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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

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.

 

Aesthetics · Architecture · Attachment to place · Camden · Camden Museum · Colonial Camden · Colonialism · Community identity · Cowpastures · Cultural Heritage · Cultural icon · Edwardian · Farming · Festivals · First World War · Governor Macquarie · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · Interwar · Landscape aesthetics · Living History · Local History · Macarthur · Memory · Monuments · Place making · Ruralism · Second World War · Sense of place · Settler colonialism · Town planning · Urban growth · Urban Planning · urban sprawl · Urbanism · War · War at home

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)

Attachment to place · Camden · Camden Show · Campbelltown · Communications · Community identity · Cultural Heritage · Cultural icon · Entertainment · Fashion · Festivals · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · Living History · Local History · Local newspapers · Macarthur · Narellan · Newspapers · Place making · Ruralism · Sense of place · War

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter Extracts by Ian Willis

90.3.3 Camden: Launch of a new regional newspaper

Ian Willis, of Camden, writes (19 November): This week a new masthead appeared in the Camden Local Government Area called the Independent South-West published by King Media Regional based in Bowral, NSW. It was launched at Camden’s annual Light Up Festival. Editor Jane King and other staff handed out copies of the free monthly to families and friends who had come to see Santa, watch the fireworks and see the Christmas lights on the town’s Christmas tree.

The 20-page tabloid is printed in colour on glossy paper and is sure to give the other three free Camden weeklies, the Macarthur Chronicle, the Camden Narellan Advertiser and the District Reporter, a run for their money. King says in Issue 1 that it “is an exciting new title…family owned and managed business”. She says that the paper will serve the local community and employ local people.

The first issue certainly lives up to these promises by reporting the proceedings of the Moss Vale Local Court. Two matters dealt with involved Camden identities. Local court matters are now heard in Moss Vale since the closure of Camden and Picton court houses. The robust reporting of local court proceedings has largely disappeared from the other three Camden weeklies.

A feature page, “Ark” Up, is written by journalist Juliet Arkwright who in another life was a councillor on Wollondilly Shire Council. This edition profiles the Acting President of the Camden Chamber of Commerce Maryann Strickling. The chamber states ‘we look forward to working with a truly independent newspaper’.

The first edition also has copy provided by the local federal member, a photo feature of a fashion launch at Campbelltown, and content shared from the newspaper’s stablemate LatteLife Wingecarribee, which claims to be the “Heartbeat of the Southern Highlands”.

King Media also publishes City Circular which, according to Miranda Ward at Mumbrella, replaced a void left by the closure of News Corps mX in 2015 and is distributed at railway stations. The first newspaper published by King Media group was the masthead LatteLife Sydney which started life in the Eastern Suburbs in 2010. King Media then expanded to publishing the Southern Highlands edition in 2014.

The Independent’s print run of 10,000 will be distributed across localities from Cawdor to Leppington through local retailers, surgeries, real estate officers and other outlets. The print run is modest by comparison to its competitors in the Camden LGA and the publisher’s promises seem ambitious. King Media will support the print edition by managing a Facebook page.

The conservative reporting of local matters by the Independent’s three Camden competitors certainly leaves a niche in the market place if controversies surrounding Camden Council continue as they have done in recent months. King has promised to “hold the Council to task” and take it up to other local papers. If she sticks to her promises the Independent South-West will fit in well with Camden’s fierce parochialism and localism.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 90, December 2016— 11

 

Newspaper Image IndepSW 2016 Iss1
The first edition of The Independent South-West that appeared in Camden (I Willis)

 

89.4.10 Tahmoor’s once-a-century publication

Ian Willis, of Camden, writes: On 1 September 2016 the local independent weekly, the District Reporter, published an eight-page wraparound supplement under the banner heading of the “Tahmoor Times Souvenir Edition”. It was “edition 1, volume 1” of a special edition that was “published every 100 years”. The supplement celebrated the centenary of the naming of Tahmoor NSW and the Back to Tahmoor celebrations. It was sponsored by the District Reporter and the Tahmoor Chamber of Commerce under its president Bob Clayton.

The District Reporter is a free 16-page weekly published by a family owned company, Wombaroo Publishers, of Camden. The newspaper was launched in 1998 and has a distribution of 16,900 primarily across the Camden and Wollondilly Local Government Areas, including Tahmoor. The publication has a popular weekly local history feature on the back page called “Back Then” under the direction of newspaper editor Lee Abrahams. Volunteers read aloud the supplement to some of the residents at the local Carrington Convalescent Home.

