org.au/restrict/PhanfareMarApril2008.pdf

Willis, Ian, ‘Lost Interwar Motoring Heritage’, AQ Australian Quarterly, July-August 2008, pp. 12-15.

Willis, Ian, ‘Democracy in Place: Parochial Politics and the 2008 Local Government Elections’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol 80, Issue 6, November-December 2008, pp. 4-9.

Willis, Ian, ‘Stories and Things: The role of the local historical society, Campbelltown, Camden and The Oaks’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 95, Pt. 1, June 2009, pp.18-37.

Willis, Ian, ‘Camden: The Interwar Heritage of a Country Town’, Spirit of Progress¸Vol. 10, No. 3, 2009, pp. 13-15.

Willis, Ian, ‘Whither Heritage, The Experience of the Outdoor Movie Theatre’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 81, Issue 6, Nov- Dec 2009, pp.35-39.

Willis, Ian ‘Camden’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/camden.

Willis, Ian, ‘Elderslie’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008).  Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/elderslie

Willis, Ian, ‘Mount Annan’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/mount_annan

Willis, Ian, ‘Narellan’, Dictionary of Sydney  (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan

Willis, Ian, ‘Narellan Vale’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan_vale

Willis, Ian, ‘Heritage: a dismal state of affairs’, Sydney Morning Herald Online, 16 April 2010. Online at http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/heritage-a-dismal-state-of-affairs-20100416-sjiy.html .

Willis, Ian, ‘The Glory of steam, Pansy, the Camden tram’,  Heritage Tourism, Online, 9 August 2010.  Online at  http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/the-glory-of-steam-pansy-the-camden-tram/

The Clark Chemist on the LHS of the image located in the Whitemans building in the late 1930s at 90 Argyle Street Camden (Camden Images)

Theses and other studies

Winney, I and R Fookes, ‘Goodbye Camden Tram’, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, April 1963, Vol. 14, Issue 306, pp. 53-60.

Brown, JW and GJ Bush, ‘The History  and Development of the Burragorang Valley, Referring Particularly to Coal Mining’, Address to Camden Historical Society, Camden, March 1973.

Department of Social Studies, University of Sydney, Camden, A Social Survey, Camden Rotary Club/Camden Community Centre Committee, Camden, 1948.

De Ferranti, LZ, The Legacy of Camden Park. B.Arch. Thesis, University of Sydney, 1979.

Dodds, Sandra, Survey of Camden Sculptures and Monuments, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1999.

Dodds, Sandra, Representations of History in Museums,  MA(Museum Studies) Thesis, University of Sydney, 2004.

Don Fox Planning, Camden Structure Plan Report (Draft), Camden Council, Camden, 1999.

Environment, Planning and Building Services Division, Draft Camden Rural Lands Study, Council of Camden, Camden, 1998.

Gwyther, Gabrielle, Paradise Planned, Community Formation and the Master Planned Estate, PhD, University of Western Sydney, 2004. Online. http://library.uws.edu.au/adt-NUWS/public/adt-NUWS20051214.111331/index.html.

Jack, LE, History of Education in Camden and District, A Study of the Origins and Development of Primary Education to 1880 and Selected Aspects of Later Growth of Primary, Secondary and Adult Education, M.Ed. Thesis, University of Sydney, 1966.

JRC Planning Services, Environmental Heritage, Macarthur Regional Environmental Study, Working Paper 3, Department of Environment and Planning, Sydney, 1986.

Landarc, Draft Significant Tree and Vegetated Landscape Study, Camden Municipal Council, Camden, 1993.

Mason, Milton Lewis, Carinya, The Social-Class System of an Australian Community. PhD Thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1960.

Mitchell McCotter Willing, Camden Area Flood Prone Land Study, 2nd Edition, Mine Subsidence Board, Sydney, 1993.

Proudfoot, Helen, Campbelltown, Camden, Appin, Survey and Report on Nineteenth Century Buildings and Sites, Volume IV, Section Four: Hume Highway to Camden, Bringelly, Cobbitty, Section Five: Narellan, Elderslie, Camden, State Planning Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1973.

Rosen, Sue, Hawkesbury-Nepean Historic Environmental Changes Study,  Water Resources Program Hawkesbury-Nepean Strategy, Water Board, Sydney, 1992.

Sankey, Robyn, Camden and the Coal Industry: A Study of the Development of the Coal Industry in the Burragorang Valley and its Impact on Camden and the District in the Post-War Period, MA Thesis, University of Sydney, 1984.

State Planning Authority of New South Wales, The New Cities of Campbelltown, Camden, Appin, State Planning Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1973.

Stubbs, Judith, Camden New City, A Community Profile, Camden Municipal Council, 1985.

Tropman and Tropman, Draft Heritage Report, Camden Council, Camden, 2004.

Watson, Clare, Conservation of Public Access to and Interpretation of Belgenny Farm, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden, New South Wales, Report, New South Wales Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, 1991.

Wrigley, Camden Interim Heritage Study, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1985.

Willis, Ian, War and Community: The Red Cross in Camden, 1939-1945, MA(Hons) Thesis, University of Wollongong, 1996. 

Willis, Ian, The Women’s Voluntary Services, A Study of War and Volunteering in Camden, 1939-1945, PhD Thesis, University of Wollongong, 2004. Online. www.library.uow.edu.au/adt-NWU/public/adt-NWU20041025.152142/index.html [Accessed July 2007]

A view of John Street Camden from the steeple of St Johns Church on top of the hill in the town centre in 1937 (Camden Images)

Audio-Visual

A Pictorial History of Camden and the Camden District, DVD, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2006.

A Valley Lost – Leaving the Burragorang, Radio Programme, ABC Radio National, Broadcast 26 November 2006. Podcast  online at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2006/1790948.htm

A Valley Lost – Building Warragamba, Radio Programme, ABC Radio National, Broadcast 3 December 2006. Podcast online at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2006/1792399.htm

Camden Headstone 1800-2006, CD, Camden Area Family History Society, 2007.

Camden Images, Online Photographic Database, Camden Historical Society & Camden Council Library Services, 2010. Online at http://www.library.camden.nsw.gov.au/camdenimages/scripts/home.asp

Camden Line, DVD, Rowlingstock Productions, Parramatta, 1989.

Camden Slide Show, DVD, Camden Photo Centre, Camden. 2007

Camden Slide Show 2nd Edition, DVD, Camden Photo Centre, 2009.

Dangerous Ground, TV programme, Four Corners, ABCTV, Broadcast 10 March 2008. Vodcast online at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2181743.htm. Programme transcript online at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2185494.htm

Harrington Park, Make It Yours, DVD, Harrington Park Realty, Harrington Park, 2006.

Macarthur, DVD, Editricks/Camden Council/Campbelltown  City Council, Campbelltown, 2007.

Macarthur, DVD, Camden Council/Campbelltown City Council/Overland TV, Camden, 2010.

Make It in Macarthur, DVD, MACROC, Campbelltown, 2006.

Oran Park Raceway, 46 Fabulous Years, DVD, Chevron, Sydney, 2008.

‘Still My Country Home’, Song, Jessie Fairweather, Camden , 2007.  Backing track for Camden Slide Show.

‘The Camden Train’, Song,  Buddy Williams, Camden, 1963.

The Coal Carters, DVD, Garry and Anita Martin, Oakdale, 2005.

