Paradise of Dissent: South Australia, 1829-1857

Paradise of Dissent: South Australia, 1829-1857

Paradise of Dissent: South Australia, 1829-1857

Paradise of Dissent: South Australia, 1829-1857

Excerpt

At its centenary of responsible government (1957) South Australia is well advanced on a plan of industrial expansion. Sponsored by government, private enterprise and trade unions, the plan was deliberately adopted in 1934 after depression had convinced the leaders of the 'desert state' that it could not depend on its agricultural fringe for permanent prosperity and full employment. The plan, like many preceding it, has been carried out with a single-minded resolution which is the continuing feature of the state's history and its most distinguishing mark. Other parts of Australia may muddle through in the best British tradition: South Australians zealously attach themselves to some conscious theoretical purpose. Goals vary, individuals falter, details go awry, but South Australia sticks persistently to its current plan. Thus it was in the beginning....

One object of this book is to show why the foundation plans were made and how they were implemented by men bred in opposition and inspired by the moralistic convictions of a frustrated English minority. Their stubborn determination has been the enduring legacy of the pioneer generation.

Another object is -- by being thoroughly provincial -- to broaden the view of Australian history. The short past of this young nation has been seen too often through eastern eyes. If this book provides material with which the balance can be redressed, it will have done its work. For though it may lack antiquity and ancient glories, Australia has a history -- human, vigorous, peculiar and more than Sydney or Melbourne with large.

Third, the much disparaged umbilical cord linking colony with mother country warrants attention. Certainly, much has been written of eighteenth century Britain as a background for the penal settlements, but what of the background for free settlement? For too long British and Australian history have been kept in separate compartments.

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