The idea of the supplement and its promotion were the brainchild of Bob Clayton who is variously described as a team of one taking on roles from journalist and political editor. Clayton’s editorial stated that he only published the supplement “every one hundred years” with the next edition in 2116. Clayton supplied the content with layout done by the District Reporter’s sales manager Noel Lowry.

The supplement’s feature article “Bridge to Bridge – Tahmoor a History” presented an interesting collection of images with a short story of the history of the town. Past extracts from the Picton Post supported the story. For example, in 1933 local character Barney Abbot spotted a UFO from his farm paddock one night. Then there was an offer in 1934 to take a Ford V8 for a drive with a recent sighting of Elvis Presley in Tahmoor.

Mr Clayton said, “It was all to have a bit of fun and to tell tales from the past. History is a bit dry and you need to make it interesting.”

Other centenary celebrations were outlined in the supplement and are a “Back to Tahmoor Day”, a history publication, a photographic exhibition, the development of a history walk and a time capsule for Tahmoor Public School.

Storytelling occurs in all cultures and the “Tahmoor Times” supplement adds to some of the colourful yarns about the local area. Clayton said he would send a copy of the supplement to the National Library. The supplement provides an insight in to the area’s sense of place and its cultural landscape.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 89, September 2016— 15

 

Camden Show Signage 2018
The Camden Show attracts over 40,000 people to the two day festival in the country town of Camden. (I Willis)

 

67.3.4 CAMDEN: SHOW COVERAGE HIGHLY COMMENDED

Ian Willis from Camden writes (31 March): The Camden press excelled itself in recent weeks with an incredible coverage of the 2012 Camden Show. The show always gets strong support from the local weekly newspapers – Camden-Narellan Advertiser, Macarthur Chronicle (Camden Edition) and the District Reporter – and this year was no different.

The amount of page space devoted to the show is worthy of special examination. Between January and March over 6300 column centimetres were devoted to the show matters, peaking in the weekly editions before the show. The Advertiser had an eight- page wrap-around, the Chronicle had a 12 page wrap-around while The District Reporter had a 24-page special edition, as well as its regular weekly edition. This was supplemented with extensive photo galleries on the newspaper websites and in their print editions after the show. In addition the Macarthur Chronicle offered to print a special front page for showgoers with their image at their show stall. The show committee supported this coverage with posters, pamphlets, programs, and television (first time 2011) and radio advertising.

The Camden Show illustrates one of the key strengths of the local press, which in the case of Camden is becoming increasingly the local suburban press, its localness. The Camden community is in a period of transition located on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe and undergoing a crisis of identity. The role of the local press in the success of this annual festival cannot be understated. The annual show (23-24 March 2012) is the premier cultural festival for the community, runs over two days and in 2012 attracted over 38,000 people. The constant theme in all material related to the show was its role as ‘still a country show’. The event had all the trade mark features of the stereotypical country show from cakes to show bags to cattle and wood chopping. The relationship between the Camden press and the show juggernaut is mutually beneficial and illustrates the strength of Camden’s sense of place, community identity and local parochialism.

The 2012 press coverage of the show illustrates the dynamic vibrancy of the local newspaper. In these days when the metropolitan press are increasingly under pressure the local press goes from strength to strength. Camden’s newspapers add to the resilience of the local community in the face of constant change on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe from urbanisation.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No. 67, May 2012 — 12

 

Missingham, Di: D. 18 February, aged 63; former manager of the Macarthur Chronicle; was appointed manager of the Chronicle in 1985, not long after the newspaper was established; spent nine years at the newspaper “building relationships in the community’ and laying the foundations for the success of the newspaper”; was also a Camden councillor between 1995 and 1999 and deputy mayor in 1998; most recently she was Lifeline Macarthur’s sponsorship manager (Source: Ian Willis, Camden.)