The Spirit of Macarthur, DVD, Editricks/Campbelltown City Council/Ron Moore, Campbelltown, 2006.

Valley of Wealth, A Burragorang Coal Pictorial, DVD, Anita Martin, Oakdale, 2005.

Camden Park House and Garden in 1906 is the home of the Macarthur family. It is still occupied by the Macarthur family and is open for inspection in Spring every year. (Camden Images)

Compiled 2010

1920s · 20th century · Adaptive Re-use · Architecture · Attachment to place · Burra Charter · Camden · Camden Council · Camden Historical Society · Camden Story · Camden Town Centre · Colonial Camden · Community identity · Cultural Heritage · Education · Heritage · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · History of a house · House history · Housing · Lifestyle · Living History · Local History · Local Studies · Macarthur · Mid-century modernism · Modernism · Place making · Sense of place · Storytelling · Town planning · Urban Planning · Urbanism

Camden’s heritage inventory

Camden heritage mysteries solved

In 2015 I posted an item called ‘Camden’s mysterious heritage list’. In it I complained about the travails of trying to navigate Camden Council’s website to find the Camden heritage inventory. I wrote:

Recently I needed to consult Camden’s heritage inventory list for a research project. I also consulted similar lists for Campbelltown and Wollondilly LGAs. They were easy to find. Camden’s list was mysteriously hiding somewhere. It had to exist. The council is obliged to put one together by the state government. But where was it? Do you know where Camden Council’s heritage inventory is to be found? I did not know. So off I went on a treasure hunt. The treasure was the heritage list.

I am very happy to report that many things have changed since 2015.

Camden Council Heritage Advisory Committee

Today Camden Council has a Heritage Advisory Committee which has taken a lead in promoting heritage in a number of areas.

The committee held its first meeting in August 2018 and the minutes of all meetings are located on the committee website.

Committee member LJ Aulsebrook has written about the activities and role of the committee in Camden History, the journal of the Camden Historical Society.

The Camden Historical Society has an ex-officio position on the Heritage Advisory Committee and the president is the nominee of the society.

One of the outstanding activities of the committee was the 2019 Unlock Camden held during History Week run by the History Council of New South Wales. The Camden event was co-ordinated by LJ Aulesbrook.

Cover of 2019 Unlock Camden Flyer for the event (Camden Council)

The aim of the Heritage Advisory Committee are outlined in the Terms of Reference. The ToR states that the HAC aims :

To promote heritage and community education by:
a) Generating a wider appreciation of heritage through public displays,
seminars, participation in the annual National Trust Heritage festival &
history week;
b) Promoting and coordination of heritage open days;
c) Generating a greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal
heritage in Camden Local Government Area;
d) Actively encouraging conservation and maintenance of heritage items
and heritage conservation areas to owners and the general public;
e) Investigating grant opportunities;
f) Investigating opportunities for Council run awards/recognition in
response to good heritage work;
g) Developing a register of local heritage professionals and tradespeople;
and
h) Assisting in developing education packages for information, school
education, and best heritage practices.

https://www.camden.nsw.gov.au/assets/pdfs/Planning/Heritage-Advisory-Committee/18-181181-ADOPTED-Heritage-Advisory-Committee-Terms-of-Reference.pdf

What is Camden heritage?

Camden Council defines heritage as

Heritage is something that we have inherited from the past. It informs us of our history as well as giving us a sense of cultural value and identity. Heritage places are those that we wish to treasure and pass on to future generations so that they too can understand the value and significance of past generations.

Heritage makes up an important part of the character of the Camden Local Government Area (LGA). Camden’s heritage comprises of a diverse range of items, places, and precincts of heritage significance. Items, places or precincts may include public buildings, private houses, housing estates, archaeological sites, industrial complexes, bridges, roads, churches, schools, parks and gardens, trees, memorials, lookouts, and natural areas. Heritage significance includes all the values that make that item, place or precinct special to past, present and future generation.

https://www.camden.nsw.gov.au/planning/heritage-conservation/

Camden Heritage Inventory

The Camden Heritage Inventory is found on an easily accessible file on the Camden Council webpage here.

The cover of the Camden Heritage Inventory PowerPoint file (2020)

There are links within the PPT to the New South Wales State Heritage Register, the NSW Department of Planning Portal and NSW primary spatial data.

The State Heritage Register has a complete listing of local items and those of state significance on the State Heritage Register.

List of 15 Camden properties of state significance on the New South Wales State Heritage Register in 2021 (NSW Government)

In addition Camden Council has set out for general environmental heritage conditions on its website here.

Camden Council has recently offered advice on for owners who want to restore their residential properties along heritage lines. The advice covers materials, colours, and finishes for Victorian, Edwardian and Mid-century residential architectural styles in the Camden Town Conservation area.

Camden Council heritage advice fact sheet for residential properties in Camden Town Centre Conservation Area. (2020, Camden Council)

The Camden Town Centre conservation area was proclaimed by the state government in 2008 and is subject to a range of development conditions.

This is a map for the Camden Town Centre Conservation Area that was proclaimed by the New South Wales government in 2008 (Camden Council)
Aesthetics · Art · Attachment to place · Belonging · Cultural Heritage · Education · Family history · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · Landscape · Landscape aesthetics · Legends · Living History · Local History · Local Studies · Memory · Myths · Place making · Sense of place · Stereotypes · Storytelling · Streetscapes · Tourism · Uncategorized

Take a stroll through the past

Take a stroll down any street in Australia and raise your eyes and the past will reveal itself before your very eyes.

You are wandering through living history. The past is all around you. Street names, street layout, the width of the street, the location of buildings and more.

An aerial view of Camden township in 1940 taken by a plane that took off at Camden airfield. St John’s Church is at the centre of the image (Camden Images)

The landscape of our cities and towns, and the countryside all owe their origins to the past.

The landscape will speak to you, but you must be prepared to listen.

Take time to let the landscape reveal itself. Just stand and soak up the past around you.

Cannot see it? Cannot feel it?

You need to look beyond the surface.

Like a painting will tell a story if you peel back the layers, so the landscape will do the same.

The opening of the Mount Hunter Soldier’s War Memorial opposite the public school took place on Saturday 24 September 1921. The official unveiling ceremony was carried out by Brigadier-General GM Macarthur Onslow. Afternoon tea was provided by ‘the ladies’ at 1/- with all money going to the memorial fund. (Camden News, 15 September 1921, 22 September 1921. Image Roy Dowle Collection)

The landscape will speak to you. It will reveal itself. 

Ask a question. Seek the answer.

The position of the tree. The type of street trees. Their size and species.

The bend in the road. The width of the street. The location of the street.

The position of the house. The colour of the house. The building materials.

Why is the street where it is? Why does it have that name?

Who walked along the street before you. Who grew up in the street? What were their childhood memories?

Ghosts of the past.

Some would say spirits of the past.

An information sign at the beginning of the walkway explain the interesting aspects of the life of Miss Llewella Davies. Camden Town Farm Miss Llewella Davies Pioneers Walkway (2020 IW)

The past will speak to you if you let it in.

What was it like before there was a street?

The street is constantly changing. There are different people all the time. What clothes did people wear in the 1890s, 1920s, 1930s?

You walk along the street and into a shop. When was it built? Who owned it? What did it sell? How was it set up?

Stand at the entrance door – unchanged in 50 years – image what it was like in the past.

Just like a movie flashback.

