In reality, the role of surveyors and cartographers throughout history was often far from peaceful. It was their initial explorations that paved the way for destructive waves of colonising armies and civilians. At each stage of mapping an area, clues are preserved about the priorities and prejudices of the person wielding the pencil, and those…[Read more]
This week, a farmer in the Belgian town of Erquelinnes caused an international ruckus when he moved a stone standing in his tractor’s path. This stone marked the boundary between Belgium and France. By moving it 2.29 metres, he expanded Belgium’s territory.
Talk to any surveyor, conveyance lawyer, or farmer in Tasmania today and you will hear stories of troublesome property boundaries that date back to the colonial period. These complaints are nothing new – from almost the beginning of the British colony, accusations were made against the Survey Office and the quality of its work. Two charges were…[Read more]
(non-refereed) For the Europeans at Risdon Cove, 16 October 1803 looked like a normal day for their fledgling camp. Normal, of course, being a relative term here. The site was probably bustling, as the newcomers set about making their presence permanent on the edge of the River Derwent. Without fanfare, the 29-year-old Irishman James Meehan…[Read more]
When the British landed on the island of Van Diemen’s Land in 1803, they found lands seemingly prepared for them. Abundant open plains drew the newcomers further inland, attracted by the prospects of further pastoral and agricultural success. What they neither understood nor acknowledged were the thousands of years of cultivation prior to their a…[Read more]
The phenomenon of settlements moving away from their churches, towards the edges of surrounding commons is known as ‘common-edge drift’. Existing literature emphasises the ‘isolated church’, but this not the only indication of common-edge drift – an ‘embedded’ church will often have been constructed after drift, within the new settlement. U…[Read more]
This article discusses the benefits of family history as a gentle entry point for individuals who ‘don’t like history’, with reference to the social history skills that are built into family history research.
On November 2, 1816, Charles Repeat, “a poor old man”, was driving his master’s cart along the short route between Hobart and New Town in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He accidentally drove over a small tree stump, and was thrown from the cart and killed immediately.
In our first blog post of the year, Dr Imogen Wegman provides a guide to tour guiding. Imogen, who recently completed her PhD in History at the University of Tasmania, talks about the joys and frustrations of leading tour groups, explains how it can improve your skills as a scholar and communicator, and shares some selections from her collection…[Read more]
A poster outlining the preliminary work of Imogen Wegman’s PhD thesis. Submitted to the Graduate Research Conference, University of Tasmania, 2014.
The Norfolk landscape has continuously changed and developed over the centuries as farms have grown and amalgamated, towns expanded, and coastlines eroded. Although post-medieval alterations and additions have influenced the county’s landscape, the settlement patterns were created earlier, in the medieval period. One characteristic feature of t…[Read more]
In 1957, Clinton Hartley Grattan, one of Australia’s most important foreign observers, wrote of the shadow of the “urban” in legends of the Australian “bush”.1 He argued that the early frontiers of Australian settlement were frontiers of men with private capital, or entrepreneurs, and those frontiers thus carried more elements of the urban tha…[Read more]
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