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 57    May 2010                Page 3

 

57.2.2 DISTRICT REPORTER GOES DIGITAL

Ian Willis reports: The District Reporter had its first digital edition on 15 March. The Reporter is an independently owned 16-page free weekly published by Wombaroo Publishers. Established in 1997, it circulates in the Camden and Wollondilly local government areas. One of its most popular features is the “Back Then” history page. The website has an archive of editions from the previous 12 months. It can be viewed at http://www.tdr.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58&Itemid=1

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 57  May 2010               Page 3

 

61.4.9 LIFE AS THE EDITOR OF A SMALL COMMUNITY PAPER Ian Willis reports from Camden: The editor/proprieter Lee Abrahams of the District Reporter addressed the Camden Historical Society on the life of an editor of a small community newspaper on 9 February at the Camden Museum. The District Reporter is owned by Lee Abrahams and Noel Lowry, of Camden. It is a 16pp free weekly published in Camden NSW each Monday. Abrahams maintains that it has a ―quirky style that concentrates on local and rural news. The most popular sections are the back page feature, ―Back Then, on local history, followed by ―The Diary, which is a summary of local community events. The paper has a print run of 17,000 which is circulated in the Camden and Wollondilly Local Government Areas. It is printed at Marrickville.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 61 February 2011 Page 18

 

Newspaper TDR 2018July6 Cover
The front page of The District Reporter which is a local independent newspaper in the Macarthur region of NSW. (The District Reporter)

 

62.3.1 CAMDEN, NSW (1): FOOTY’S BACK Ian Willis reports from Camden: On 8 March two of Camden‘s weekly newspapers, Fairfax Media‘s Camden-Narellan Advertiser and Cumberland Newspaper Group‘s Macarthur Chronicle, both published eight-page wraparounds featuring the Wests Tigers Rugby League teams. Under the banner headline, ―NRL Glory Calls‖ player Loti Tuquiri was featured in a full-page feature in the Chronicle, complemented by a season draw. The Advertiser went further and had two popular players, Chris Lawrence and Gareth Ellis, in a double page spread, while the inside two pages featured a ―Footy Tipping Guide for the die-hard fans. All for the start of the official footy season!

62.3.2 CAMDEN, NSW (2): THE SHOW Ian Willis reports from Camden: Camden‘s three free weeklies each had a major feature on the 125th 2011 Camden Show. The show is a yearly event and is promoted as the largest regional show in Australia, with expected attendances in excess of 30,000. The District Reporter, an independent, published a 24-page special advertising feature for the event, which is ‘still a country show‘. Items ranged from the opening by the Governor-General, to entertainment, horse events, grand parade, Miss Showgirl, and a guide to community groups performances (schools, community band) and local artists.

The Cumberland Press‘s Macarthur Chronicle had a 12-page wraparound and noted that the show was still going strong‘ after 125 years, and the appearance of the ―G-G was the ―icing on the cake. It was reported that the inaugural show in 1886 was ―met with enthusiasm and approval‖ by those attending. Fairfax‘s Camden-Narellan Advertiser had an 8 page wraparound ‗souvenir edition‘ and featured a double page spread of an attractive young bloke‘ from the show organising committee, Daniel Dickenson. Daniel stated that he was ‘dedicated to making sure the country show continue[d] for many years‘, while the Advertiser assured its readers that the show was ―an age-old event that stop[ped] Camden in its tracks.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 62 May 2011 Page 9

 

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)

 

CAMDEN (NSW): AN EDITOR’S LIFE

63.4.4 Ian Willis reports from Camden: An account of life as the editor/proprietor of the District Reporter, Lee Abrahams, was published in the March journal of the Camden Historical Society, Camden History. The District Reporter is a 16pp free weekly published each Monday in Camden. Lee Abrahams and her husband Noel started the newspaper as a monthly in 1997 in the Austral area. They moved the paper to Camden to fill a vacuum left by the closure of the Camden Crier, a free weekly. The Reporter has a circulation of 17,000 and a footprint of 37,000 homes. It has been online for 12 months with around 200 weekly downloads. The most popular feature is the weekly history page, Back Then‘.  According to Abrahams the masthead colours of blue and green reflect the rural landscape of sky and grass.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 63 July 2011 Page 15

 

56.3.3 CAMPBELLTOWN AND CAMDEN: DIGITAL EDITION

Ian Willis reports: The Macarthur Chronicle announced a complete digital edition of the newspaper in its issue of 23 February. The online edition also provides access to archives of the newspaper containing issues for the last two years, an online index and a host of live hyperlinks.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 56     February 2010     Page 4

 