Who moved through the landscape 1000 years ago? What was there?

Let you imagination run wild.

The walkway has a number of historic sites and relics from the Davies farm. Here are the Shoesmith Cattle yards.. Camden Town Farm Miss Llewella Davies Pioneers Walkway (2020 IW)

Let the past wash over you. The past is all around you. Let it speak to you.

The brick wall that has been there for 100 years. Who built it? Where did they live? What did they eat? What else did they build? What was the weather? Was it a sunny day like today?

Walk around the corner and you come to a monumental wall at the entry to a town. Who put it there? What does it mean?

The past is hiding in plain sight. It is in front of us all the time.

Sometimes the past is lodged in our memories and sometimes it is locked up in a photograph.

Sometimes the memories flood back as a special event or family gathering or a casual conversation.

The past is layered. It was not static. It was constantly changing.

Camden Cowpastures Bridge 1842 Thomas Woore R.N. of Harrington Park CIPP

The past is not dead. It is alive and well all around us. You just need to take it in and ‘smell the roses’.

The stories of the past are like a gate into another world. Let your imagination run wild. Like a movie flash back – like a photograph from 100 years ago – or a greying newspaper under the lino  or stuffed in a wall cavity.

Like revealing layers of paint on a wall. They are layers of the past. Layers of history. Each layer has a story to tell. A past to reveal. Someone put the paint on the wall. Who were they? What did they do? Where did they go?

The Layers of history are like a mask. You want to take off the mask to reveal the face. You want the real person to reveal themselves. Sometimes the mask stays on.

The mask hides a mystery. What is it? What does it tell us? The mast of the past will reveal all eventually, maybe, sometime?

A couple relaxing on the Mount Pleasant Colliery railway at Stuart Park, North Wollongong in the early 1900’s (Royal Australian Historical Society) (Lost Wollongong Facebook page 3 July 2016) The Royal Australian Historical Society caption says: ‘Photographer Aileen Ryan Lynch taking a photograph of M. Carey at Stuart Park Wollongong 1919’ (J Scott)

Sometimes other words are used to express the layers of history – progress – hope – nostalgia – loss – change – continuity.

The past has brought us to the present. The past is embedded in the present.

Take a moment. Think about what is around you. Take in the past in front of you. Hiding in plain sight.

The past is all around us and has created the present. The present would not exist without the past. We need to understand the past to understand the present.

The past is all around us and has created the present. The present would not exist without the past. We need to understand the past to understand the present.

A glass plate negative from the Roy Dowle Collection at The Oaks Historical Society. (TOHS)
Attachment to place · Australia · Belonging · Community identity · Cultural Heritage · Cultural icon · Families · Family history · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · Holidays · Landscape · Landscape aesthetics · Leisure · Lifestyle · Living History · Local History · Local Studies · Macarthur · Memory · Picton · Place making · Ruralism · Sense of place · Storytelling · Sydney · Thirlmere Lakes

Reflections on the Thirlmere Lakes Science Information Day

Thirlmere Lakes Research project

I recently attended a seminar day at Picton showcasing the latest Thirlmere Lakes Research presented at The Thirlmere Lakes Third Annual Science Day held at the Picton Bowling Club.

 

Thirlmere Lakes Science Day presentation 2020Feb28 lowres
Thirlmere Lakes Science Day introduction to delegates on 28 February 2020 at Picton Bowling Club, Picton. (I Willis)

 

There was a positive tone to the day where stakeholders were supportive of the goals of the research project.  The Thirlmere Lakes Research Program aims to shed light on changes in water levels in the lakes by better understanding the land and groundwater of the system.

This was the third day in a series of seminars and was attended by a range of stakeholders including the community, researchers, and state and local government.

A team of scientists from a variety of research institutions presented a variety of papers ranging across lake geology, geophysics, sedimentation, groundwater, surface flow, chemistry, water balance, and vegetation.

Thirlmere Lakes Science Day presentation2 2020Feb28 lowres
Thirlmere Lakes Science Day Presentation on 28 February 2020 at Picton Bowling Club, Picton (I Willis)

 

The day was an opportunity for academic researchers to collaborate with each other and stimulate further research.  Researchers were drawn from University of New South Wales (UNSW), GeoQuEST Research Centre, the University of Wollongong (UOW), the Australian Government and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Deakin University and the NSW Department Primary Industry and Environment and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services.

The research project was initiated by community activism started with the Rivers SOS group in 2010 and local concern about mining in the lakes area. Rivers SOS is an alliance of over 40 environmental and community groups concerned with the wrecking of rivers in New South Wales by mining operations.

The science day was very instructive from several perspectives including networking opportunities. Researchers tend to work in silos and conduct their work in isolation from other disciplines. The science day was an opportunity for researchers to interact with each other and generate new ideas from their work.

Thirlmere Lakes Science Day presentation3 Thanks you 2019Feb28 lowres
Thirlmere Lakes Science Day Presentation and thank you comments from researchers at Picton Bowling Club, Picton (I Willis)

 

There was a positive tone around the day where stakeholders were supportive of the goals of the research project. In the past, there are often tensions between stakeholders based on cynicism and lack of trust. There has been a mixed history of community consultations and engagement over policy decisions. In the past city-based decision-makers have shown little regard for the views of small communities. Their concerns have often been ignored.

The science days appear to have generated a significant level of trust between the community and the research team. There has been an open and transparent approach to the research project. Generally, science researchers do not like to present preliminary findings as they may differ significantly from the final results. This can prove problematic. The general community may not be fully aware of this process and can become suspicious and trust falls away.

The science day encouraged community engagement with positive comments from delegates, researchers and seminar day organisers.  Before the commencement of the project, there was a high level of community cynicism about government responses to community concerns about the disappearance of the water in the lakes. The research project seems to have ameliorated many community concerns and lessened community cynicism towards decision-makers and the research process.

The second science day was held in June 2018 with five presentations showcasing preliminary findings from research partners. Feedback indicated that there was a strong interest in the early findings and the need for further community engagement – hence the 2020 day.

Thirlmere Lakes Science Day Aerial View 27Feb2020 2020Feb28 lowres
An aerial view of Thirlmere Lakes National Park 27 February 2020 after the recent rain event in February. This was part of a presentation during a break at the Thirlmere Lakes Science Day on 28 February 2020 at Picton Bowling Club Picton. (I Willis)

 

Announcement of Thirlmere Lakes Research project by the state government

In 2017 the Macarthur press announced the launch of the current Thirlmere Lakes Research project. The South West Voice reported

The research partners, University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Wollongong (UOW) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), will investigate the sensitivity of these wetland systems to external influences, such as the effects of mining activity and groundwater extraction, over the next four years. (South West Voice 20 October 2017)

Thirlmere Lakes Diarama Science Day 2020Feb28 Lowres
A diorama that was displayed at Thirlmere Lakes Science Day at Picton Bowling Club Picton on 28 February 2020 (I Willis)

 

The press reports detailed that the 2017 project was built on a 2014 monitoring program that has been continuously recording water levels in the 5 lakes.

