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F. K. Crowley

Forfatter af A new history of Australia

21+ Værker 137 Medlemmer 2 Anmeldelser

Værker af F. K. Crowley

A new history of Australia (1974) — Redaktør; Bidragyder — 48 eksemplarer
Modern Australia in documents (1973) 8 eksemplarer
Modern Australia in documents (1973) 3 eksemplarer
Modern Australia (1978) 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Australia : a social and political history (1955) — Bidragyder — 51 eksemplarer
The government of the Australian states (1960) — Bidragyder — 2 eksemplarer

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In some ways the most important of the handful of books which aim for an objective overview of Western Australia before 1960. Yet at the same time this is a work that probably most rewards the researcher rather than the general reader.

Crowley's is an expertly researched, appropriately dense, comprehensive volume that examines Western Australia from the first Dutch sailors to the years after WWII. (It was published in 1960.) It's far more engaging than JS Battye's 1924 work (the first of its kind) but of course is working with more knowledge, more access to it, and simply more history to begin with! Yet we must bear in mind that WA's population was only just above 100,000 in 1900, and had only just hit 700,000 by the year this book was written. The history is constantly one of discovery, slow progress, and provincial steps, which limits the interest for the general reader. While the first third of the book is especially rewarding, once we hit the 20th century it's inevitable that Crowley has to focus on the minutiae of history that aren't always (or often) hugely relevant anymore. The fact that he can take the time to mention whenever a new school (public or private) is founded or when suburbs incorporate is a good clue as to what he was working with, in this admittedly chunky volume. (He opens one chapter by telling us that the most "spectacular" event of the 1920s in WA was the growth of the wheat industry; a true fact, perhaps, but not one that enlivens the reader for the chapter ahead!) This has its benefits sometimes, though, especially when it comes to talking about government. Many of the Wikipedia articles of the early Premiers are quite brief, often combining raw, uninteresting stats with a certain level of modern sensibilities (how nice/not nice they were to Aboriginal people, what they felt about the monarchy, etc) - which is all well and good, but Crowley is writing at a period when eyewitnesses still live, and is able to give a bit more insight into the politics of the time. Much of it is irrelevant now in any real way, but it gives a better insight than you'll get from a modern volume that - inevitably - can't properly convey people from this period as, well, real people.

For the general reader, I recommend either Geoffrey Bolton's (very) short history, or the bulkier volume edited by CT Stannage, which is a remarkably impressive overview of the same period. Where Crowley falls down is perhaps generational, and it's where Stannage picks up: looking more into the individuals and the social impacts, which were simply not what most historians of Crowley's generation were trained to examine. There are still a heckuva lot of wheat and sheep statistics here. Crowley of course is writing before the advent of 'social history', although he acknowledges here that there is much research still to be done on ordinary lives - he doesn't have access to vast repositories, let alone online storehouses, of personal letters. So inevitably it is a "great man" school of thought. At the same time I would say he is insightful on the 'Aboriginal issue', of course not in exploring any consequences of colonialism as an overarching theme, but certainly on recognising the many unfair or contradictory situations that happened, and acknowledging the point of view of the Aboriginal tribes throughout the 19th century who were (more often than not) the ones hard-done by. There's nothing unpleasantly archaic here, and certainly a sterling attempt at objectively viewing the clash of cultures.

But to be clear, this is a quintessential volume. The four works mentioned above are the only serious works to cover the overall history of this state prior to 1950, and all have their place. Crowley is very good for stats and for trying to place events into a series of linked narratives within each timeframe. Well worth it, but only if you know what you're looking for.
… (mere)
therebelprince | Apr 21, 2024 |
John Forrest is a giant in Western Australian history. This biography of the first part of his life was never followed by by part two; a pity.
Big John Forrest 1847 - 1918 : A Founding Father of the Commonwealth of Australia, published by UWA Press in 2000, may have been attempt to cover the latter years.
robeik | Dec 23, 2010 |

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Associated Authors

A. G. L. Shaw Contributor
G. C. Bolton Contributor
Heather Radi Contributor
W. J. Hudson Contributor
Ian Turner Contributor
Michael Roe Contributor
T. H. Irving Contributor
J. R. Robertson Contributor
B. K. De Garis Contributor
J. J. Auchmuty Contributor


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