56.4.1.3 CAMPBELLTOWN, NSW: 25 YEARS

From Camden, Ian Willis writes: The Macarthur Chronicle (Cumberland Courier Newspapers, with Campbelltown and Camden editions) recently had a 16-page wrap-around to celebrate its 25th anniversary.  The feature reproduced a number of the front pages from over the last 25 years. These illustrated the changes to the masthead (nine all up), the introduction of colour photographs on the front page in 1991 and the changing format of the presentation with the greater emphasis on images and less on text. The foundation editor Chris Wharton (now chief Western Australian Newspapers) recalled how Greg Evans and Debbie Newsome of the top rating TV show Perfect Match launched the first edition. The cover story of the 36 page first edition was the arrival of baby Andrew James Packer, a healthy baby delivered at Camden Hospital. The current editor Mandy Perrin, who assumed control in 1993, recalled how she started as a cadet journalist nine months after the Chronicle was launched. Under her leadership the Chronicle has grown and in 2006 split into three editions for Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly and had its first online edition. The 25th commemorative edition had 128 pages and according to Bob Osburn (editor-in-chief of Cumberland Courier Newspapers) 123,000 readers. There were many tributes on the anniversary from civic leaders. Michael Knight, former Campbelltown State Labor MP, stated that “local newspapers succeed best when they become part of the fabric of their community… And that’s precisely what the Chronicle has done”.

 

Newspapers Image Pile
Newspapers provide a trove of information about events, personalities, stories, businesses, sport and a host of other matters. (Wikimedia)

 

56.4.1.4 CAMDEN, NSW: 130 YEARS

Ian Willis again: The Camden Advertiser issued on 10 February a 16 page wrap-around celebrating 130 years of newspaper publishing from 1880 to 2010. The supplement had the genealogy of the newspaper and its antecedents. In all, the newspaper family tree identified 20 different mast-heads that were related to the Camden Advertiser. These included local newspapers published in Camden, Campbelltown, Picton and Ingleburn. The birth of the newspaper group took place with the Campbelltown Herald first published on 14 February 1880 by William Webb.

The history of the newspaper group in the feature was divided into a number of sections: 1. The Great Pioneers 1880-1900, 2. The Builders 1900-1920, 3. The Sidman Supremacy 1920-1938, 4. The War Years 1938-1949, 5. Goodbye to the Sidmans, 6. The Heyday of S. Richardson Newspapers, 1952-1982, 7. The Hard Years 1982-1987, 8. From Strength to Strength, 8. Modern, But Traditional. Since 2006.

The publishers of these newspapers were colourful local identities and they all made an indelible mark on their communities. The feature provides an interesting glimpse, if brief, into the role of the local newspaper in a small community, with their parochialism, localism and parish pump politics.

The feature has 17 photographs with a number of reproductions of front pages. There are also interviews with a number of surviving staff who worked for some of the newspapers in the group.

The front cover of the feature is an interesting juxtaposition between then and now, with a reproduction of the 1880 Camden Times, with a local reporter, MIchelle Taverniti reflecting on an 1880 version of herself.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 56  February 2010         Page 5-15

 

29.61 THESIS

Ian Willis, “The Women’s Voluntary Service: A Study of War and Volunteering in Camden,  1939-1945”, PhD thesis, Department of History and Politics, University of Wollongong,  The thesis is a local study of wartime Camden through an examination of a war-specific  voluntary organisation, the Women’s Voluntary Service. The aim of the thesis was to unravel  the social processes and cultural traditions at work in the town’s female philanthropy, and, by  so doing, tease out the main threads of Camden’s wartime experience. The thesis  encompasses the involvement of Camden’s press in these processes.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 29 September 2004 Page 17

 

12.42 Research

WILLIS, Ian (Camden, NSW): Work in progress – PhD, “The Women’s Voluntary Services: a case study of war and voluntarism in Camden, 1939-1945”; principal source dfocuments, Camden News (owner George Sidman) and Camden Advertiser (owner Arthur Gibson).  Address: PO Box 304, Camden, 2570.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 12 May 2001 Page 15

 

Newspapers Local 2018Aug6
A selection of newspaper mastheads from the Macarthur region in 2018. (I Willis)

 

41.33 FOR THE HOLIDAYING AUDIENCE

Ian Willis writes from Camden, NSW: Fairfax Community Newspapers issued a special edition of their Sydney suburban newspapers on 26-27 December 2006 and 2-3 January 2007  called the Holidayer. The issue covered 14 suburban newspapers across the south, south-west  and western parts of Sydney. Titles included: Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser, Camden  Advertiser, Wollondilly Advertiser, South Western Rural Advertiser, Liverpool City  Champion, Fairfield City Champion, Parramatta Sun, St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, Penrith City Star, Hawkesbury Independent, Blacktown Sun, St Mary’s-Mt Druitt Star, Hills News, Northern News. The Camden edition carried local stories and advertisements from local businesses. There were also stories on holiday activities across western, south-western and southern Sydney under the heading “Get out, go do it”.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 41 February 2007 Page 10