The Voice stated that the areas of investigation for the 2017 project included

  • Geological mapping and geophysical surveys of the Thirlmere Lakes area (UNSW – Dr Wendy Timms);

  • Environmental isotopes investigations into periodic and recent water losses from Thirlmere Lakes (ANSTO – Dr Dioni Cendón);

  • Thirlmere Lakes: the geomorphology, sub-surface characteristics and long term perspectives on lake-filling and drying (UOW – Dr Tim Cohen);

  • Surface Water – Groundwater Interaction (UNSW – Dr Martin Andersen);

  • Developing an integrated water balance budget for Thirlmere Lakes to provide a detailed understanding of hydrological dynamics (UNSW – Associate Professor Will Glamore). (South West Voice 20 October 2017)

 

The Thirlmere Lakes Research website stated that the state government provided a significant budget for the 2017 project:

The former Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) committed $1.9 million over 4 years for the Thirlmere Lakes Research Program to help understand the fluctuating water levels in the lakes.

The 2012 inquiry and more

The website states that research on the Thirlmere Lakes began with a 2012 inquiry. This was prompted by community concerns about low water levels in Thirlmere Lakes and the potential impacts of coal mining and groundwater extraction. The 2012 research highlighted gaps in knowledge about the lakes. The inquiry published its findings in the Thirlmere Lakes Inquiry: Final Report of the Independent Committee. The NSW Chief Scientist reviewed the 2012 findings and water monitoring was started in 2013. Following this, a workshop was held in 2016 and its findings were published in The Mysterious Hydrology of Thirlmere Lakes.

Popular with locals

Thirlmere Lakes Families Picnic 1984 DHunt
Thirlmere Lakes with family picnics with children enjoying the lake and swimming in 1984 (D Hunt)

 

The Thirlmere Lakes National Park is 629 acres located in the Macarthur region and was proclaimed a national park in 1972. In 2000 the national park was inscribed as part of the  UNESCO World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains Area. The lakes have been a popular recreation spot with local families for many decades.

Counterfactural · Family history · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · History theory and practice · Local History · Local Studies · Media History · Medical history · Motoring History · Women's history

What if? What might have been? What could have been?

What if? What might have been? What could have been?

These are interesting questions when considering the big questions about the past.

This area of history writing involves speculation about the past and the way history is interpreted and understood.  One young historian who has addressed these questions is Wollongong independent scholar Amy Penning. She has written a critique of counterfactual history. This is a controversial area of history theory and practice. Penning has written a lively discussion that analyses a contested area of historiography.  In deciding whether to publish this essay I considered editing the text and decided against it. I feel that the essay is worth reproducing here in full.

The aim of publishing the essay on this site is to give the essay and its author a wider audience. I hope you enjoy reading this very interesting and worthwhile contribution to history theory and practice.

Counterfactural Penning 2 2020
What if? (mega)

 

What if? What could have been? Counterfactual history

Amy Penning

 Counterfactual history is the historiographical method premised on hypothetical alternatives about outcomes of the past events and circumstances which actually occurred. Through questioning and speculating upon what could have happened, the past becomes reinvigorated.  As counterfactual history allows for a deeper understanding of the reconstruction of history; as not simply a set of predetermined contingencies but rather an examination of the causation of events and the role of human agency. However, counterfactual claims without historical evidence are simply fantasying and are thus frivolous to historical study. Therefore, historians who employ a counterfactual paradigm have a scholarly responsibility to distinguish the conditions under which these ‘what if’ events are probable with accurate evidence to make these claims plausible and valid for the reconstruction of history.

 

A contested debate

As with all historiographical philosophies, counterfactual history has been subject to great debate, especially in recent years. Scottish historian Niall Ferguson a foremost proponent of counterfactual history deems virtual history as a necessity for understanding the past. He contends that through using empirical evidence, counterfactual analysis can enable a holistic and rigorous understanding of the past. Conversely, traditionalist historians, including academic Sir Richard J. Evans maintain that because counterfactuals are imaginative reconstructions, questioning the past using ‘what if’ scenarios are futile. He argues that personal speculation and curiosity is not history; that truth is truth and fact is a fact.  Evans is right to insist on the primacy of facts in any historical inquiry – to do otherwise would render historical works fictitious. This does not, however, invalidate the potential merits of a counterfactual approach. By examining the conflicting views of Ferguson and Evans (among other historians) the contentions but also potential regarding counterfactual history is clearly illustrated.

 

Reconstruction of history

Counterfactual history has significant value in the reconstruction of history as it allows for a re-examination of causation, however many historians have interpreted this as a disregard of the past.  It has thus been neglected among most academic historians across time and political ideologies ‘as having little epistemic value’. [1]

 

A definitive opponent to counterfactual history is E.H Carr (an English historian and opponent of empiricism) who in his famous book What is History? (1961) responded to Isaiah Berlin’s (British- Russian philosopher) criticism of those who do not give ‘priority to the role of the individual and accident[2], thus those who neglect counterfactual history, the role of human agency (humans action) and chance.  E.H Carr responded to this by the dismissive phrase that ‘counterfactual’ history is a mere ‘parlour game’, a ‘red herring’.[3]  This was because for Carr, an investigation of causes and to suggest that something other than what did happen, might have occurred was a violation of the historical discipline. Strangely, ‘despite (Carr’s) denial of the value of counterfactual history in the book, it remains a landmark for understanding counterfactual history’. [4]  As What is History ‘became the most influential text to examine the role of the historian…in the 1960s and is still widely read today’. [5] This is supported by the sheer amount of historians who use his definition of counterfactuals. [6]

Counterfactural Penning 2020
What if I went this way or that way? (Shutterstock)

 

The issue is that Carr’s definition of counterfactualism is not conclusive nor does it provide a true understanding of what counterfactual history is: a deeper look into causes, effects, and actors through questioning the past.  It can be argued, therefore, that ‘for a long time, Carr’s criticisms made ‘what-if-history’ suspect for serious scholars’. [7] That is not to say, all historians of recent times disagree with counterfactual history as a result of Carr.  However, his basic argument that reevaluating the past as more than predetermined contingencies poses a threat to the historical discipline, unfortunately, sums up the attitude of generations of historians on the subject.

 

The validity of the counterfactual inquiry

Further, many other influential historians have disregarded the validity of counterfactual inquiry in understanding history by dismissing it’s questioning into known historical events and causes as unhistorical practice. As counterfactual history ‘ambition to be consequential’ (aim to have important value in the historical discipline) is often misunderstood academic historians ‘(as a) distortion (of) scholarship‘. [8]

 

Therefore, questioning and reconstructing the past is threatening to some academic historians whose own study and understanding of history which have been cemented in traditional deterministic history (predestined nature of the past).[9] Historian Marxist E. P. Thompson once famously called counterfactuals ‘Geschichtswissenschlopff, unhistorical garbage’.  Furthermore, conservative philosopher and historian Michael Oakeshott ‘who rarely agreed with Thompson’ (Sustein, 2014) said that the ‘distinction between essential and incidental events does not belong to historical thought at all’.  This reveals the ignorance and unwillingness of many historians to understand what counterfactual history is actually is; the assigning of the importance of events, understanding the significance of human actors and a deeper look at the causation of all which are important principles of historical study.

 

Further, this demonstrates that prominent and scholarly historians of varying ideologies and beliefs have labelled counterfactual history as a historical tool unworthy of study or use. The impact of this is significant on the study and use of counterfactualism in history, as Niall Ferguson reveals when he states ‘hostile views from such disparate figures’ could explain why counterfactual inquiry ‘has been provided by writers of fiction (rather than).. historians’.[10] Therefore, revealing that academic historians who simply denounce counterfactual history as unhistorical fantasy, have failed to understand the definition of counterfactuals (as counterfactual principles do align with historical practice) and consequently have been unable to see counterfactualism’s value and use in history.

 

Contentions

The contentions surrounding the worth of counterfactual inquiry in reconstructing history have been debated by the two leading historians Richard Evans and Niall Ferguson in recent years. Sir Richard Evans a widely renowned historian agrees with Thompson and Oakeshott, as he insists that counterfactual history is ‘speculation, not history.’ Evans laments that this fantasizing ‘threatens to overwhelm our perceptions of what really happened in the past, pushing aside our attempts to explain it.’[11]  However what Evans neglects is Ferguson’s point, that counterfactual hypotheses are ‘only legitimate if one can show if what if your discussing is one that contemporaries seriously contemplated’ by showing evidence.’ [12] Ferguson explains this through the example of ‘what would have happened in 1948 if the entire population of Paris had suddenly sprouted wings’[13] where he argues that this offers no historical insights, as this is not a realistic conjecture.[14]  Therefore, the basis for counterfactual arguments to be valid in reconstructing history must be provable plausibility through historical evidence.

 

Another counterfactual hypothesis which demonstrates the importance of historical evidence is provided by John Keegan a British military historian who contributed an essay to the military history journal[15]  about how Hitler could have won World War II ‘In 1941, Hitler controlled the world’s biggest tank fleet, and one of the biggest air fleets, and if he had decided to use them differently…he could have won’. Therefore, revealing how with factual evidence (the number of tank and fleets Hitler had), the counterfactual hypothesis can provide a greater understanding of the past; as through this inquiry, Keegan highlights the significance of the human actor in historical outcomes, particularly in military history. This is because ‘outcomes of battles were so often determined by the actions and decisions of a single leader’[16]. Therefore, through providing historical evidence counterfactual claims are plausible and are useful as they provide a deeper understanding of the significance of causation and the role of human agency on historical outcomes.

Counterfactural Penning 2 2020
What if? (mega)

 

Predetermined nature

Additionally, the predetermined nature of the past or determinism is a controversial issue for Evans and Ferguson when evaluating counterfactuals use and value in history. Ferguson sees counterfactual history as the ‘necessary antidote’ to the close-mindedness of historical determinism.  In Ferguson’s words, ‘the past does not have a predetermined end. There is no author, divine, or otherwise only characters and a great deal too many of them’.[17] Therefore, Ferguson reveals the non-deterministic and true complex contingency of the past as a result of human agency (human action and ability to alter history).

 

However, Evans contends that the very idea of determinism is too broad, as in terms of history moving towards an end ‘counterfactuals can only cast doubt on theories of history’ but can’t ‘undermine history as a whole because we don’t know where that trajectory will end’.[18] Thus, he argues that since we already know the course of history, historical speculation on what might have occurred is pointless because it didn’t happen.  However, Evans ignores that the unpredictable nature of human actors and that chance itself can both be significant factors in historical outcomes. Therefore, although ‘what if’ questioning will always remain hypothetical, chance and human agency do play a significant role in history. Consequently, study into alternative outcomes will always remain important and relevant for deepening the reconstruction of history.

 

Reconstructed history

Furthermore, throughout time counterfactuals have been used and will be continued to be used to reconstruct and understand history. This a result of the innate human desire to re-examine the past and to wonder ‘what if?’. In daily life, humans often speculate about what might have happened: ‘either grateful things worked out as they did or regretful that they did not occur differently’.[19] As Niall Ferguson explains ‘(counterfactuals) is a vital part of how we learn’, because ‘decisions about the future are usually based on weighing up consequences of alternative courses of action’.[20]  As a consequence, of counterfactual questioning being innately human, historians throughout time have employed counterfactualism in their historical inquiry: sometimes unknowingly.

 

The origins of posing counterfactual historical questions date back ‘to the beginning of Western historiography ‘when Thucydides and Livy wondered how their own societies would have been different ‘if Persians had defeated the Greeks or if Alexander the Great had waged war against Rome’.[21] In modern history, an anthology published in 1931 included an essay by Winston Churchill called ‘If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg’, which imagines a world in which the Confederacy had won the Civil War. [22]

 

A further recent example is Robert Cowley, the editor of the military history quarterly who in 1998 used the counterfactual of ‘the fog on the East River on the night of Aug. 29, 1776, which permitted Washington to escape unnoticed by the British and save the Revolution from a Dunkirk. What if no fog?’. [23]  Thus, as a consequence of counterfactual questioning being a part of human nature, it has been used and will be continued to be used throughout time, to better understand the complexity of the causation and events of the past.  The innate human quality and use of counterfactuals in history further reinforced by historian and author Aviezer Tucker’s specialist in the philosophy of historiography and history. He reveals how to a certain extent, all historians use counterfactualism ‘when they assign cause, effects and the degree of importance to these causes’ because ‘The assignment of necessary causes assumes that had the cause not occurred, neither would the effects’.[24]  As all claims of causation, require the historian to give importance and necessity to events, people, and factors and their subsequent influence on the final outcome.  As Jon Elster (Norwegian social and political theorist) explains historians ‘have been talking counterfactually all the time without knowing it’.[25]

 

An interesting argument regarding the human quality of counterfactualism is put forward by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld a Professor of History, who uses examples of counterfactual history throughout time to reveal how ‘alternate history has consistently functioned as a means of using alternate pasts to expose the virtues and vices of the present.’ [26]  That is to say, the counterfactual questions asked throughout time reflect contemporary’s fears, attitudes and beliefs.  Rosenfeld uses the example of American authors’ common use of the Nazis winning World War for to demonstrate this ‘For the first three decades of the postwar era most allo- historical (alternative) narratives.. depicted a Nazi wartime victory. This reflects the postwar history of the United States…(glorifying) the American decision to intervene in the war against, and ultimately defeat Nazi Germany’. Thus, (counterfactual history) ‘reflects its authors (current) hopes and fear.’ [27] This reveals that counterfactual history is extremely useful to the historical discipline, as counterfactuals are inherently presentist. Therefore, counterfactual history gives insight into the evolution of historiography which makes it very useful to historians as documents of attitudes, values, perspectives and belief systems of individuals from that particular time.

 

Utilising the pre-existing conditions

Further, counterfactual claims can be valid through utilising the pre-existing conditions of the event developed over time. An example that demonstrates this, is the Greek’s defeat over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C. The battle ended with a Greek victory, in which the swifter and far more numerous fleet of the Persian emperor Xerxes was destroyed. ‘However, this victory was dependent on a subtle manoeuvre by admiral Themistocles’. [28] A Persian win would have prevented the emerging Greek conceptions of freedom and the individual and thus ‘the great strengths of present-day Western culture is due to Themistocles September victory off Salamis’. [29] In approaching this ‘what if’ historical question one must neglect the ‘anything could follow anything’[30] mentality. As this kind of counterfactual narrative is based on speculation and is consequently problematic as to ‘extend counterfactual history speculation is to exhaust the connection between facts and realities’. [31]

Counterfactural Penning 2020
What if I went this way or that way? (Shutterstock)

 

A stronger counterfactual inquiry instead uses pre-existing conditions as it’s basis. ‘The Persians could not have been defeated in any other battle, Salamis was the Greeks only opportunity. Had Alexander not lived to build a Macedonian Empire, no one and nothing else could have replaced him. Consequently, the individualist culture that flowered in Greek city-states could not have emerged anywhere else.’[32]  In this version, the counterfactual questioning is a historical inquiry into contingency as it is grounded in the pre-existing conditions of the ‘event developing over diverse conditions across large expanses of geographical and social territory’ [33]. Thus, through the utilising existing circumstances and conditions, the counterfactual hypothesis can be valid in historical practice.