 

1.2 LOCAL NEWSPAPERS – LOCAL IDENTIES CONFERENCE

A very successful Conference was held at Chiltern, North East Victoria, on the  weekend of 1-3 October 1999. About 60 participants enjoyed papers on:

  • The history of the Chiltern Federal Standard (Ross Harvey)
  • Dynasties in the NSW provincial press (Rod Kirkpatrick)
  • The Shepparton News’ recent history (John Tidey)
  • Newspaper preservation (Wendy Smith)
  • Old Journalism at Moreton Bay (Denis Cryle)
  • The Barrier Daily Truth’s women’s column in 1910 (Liz Macnamara)
  • The effect of the introduction of radio on the Dimboola Banner (Leigh Edmonds)
  • Newspaper trade directories (Dennis Bryans)
  • Circulation figures for nineteenth-century Victorian country newspapers (Tom Darragh)
  • Newsprint in nineteenth-century Australia (Carol Mills)
  • Weekly and monthly papers in the nineteenth-century (Peter Dowling)
  • Country Catholics and the Melbourne press (Victoria Emery)
  • Patriotism reflected in WWII Camden News and Camden Advertiser (Ian Willis)
  • Community, identity and the ethnic press (Sonia Mycak)

ANHG No 1  October 1999  p1

 

Newspapers Image
Newspapers are an important means of communication and have been around for centuries in print and most recently digital form. (Wikimedia)

 

10.19 COMMUNITY PAPERS (2): ALLIANCE TOWN CRIER FOR BERRY

Ian Willis, of Camden, has sent us a copy of The Berry Alliance Town Crier, a quarterfold produced by the Berry Small Towns Alliance Inc. which sets out to “provide communication to the people of Berry about community activities and to generate a small income for the Berry Alliance to cover administrative costs”. Editor is Bonnie Cassen. Issued monthly, it has a distribution of 1800. The September issue carried 24 pages.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 10 December 2000 Page 7

 

37.50 CAMDEN ADVERTISER BACK COPIES

Camden Public Library is trying to find a good home for originals of the Camden Advertiser in a broken run from the 1930s to the 1950s. Ian Willis writes: “I convinced the library to put them on microfilm when I was doing my PhD. It was one of my principal sources. Our historical society cannot house them.”

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 37 May 2006 Page 15

 

39.27 CAMDEN ADVERTISER 30 AND 20 YEARS AGO

From Ian Willis, of Camden, NSW: The Camden Advertiser (23 August 2006) had a 16-page wrap-around on the theme “Living in the 70s”. It included a series of three articles that recalled the front pages of the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, the Camden News, and the Picton Post in 1976. The stories related to local issues surrounding planning and the new Macarthur Growth Centre, parking, a new bridge over the Nepean River, and Camden retaining its “rural charm”. The Camden Advertiser (20 Sept. 2006) carried a 12 page advertising feature liftout on “Living in the 80s”. The feature carries an overview of the newspaper stories of the period, with a concentration on 1986. It features the front-page stories of that year including a “heated war of words” between the mayor of Campbelltown, Guy Thomas and Campbelltown’s Labor MP Michael Knight.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter No 39 October 2006 Page 10

 

51.3.1 SMALL PAPERS

Ian Willis reports from Camden, NSW: Our local newspapers treat the men and women who contributed to the Victorian Fire situation as local “heroes” in the finest tradition of the bushman and Anzac legends. The front page of the Camden Advertiser of 18 February reads “FACES OF GENEROSITY” with the story starting: “As bushfires wreaked destruction on lives in Victoria, Camden sprang into action. Our firefighters flew in to meet the flames, and thousands of dollars of donations have poured in to support relief.” The story ran through to pages 2 and 3 with photographs of RFS volunteers, school children holding fundraising events and other community fundraising events.

Our weekly independent, the District Reporter led on 16 February with a story “COMMUNITY SHOWS IT HAS A BIG HEART”, outlining the efforts of a local Catholic independent high school and its fundraising effort with photographs of the young people at the school. This was supported with a page 5 story about donations collected at a local shopping centre.