 

A deeper understanding of the reconstruction of history

In conclusion, a deeper understanding of the reconstruction of history can be achieved through speculation into the ‘what if’ questions of the past. The contentions and potential regarding counterfactual history are illustrated by examining the conflicting views of historians Ferguson (argues is necessary for holistic understanding) and Evans (argues it is imaginary and thus futile). Furthermore, influential historians such as E.H Carr dismissal of counterfactualism as unhistorical fantasy makes evident that counterfactual history’s definition has been skewed; as assigning importance to cause and effect are important historical practices. Through Evans and Ferguson’s arguments, it can be deduced that although counterfactuals claims will always be hypothetical in nature, they can be valid with historical evidence. These plausible counterfactual scenarios can then provide a deeper understanding of history. Historian John Keegan demonstrates through the counterfactual that ‘Hitler could have won World War II by acting differently’ the significance of human agency on historical outcomes. Moreover, counterfactual questioning and has been used by historians throughout time (e.g Thucydides, Livy, and Churchill) as it is inherently human. Consequently, counterfactual claims give insight into the memory and belief systems of individuals throughout time.  Finally, through utilising existing circumstances and conditions counterfactual hypothesis can be valid historical practice.  Therefore, counterfactual history has important value in the reconstruction of history, as questioning and rethinking the past reinvigorates and opens history; to not simply a set of predetermined contingencies but rather an examination of the causation of events and the role of human agency.

 

Author Biography

Amy Penning is an independent scholar based in Wollongong, NSW. She is interested in the philosophical nature of history.

Amy Penning can be contacted by email amypenning@y7mail.com

Counterfactual Amy Penning Portrait 2020
Amy Penning, Independent Scholar

 

References

[1] Maar, A., 2014, ‘Possible Uses of counterfactual thought experiments in History’, Principia vol.18, no.1, pp. 103-103, accessed 25 March 2019, State Library of New South Wales.

[2] Talbot, A., 2009, ‘Chance and Necessity in History: E.H. Carr and Leon Trotsky Compared’, Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 88-96 accessed 10 May 2019, JSTOR.

[3] Ferguson, N., 1997, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals p.4

[4] Rodwell, G., 2013, ‘Counterfactual Histories and the Nature of History’, Whose History?: Engaging History Students through Historical Fiction, pp. 83, accessed 29 Jun. 2019 University of Adelaide Press, South Australia, JSTOR.

[5] Godfrey, K ‘BBC Radio 3 – The Essay’, What Is History, Today?, Episode 1, BBC, 2011, accessed 29 June 2019  <https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017575t&gt;.

[6] For example, Martin Bunzl a professor of philosophy article ‘Counterfactual History: A User’s Guide’, Richard Evans in his book Altered Pasts and Professor of history Peter J Beck in Presenting History: Past and Present all refer to and use Carr’s definition.

[7] Hekster. O., 2016, ‘The Size of History: Coincidence, Counterfactuality and Questions of Scale in History The Challenge of Chance Springer’, pp. 215-232, accessed 28 June 2019, Springer, Cham.

[8]  Gallagher, C., 2018, Telling It Like it Wasn’t, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

[9] Ferguson, N., 1997, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals

[10] Ferguson, N., 1997, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals p.7

[11]  Sustein, CR., ‘What If Counterfactuals Never Existed?’, The New Republic, 21 September 2014, accessed 27 February 2019, <https://newrepublic.com/article/119357/altered-pasts-reviewed-cass-r-sunstein&gt; .

[12]  University of California Television (UCTV) 2004, Conversations with History: Niall Ferguson, online video, 15 February 2008, accessed 10 November 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtEwupxygBo&gt;.

[13] Ferguson, N., Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals1997 p.83

[14] B FitzSimons., ‘How do Ned Kelly’s murderous intentions at the Siege of Glenrowan support this statement?’, Teaching History, pp.37

[15] Cowley, R., (ed.) 2001, What If Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been?, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.

[16] Honan, H.W., ‘Historians Warming To Games Of What If’, The New York Times, 7 Jan 1998, accessed 13 June 2019, <https://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/07/us/historians-warming-to-games-of-what-if.html >.

[17] Ferguson, N., 1997, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, p.68

[18] Evans, R., 2014, Altered Pasts Counterfactuals in History, p.58

[19] Gavriel, R., 2002, ‘Why Do We Ask ‘What If?’ Reflections on the Function of Alternate History’, History and Theory, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 90-103, accessed 1 March 2019, Wesleyan University, JSTOR.

[20] Ferguson, N., 1997, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, p.68

[21]  Gavriel, R., 2002, ‘Why Do We Ask ‘What If?’ Reflections on the Function of Alternate History’, History and Theory, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 90-103, accessed 1 March 2019, Wesleyan University, JSTOR.

[22] Sustein, CR., ‘What If Counterfactuals Never Existed?’, The New Republic, 21 September 2014, accessed 27 February 2019, <https://newrepublic.com/article/119357/altered-pasts-reviewed-cass-r-sunstein&gt; .

[23] Honan, H.W., ‘Historians Warming To Games Of What If’, The New York Times, 7 Jan 1998, accessed 13 June 2019, <https://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/07/us/historians-warming-to-games-of-what-if.html >.

[24]  Tucker, A., 1999, ‘Historiographical Counterfactuals and Historical Contingency’, History and Theory, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 264-276, accessed 3 March 2019, Wesleyan University, JSTOR.

[25] Sustein, CR., ‘What If Counterfactuals Never Existed?’, The New Republic, 21 September 2014, accessed 27 February 2019, <https://newrepublic.com/article/119357/altered-pasts-reviewed-cass-r-sunstein&gt; .

[26] Gavriel, R., 2002, ‘Why Do We Ask ‘What If?’ Reflections on the Function of Alternate History’, History and Theory, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 90-103, accessed 1 March 2019, Wesleyan University, JSTOR.

[27]Gavriel, R., 2002, ‘Why Do We Ask ‘What If?’ Reflections on the Function of Alternate History’, History and Theory, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 90-103, accessed 1 March 2019, Wesleyan University, JSTOR.

[28]  Laibman, D., 2008, ‘What if? The Pleasures and Perils of Counterfactural History’, Science & Society, vol.72, no. 2, pp.131-135 accessed 12 November 2018, ProQuest, State Library New South Wales.

[29] Cowley, R., (ed.) 2001, What If Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been?, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.

[30]  Robinson, R., 2002, The Years of Rice and Salt, Bantam Books, United States.

[31] Woolf, D., 2016, ‘Concerning Altered Pasts: Reflections of an Early Modern Historian’, Journal of Philosophy of History, vol. 10, no.3, pp. 418-428, accessed on 18 February 2019, JSTOR.

[32]  Laibman, D., 2008, ‘What if? The Pleasures and Perils of Counterfactural History’, Science & Society, vol.72, no.2, pp.131-135, accessed 12 November 2018, ProQuest, State Library New South Wales.

[33] Laibman, D., 2008, ‘What if? The Pleasures and Perils of Counterfactural History’, Science & Society, vol.72, no.2, pp.131-135, accessed 12 November 2018, ProQuest, State Library New South Wales.

 

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The living history movement finds new supporters

Living History at Belgenny

The CHN blogger attended an informative and interesting talk at Belgenny Farm in  the Home Farm meeting hall. The presentation was delivered by Peter Watson from the Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA.

Mr Watson, an advocate of the living history movement, was the guest of the chairman of the Belgenny Farm Trust Dr Cameron Archer. Mr Watson was on a speaking tour and had attended a living history conference while in Australia.

 Peter Watson and Howell Farm

Peter Watson presented an interesting and far ranging talk about Howell Living History Farm in New Jersey and its programs.

Camden Belgenny Farm 2018May2 Peter Watson Talk
A very informative talk by Mr Peter Watson from the Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. Mr Watson was the guest of Belgenny Farm Trust Chairman Dr Cameron Archer. The talk was held on 2 May 2018 at the Belgenny Farm community hall with an attentive crowd of local folk. (I Willis)

 

Mr Watson said, ‘The 130 acre farm was gifted to the community in 1974 by a state politician with the aim of showing how farming used to be done in New Jersey.

Howell Living History Farm is located within a one hour of around 15 million and the far has 65,000 visitors per year and 10,000 school children.

Mr Watson said,

‘We took about 10 years to get going and deal with the planning process, which was tenuous for the government authorities who own the farm.

Mr Watson said,

‘The main aim at the farm is the visitor experience. The farm represents New Jersey farming between 1890 and 1910 – a moment in time.’

Mr Watson says,

‘We do not want to allow history to get in the way of an education experience for the visitor. The farm visitors are attracted by nostalgia which is an important value for them.

Most historic farms are museums, according to Mr Watson and he said, ‘At Howell Living History Farm visitors become involved in activities.’

The farm uses original equipment using traditional methods and interpretation with living history.

 

The Living History Movement

Historian Patrick McCarthy considers that living history is concerned with (1) ‘first person’ interpretation or role play (2) adopting authentic appearance (3) re-creating the original historic site of the event.

Living historian Scott Magelssen maintains that living history museums ‘engage strategies in their performance of the past’, claiming to be ‘real history by virtue of their attention to detail’. Living history museums ‘do not merely represent the past; they make historical ‘truth’ for the visitor’.  (pp. xii-xv)

According to Magelssen living history museums ‘produce history’ like textbooks, films or a lecture. Under the influence of post-modernism history ‘is on longer to be seen as the reconstruction of the past through scientific analysis’. Living history is a research tool. (pp. xii-xv)  There are various interpretations on the way this is constructed, configured and delivered amongst the theorists.

 

Origins of living history museum movement

One of the early influencers of the living history movement in North America was Henry Ford who established his indoor and outdoor living museum experience in the Detroit suburb of Dearbourn in Michigan USA. It is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the USA and attracts 1.6 million visitors. Ford opened the Greenfield Village to the public in 1933 as the first outdoor living museum in the USA and has over 100 buildings moved to the site dating from the 1700s. Henry Ford said of his museum

I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used…. When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition…

 

Living history @ Belgenny

Belgenny Farm is an authentic collection of colonial farm buildings that were once part of the Macarthur family’s Camden Park Estate.

Camden Belgenny Farm 2018 sign
The signage at the entrance to the Belgenny Farm complex at Camden NSW. (I Willis, 2018)

 

The Belgenny Farm website states that its education program adopts the principles of the living history movement. It states:

Schools enjoy a diverse range of hands-on curriculum based programs including the new Creamery Interpretative Centre. The Creamery showcases the dairy industry over the last 200 years and is supported by a virtual tour and online resources.

And more to the point:

Belgenny Farm was established by John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1805 and contains the earliest collection of colonial farm buildings in Australia. The property is a major educational centre with direct links to Australia’s agricultural history.

 

Sydney Living Museums

Sydney Living Museums is part of the living history museum movement and manages 12 historic properties across NSW. The stated role of SLM is to:

enrich and revitalise people’s lives with Sydney’s living history, and to hand the precious places in our care and their collections on to future generations to enjoy.

Sydney Hyde Park Barracks WHS Wikimedia lowres
Sydney Living Museums’ Hyde Park Barracks in Macquarie Street Sydney. (Wikimedia)

 

Sydney Living Museums has a philosophy which aims to be part of the living history movement by being:

authentic; bold; collaborative; passionate; and a sociable host.

Originally known as the Historic Houses Trust (HHT) the first chairman  stated that the organisation wanted to present

our properties ‘in a lively and creative way’.

When the HHT changed its name in 2013 to Sydney Living Museums:

to refresh and unify our diverse range of properties and highlight our role and relevance for current and future generations.

 

Living history is storytelling

Living history is walking the ground of an historical event or place or building. Walking the ground shows the layers of meaning in history in a place or building.

Walking the ground is an authentic real  experience.

Participants absorb the past that is located in the present of a place or a site. The past is the present and the past determines the present. It shapes, meaning and interpretation. It is the lived experience of a place.

Living history allows participants to be able to read: the layers of history of an area; the layers of meaning in a landscape; or the layers of history in a building.

It is like peeling off layers of paint from a wall when viewers peel back the layers of history of a site, building or place. Each layer has a special meaning – a special presence.

Lived experience leads to storytelling which is real  and authentic.

Storytelling creates the meaning of the past and creates the characters of the past in the present. It allows the past to speak to the present.

Experience some of these stories at the Camden Museum.

Camden Museum Macarthur Anglican School Visit6 2018Apr
Story telling by a volunteer at the Camden Museum for a school visit by Macarthur Anglican School (MAS, 2018)

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What is Camden’s heritage, does it really matter and what does it mean?

What is Camden’s heritage?

 

Journalist Jeff McGill wrote an oped in April 2017 in the Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser opening with the headline:

Camden heritage worth saving

McGill continued:

Such a pretty tree-lined streetscape, full of old-world charm. I’ve often stood at that green paddock next to the church, with its views across the valley…  locals are up in arms as online rumours swirl about moves by the church to sell the land…Right next to Camden’s most famous heritage landmark, an 1840s gem described by one government website as “a major edifice in the history of Australian architecture”.

In May 2017 the views of Wollondilly Councillor Banasik on heritage were reported in the Camden Narellan Advertiser by journalist Ashleigh Tullis with respect to greater urban development at Menangle.

Cr Banasik said this development opposed the shire’s ethos of rural living. The heritage of the area is amazing – there is Camden Park, Gilbulla, Menangle Store and the rotolactor site,” he said. This development just ain’t rural living.

Camden Park 1906 (Camden Images)
Camden Park House and Garden in 1906 is the home of the Macarthur family. It is still occupied by the Macarthur family and open for inspection in Spring every year. (Camden Images)

 

Journalist Kayla Osborne reported  the views of town planning consultant Graham Pascoe on heritage and the Vella family’s new commercial horticulture venture at Elderslie in the Camden Narellan Advertiser in May.

Mr Pascoe said the heritage nature of the site and its proximity to Camden had been well-considered by the Vella family…the land was ideal for farm use…the land has been farmed in the past…We believe we will provide a model…farm at the entrance to the Camden town centre.

Camden Community Garden 2018 IWillis
Paths, plots and patches at the Camden Community Garden 2018 (I Willis)

 

The views on heritage expressed in these stories do not actually define heritage.