The Cumberland Newspaper Groups is represented in our local area by the Camden Edition of the Macarthur Chronicle. On 17 February it led with a story headed “OUR FINEST”. The story outlined the efforts of the Macarthur RFS unit and stated “the Macarthur region’s exhausted firefighters arrived home last week into the arms of loved ones after experiencing hell on earth”. The story outlined the efforts of efforts of our local heroes defending homes, electricity switching stations, and general fire fighting. Colin Spinks, the deputy group officer and member of the Camden West RFS brigade stated: ‘(the fire) would come down and the wind would turn back again. There was no saying where the wind was going to come from”. This was supported with extensive coverage of local fundraising events on pages 4, 5 and 6. David Campbell reported that “the heartbreaking plight of the bushfire victims in Victoria has prompted a generous response from the Macarthur region”.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter  No 51  February  2009      Page 7

 

43.26 MACARTHUR NEWSPAPERS

Ian Willis writes: The Macarthur Chronicle, which is part of the Cumberland Newspaper Group, has launched a new website for its local Macarthur newspapers. These are Macarthur Chronicle (Campbelltown Edition), Macarthur Chronicle (Camden Edition), Macarthur Chronicle (Wollondilly Edition). The three newspapers are on the front page of the website then linked to local stories for each edition. The site is located at http://www.macarthurchronicle.com.au/.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter  No 43  July 2007      Page 8

 

Newspapers WW1 Country Mastheads
Local newspapers were an important part of all country towns across Australia. (Trove/IWillis)

 

39.27 CAMDEN ADVERTISER 30 AND 20 YEARS AGO

From Ian Willis, of Camden, NSW: The Camden Advertiser (23 August 2006) had a 16-page wrap-around on the theme “Living in the 70s”. It included a series of three articles that recalled the front pages of the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, the Camden News, and the Picton Post in 1976. The stories related to local issues surrounding planning and the new Macarthur Growth Centre, parking, a new bridge over the Nepean River, and Camden retaining its “rural charm”. The Camden Advertiser (20 Sept. 2006) carried a 12 page advertising feature liftout on “Living in the 80s”. The feature carries an overview of the newspaper stories of the period, with a concentration on 1986. It features the front-page stories of that year including a “heated war of words” between the mayor of Campbelltown, Guy Thomas and Campbelltown’s Labor MP Michael Knight.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter  No 39  October 2006       Page 8

 

Willis, Ian, presented a paper at the Australian Historical Association 2006 Biennial Conference at the Australian National University on Genres of History. The paper title was “Looking at Regional Identities on the Homefront” and concerned the role of country newspapers as an important historical source. He used the case study of the Camden News and Camden Advertiser, during World War II. The paper examined the regional identity of conservatism and its representation in the wartime reporting in Camden press as patriotism.

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter  No 39  October 2006     Page 8

 

Attachment to place · Australia · Camden · Community identity · Cultural Heritage · Cultural icon · Family history · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · History of a house · History theory and practice · House history · Living History · Local History · Local Studies · Media History · Medical history · Motoring History · Moveable Heritage · Place making · Sense of place · Storytelling · Women's history

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.

Adaptive Re-use · Camden Historical Society · Community identity · Cultural Heritage · Education · Family history · Heritage · Historical consciousness · Historical Research · Historical thinking · History · History of a house · History theory and practice · House history · Industrial Heritage · Living History · Local History · Local Studies · Media History · Medical history · Military history · Monuments · Motoring History · Moveable Heritage · Myths · Place making · Public art · Re-enactments · Sense of place · Social media · Stereotypes · Storytelling · Theme Parks · Women's history

Being a Historical Detective

Be a Historical Detective Conducting Historical Research

Overview

Steps involved in being a historical detective and conducting an investigation (historical research).

Like any good TV detective, you should proceed through several steps while conducting your investigation (historical research). You will then be able to solve the historical mystery. These steps are:

1. What is a historical detective?
2. What is historical research?
3. What has to be done in historical research?
4. Plan of action
5. What time and resources will be needed to undertake the research (including costs)?
6. Conduct background research.
7. Gather evidence.
8. Evaluate the evidence.
9. Analyse the evidence.
10. Conduct periodic revue of the research process.
11. Present the evidence.
12. Acknowledge the sources of the evidence.
13. Conclusion.

A 1915 view of Commercial Banking Co building at the corner of Argyle and John Street Camden (Camden Images)

These steps outline a journey ( a voyage of discovery) you can undertake while conducting a historical investigation.

These steps are only a guide and another detective (researchers) may take a different approach.

There are many paths to the ‘truth’ and ‘enlightenment’. Which one are you going to going to take?

Description of each stage of the historical investigation

1. What is a historical detective?

The proposition that I want you to imagine is that you are a detective and that you are going to go on a voyage of discovery.

To be a historical detective assumes that there is a historical mystery of some sort.

History is full of good mysteries.