There is an assumption or a presumption that the reader understands the intended meaning of the word heritage in each of these contexts.

So what was the intended meaning of the word heritage in each of these articles?

To answer that question another must be asked: What is Camden’s heritage?

 

What is heritage?

 

The term heritage is not that straight forward. There are a range of definitions and interpretations. The term is not well understood and can raise more issues than it addresses. Jana Vytrhlik, Manager, Education and Visitor Services, Powerhouse Museum (Teaching Heritage, 2010) agrees and says:

I think that heritage is one of the least understood term[s], it’s like culture, it’s like art, it’s like tradition, people really don’t know exactly what it means. http://www.teachingheritage.nsw.edu.au/section09/vytrhlik.php

Camden Whitemans Building 2018 IWillis
The Camden Whiteman’s building shown here from the street frontage in Argyle Street. The building has undergone adaptive re-use in accordance with the Burra Charter (ICOMOS) and continues to be busy retail outlet as it has done since the Victorian days. This means that their has been a retail outlet continuously occupying this site for over 130 years. The current building usage continues to contributed the delight and charm of the Camden town centre that attracts thousands of tourist every year. (I Willis, 2018)

 

To start with it is a useful exercise to say what heritage is not. Heritage is not history. Historian David Lowenthal says that

Heritage should not be confused with history. History seeks to convince by truth… Heritage exaggerates and omits, candidly invents and frankly forgets, and thrives on ignorance and error… Prejudiced pride in the past… is its essential aim. Heritage attests our identity and affirms our worth.

David Lowenthal “Fabricating Heritage”, History & Memory Volume 10, Number 1. <https://muse.jhu.edu/article/406606/pdf&gt;

 

What is history

 

The word ‘history’ comes from the Latin word ‘historia’, which means ‘inquiry’, or ‘knowledge gained by investigation’.

History tells the stories of the past about people, places and events. History is about what has changed and what has stayed the same. History provides the context for those people, places and events.

Camden Show 2018 promo
The Camden Show is an annual celebration of things rural in the township of Camden for over 100 years. (Camden Show)

 

History is about understanding, analysing and interpreting the past based on evidence. As new evidence is produced there is a re-examination and re-interpreting of the past.  History is about understanding the why about the past.

 

Meaning of heritage

The meaning of heritage is not fixed and historian Graeme Davison maintains that the history of the word heritage has changed over the decades.

Initially heritage referred to what was handed down from one generation to the next and could include property, traditions, celebrations, commemorations, myths and stories, and memories. These were linked to familial and kinship groups, particularly in traditional societies, through folkways and folklore.

In the 19th century the creation of the nation-state, capitalism and modernism led to the creation of national myths, national stories and national heritage.

Camden Narellan Advertiser HAC 2017June7 lowres
Camden-Narellan Advertiser 2 June 2017

 

ln the 1970s, the new usage was officially recognised. A UNESCO Committee for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted the term ‘heritage’ as a shorthand for both the ‘built and natural remnants of the past’.

(in Davison, G. & McConville C. (eds) ‘A Heritage Handbook’, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards NSW,1991)

 

Graeme Davison defines heritage in The Oxford Companion to Australian History as

inherited customs, beliefs and institutions held in common by a nation or community’ and more recently has expanded to include ‘natural and ‘built’ landscapes, buildings and environments.

http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195515039.001.0001/acref-9780195515039

 

In New South Wales heritage has a narrower legal definition under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) as:

those places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects, and precincts, of state or local heritage significance.

http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ha197786/

 

Heritage can be categorized in a binary fashion: cultural heritage/natural heritage; tangible heritage/intangible heritage; my heritage/your heritage; my heritage/our heritage.

Cooks Garage 1936
Cooks Service Station and Garage at the corner of Argyle and Elizabeth Streets Camden in the mid-1930s. This establishment was an expression of Camden’s Interwar modernism. (Camden Images)

What is significant about Camden’s heritage?

In 2016 the Camden Resident Action Group attempted to have the Camden town centre listed on the state heritage register. The group obtained statements of support which outlined the significance Camden’s heritage. Statements of support were from Dr Ian Willis (UOW), Associate Professor Grace Karskens (UNSW) and Emeritus Professor Alan Atkinson.

Camden Town Centre Significance Ian Willis 2016
A statement of significance by Dr Ian Willis 2016.

 

Camden Town Centre Significance Alan Atkinson 2016
A statement of significance by Emeritis Professor Alan Atkinson 2016

 

Camden Town Centre Significance Grace Karskens 2016
A statement of significance from Associated Professor Grace Karskens 2016

 

 

Camden Whitemans Store 1978[1] CIPP
By 1978 Whiteman’s General Store had undergone a number of expansion and provided a range of goods from mens and boys wear to haberdashery and hay and grain for local farmers from the Hill Street entrance. The mid-20th century building extension is to the left of the image. Upstairs were a number of flats that were leased out to local folk. (Camden Images)

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History is nice, but…

What is the value of history?

A group of American historians asked this question in 2012. They were concerned about the profile of history in the USA and its branding.

Camp Admin block Narellan Military Camp 1942
Camp Admin block Narellan Military Camp 1942 (A Bailey)

 

What resulted was the Value of History statement which is a statement of 7 principles on how history is essential to contemporary life. It provides a common language for making the argument that history should be part of contemporary life. They are seeking the support of US historical institutions and provide a tool kit for the implementation of the statement.

The American campaign is centred around this impact statement: “People will value history for its relevance to modern life and use historical thinking skills to actively engage with and address contemporary issues.”  They are convinced that history is relevant to contemporary communities.

I would argue that the 7 principles are just as relevant in Australia as they are in the USA. The principles are centred around 3 themes.

  1. To ourselves (a) identity (b) critical skills
  2. To our communities (a) vital places to live and work (b) economic development
  3. To our future (a) engaged citizens (b) leadership (c) legacy.

While the Value of History statement is written for an American audience it has just as much relevance in Australia.

Princess Mary Christmas Gift Tin 1914
A Princess Mary Christmas Gift Tin 1914 that was on loan at Camden Museum in 2015 (I Wills)

 

The supporters of the US campaign want to change the perception that while history is nice is not essential.

There is certainly support for history in Australia as Dr Anna Clark has shown in her book Private Lives Public History that there is general support for history in Australia. But as American historians have found history is ‘nice but not essential’.

 Value of History statement

The Americans who are leading this campaign are seeking the development of a ‘set of metrics’ for assessing the impact of historical projects and thus prove their worth. It is their view that ‘funders ought to view history, historical thinking, and history organizations as critical to nearly all contemporary conversations’.

The US promoters of ‘Advancing the History Relevance Campaign’ maintain that the disparate nature of historical work means that there is the lack of a unified voice for the value of history.

Australian historians need to similarly speak with one voice from the many corners of the discipline. From local community history, to scholarly work in academia, to commissioned work, to work in archives, museums and galleries as well the heritage industry.

Camelot House early 1900s Camden Images
Camelot House early 1900s at Kirkham NSW (Camden Images)

 

Australian historian could learn a thing or two from their American colleagues. The statement of 7 principles of the Value of History statement has as much relevance in Australia as the US. Similarly the US desire for a set of assessible metrics would be a useful part of the Australian toolkit for historians of all ilks and backgrounds.

History is consumed on a vast scale in Australia. The American Relevance of History project has much merit and would be very useful in Australia.