What is a historical mystery? A historical mystery is a secret, hidden story or an inexplicable matter that happened in the past. For example, there have always been stories and mysteries about Grandad, Aunt Ethyl and cousin Gertrude.

Exercise:
Consider a historical mystery you might investigate.
What is your historical mystery?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2. What is historical research?

You will solve your historical mystery by conducting an investigation (historical research) and discovering what is involved in unravelling the mystery’s secrets.

During your investigation, you will collect lots of information (eg, facts, statistics). This is the evidence. You will use the evidence to build a picture that will, hopefully, solve your mystery.

While undertaking your investigation you will be involved in finding out lots of stories.

Which story is the ‘truth’? Your version of the ‘truth’ may be different from someone else’s version of the ‘truth’.

Newspapers are a valuable source for historical research and provide a rich vein of information for researchers. A newspaper is a primary sources of historical evidence. This is the front page of the Camden News. 27 August 1914

3. What are you trying to find out?

Before you start your investigation you should know (at least have an idea about) the question you are trying to answer.

The starting point for your research will involve asking simple questions about the mystery:

• What is it (event)?
• When did it happen (time)?
• Where is it (location)?
• Who is involved (participants, suspects)?
• What are the circumstances (events)?

Then moving to more complex questions:

• Why did it happen (motivation)?
• How did it happen (modus operandi)?

Exercise:
What is the question you are trying to answer?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

4. Plan of action

Before you start your investigation you should draw up a plan of attack.

You should make a timeline with the steps involved in the investigation.

This is the modus operandi for your research.

This may involve questions like:

• Why am I undertaking this journey in the first place? (motivation)
• Where am I going to start?
• Where am I doing this research project?
• What resources do I need to undertake the research?
• How long will my journey of discovery take me (man-hours)?
• What am I going to do along the way?
• Where am I likely to finish up?

A well-planned investigation will help you from retracing your steps or leaving something out. Do not leave any stone unturned in your investigation.

Exercise:
Where are you going to start your research?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How long your investigation going to take?
………………………………………………………………………………………….

Once you have estimated the time needed to complete the research. You might find it useful to set several small goals or mileposts. You can tick off each milepost as you reach that particular point in your research.

Exercise:
What are your mileposts?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Once you have estimated how long the research will take and the steps involved, you need to ensure that you stick to your timetable as much as possible.

Photographs are a snapshot of the past and provide a glimpse of a moment in time. This original photograph is a primary source of historical evidence. This image is the small town of Camden in 1937. (Camden Images)

5. What time and resources will be needed to undertake the research (including costs)?

You will need to make a list of the resources that are required for your investigation.

These resources could include:
• Administration and office expenses
• Research expenses
• Travel expenses
• Research fees
• Computer hardware and software

6. Conduct background research.

Before you start your investigation you should find out has anyone else been there before you. If there has been previous research you need to know:

• What did they find out?
• Are you re-inventing the wheel?
• Are you actually doing something new?
• Are you simply re-hashing old material? If so you might be wasting your time and energy. Find another historical mystery to solve. There are lots around.

A good historical detective could examine the physical scene of the mystery and obtain the ‘lay of the land’. This could involve a field trip to a site or local study area. You could make observations of the scene (location) and record your observations. It helps you ‘get the feel’ of the investigation.

A family snapshot can provide historical researchers with a host of information from fashion to hair styles. This original photograph is a primary source of historical evidence. This pleasant family scene is of the West family in Camden in 1908. On the LHS is Adeline West with here baby Kathleen, next to her sister Ethel with baby Edwin. (Camden Images)

7. Gather evidence

You should gather the evidence in several forms:

• Written evidence from a variety of sources,(eg, libraries, museums, archives, organisational records, newspapers); or making a field trip and recording your observations (eg, memorials, cemeteries, artefacts, objects)

• Oral evidence by interviewing the participants.

• Pictorial evidence, eg, photographs, illustrations, ‘mud maps’.

8. Evaluate the evidence

This part of your research involves deciding:

(a) Firstly, the type of evidence that you have gathered to solve the mystery.

This will be either primary or secondary evidence (sources)

(i) Primary evidence (sources)

This is evidence drawn from the time of the mystery.

This can include:

Diaries
Letters
Posters
Official records – government records (eg: birth certificates, death certificates)
Newspapers Memoirs Personal records
Maps Sketches Paintings
Photographs Artefacts Objects
Site Anecdotes Ephemera
Songs Poems Cartoons
Advertisements Human remains – skeletons Oral testimony – interviews

(ii) Secondary evidence (sources)

This is evidence that is reconstructed by others about the mystery.

This can include:

• Books,
• TV programs,
• Reports.

(b) Secondly, evaluation involves the validation and verification of evidence.

(i) Validation is confirming the details of the evidence. Is it correct?

(ii) Verification will involve cross-checking evidence.

This souvenir program is a primary source of historical evidence. It provides valuable details for any researcher looking into the events surrounding this event. Camden Pioneer Mural Opening 16 June 1962 (Camden Museum Archive)

9. Analyse the evidence.

Now you have all the evidence, what are you going to do with it? You will have to:

Organise and arrange all of the evidence. To do this you will need to summarise the evidence. This could be achieved by:

• Completing a timeline (date order of events), a table, maps, lists, tables, mind maps, charts, storyboards.

• Completing a profile of suspects (participants) involved in the mystery.

• Reconstruct scenarios of the mystery and answer questions like:

  • Why were the participants involved, that is, what was their motivation?
  • Why did these events occur?
  • How did these things happen?

• Taking an empathetic approach to help gain an appreciation of what the situation was like in the past to assist in solving the mystery.

10. Conduct periodic revue of the research process.

Every now and then you need to pause and re-assess your progress. You need to ask yourself several questions. These could include:

• Are you sticking to your timetable?
• Are you staying to your budget?
• Are you getting side-tracked?
• Are you running up to many dead-ends?

You may be forced to take a step back and make some critical judgements about the progress of your research. If you are not achieving your goals, why not?

Be flexible. Take advantage of the unexpected. Adjust to dead ends. Follow unanticipated leads.

11. Presentation of the research.

Once you completed your investigation (gathered all your evidence and you have organised it, verified its authenticity and validated it) you will have to present it.

The results of your investigation could be presented in several ways:

(a) Written:

• Reports
• Essays
• Poems
• Newspaper articles

(b) Audio-visual

• Charts
• Graphics
• TV documentary
• Film
• Drawings
• Photographs
• Poster

(c ) Oral

• Speech
• Play

Within each of these types of presentation, there are different alternatives. For example, you could consider presenting the written component of your research by using any number of different text types:

• Description – to describe a person, place, object or event.
• Recount – to retell past events, usually in date order.
• Explanation – tells how (process) and why (reason) something occurred.
• Exposition – present one side of an issue.
• Information Report – to present information in a general rather than a specific subject.
• Discussion – to give both sides of the issue (for/against).

Historical research can be presented a variety of forms. The West Journal publishes historical research in the form of shorts stories for a popular readership. The West Journal Edition 1 vol 1 Spring 2021. (I Willis)

12. Acknowledge the sources of the evidence.

When you have used material and ideas that are not your own you must acknowledge them. If you do not this it is theft and is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is the theft of another person’s ideas or intellectual property.

Acknowledgement of sources may involve using:

• Footnotes
• Endnotes
• Bibliography
• Reference List
• Further reading

An acknowledgement will involve using a referencing system of some type, for example:

• Oxford
• Cambridge
• Chicago
• Harvard
• MLA (Modern Language Association of America)

The referencing system you chose will depend on your audience and other considerations. Most publications will put their requirements in a style guide.

13. Conclusion.

Finally, at the end of your investigation (historical research): did you find out the ‘truth’?

References and further reading.

Anderson, Mark & Paul Ashton, Australian History and Citizenship, South Yarra: MacMillan Education, 2000.

Black, Jeremy and Donald M MacRaild Studying History, 2nd Edition, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000.

Carr, EH, What is History? The George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures Delivered in the University of Cambridge, January-March 1961, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Pelican, 1964.

Clanchy, John and Brigid Ballard, Essay Writing For Students, A Guide for Arts and Social Science Students, Melbourne: Longman and Cheshire, 1981.

Coupe Sheena, Robert Coupe and Mary Andrew, Their Ghosts May Be Heard, Australia to 1900 2nd Edition, Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, 1994.

Eschuys, Joe Guest and Phelan, Discovering Australian History/Eschuys, Guest, Phelan, South Melbourne: MacMillan, 1996.

Mabbett, IW, Writing History Essays, A Student’s Guide, Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

McCullagh, C Behan, The Truth of History, London: Routledge, 1998.

Warren, John, History and Historians, in series Access to History, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1999.

Curthoys, Ann & John Docker, Is History Fiction? University of New South Wales: University of New South Wales Press, 2006.

Updated 30 Sept 2021; 21 April 2020