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In the Eye of the Beholder


The genesis of this book was my PhD thesis in the School of History at The Australian National University. Many people helped me along the way and I thank especially my supervisor, Tim Rowse, who applied his expert conceptual eye to the final product. I also thank my associate supervisors, Tom Griffiths and F B (Barry) Smith: Tom for his practical support and advice, and his encouragement and interest that continued into the completion of this book. His six-monthly ‘Morning Conversations’ brought together his many PhD candidates for discussion and camaraderie which supported and enriched our academic endeavours; and Barry for his eagle eye for precision and his skill for detail. I am immensely grateful to Tim, Tom and Barry for sharing their intellectual rigour and their deep historical knowledge.

I thank the visitors, students and staff at the Research School of Social Studies, ANU, for their friendship and encouragement and particularly Ann McGrath, director of the National Centre for Indigenous History, Gordon Briscoe, Margaret Steven, Marika Ainley (University of Victoria, Canada), Kirsty Douglas, Rani Kerin, John Thompson and Ingereth Macfarlane (then editor of Aboriginal History). To my former work colleagues at the Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, RSSS, ANU, thank you for accommodating so happily my part-time study. I am also very grateful to Jenny Sheehan, CartoGIS, ANU, for drawing my maps.

What would researchers do without the friendly and efficient staff of libraries and archives? I thank Andrew Sergeant, Mary Gosling and all the other cheerful and accommodating librarians who work in the scholarly haven of the Petherick Reading Room at the National Library of Australia. I also thank the librarians from the Chifley and Menzies libraries at ANU, AIATSIS and the State Library of New South Wales and the archivists from the Noel Butlin Archives Centre (and especially Pennie Pemberton who shared with me her expert knowledge of the Australian Agricultural Co.), and the State Records Authority of New South Wales, formerly at The Rocks, Sydney. Thanks also to Queensland Art Gallery’s Michael Hawker and Judy Gunning for permission and help in using the painting from Northern Journey: Conrad Martens in Early Queensland [online exhibition catalogue], Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2001.1

To my many friends in the Petherick Room thank you for your input and interest. My ‘intelligent lay reader’, the late Merv Palmer, also steered me safely through the subject of ships, shipping and all things nautical, being particularly helpful in the deciphering of sea charts to try to work out the ultimately unfathomable boat trips of Eliza Fraser.

Many people associated with the writers featured in this book, or with their homesteads and homes, have been generous with their time or hospitality. These included Fiona Mackenzie (whose family owned Trawalla from the 1920s) and Georgia Hamilton Scott (Katherine Kirkland’s English great-great-great-granddaughter), who adopted the role of ‘go-between’ with her mother, uncle, and grandmother Sheila Kirkland Wilson; Celia Burnham (born Scott) of Boninyong station; P F B Alsop (Geelong Historical Society) and Dorothy Konig (Ararat Historical Society); C D McConnel, his sister Diana Rogers (Mary McConnel’s great-great-granddaughter), and Susie Griffiths (Bulimba); Rose Scott Cowen’s grand-daughters Shirley McPherson and Judith Hayne, and especially her great-niece, Rosemary Eckel (Tambo); Dave Nugent (Tambo station); Melvyn Dales (Longford station), Ray Wilson (Moyen station), who would have taken me into Longford in his helicopter if the winds had been lighter, and Ivy Rayment (Jundah); and Marie McCulloch, Research and Education Officer, Queensland Family History Society, Albion.

In the publishing of this book, I am grateful to my manuscript reviewers, whose comments helped me improve the work. I thank Rani Kerin, the editor of the Aboriginal History monograph series, and Melanie Nolan for initial discussions. I am also very appreciative to the staff of ANU Press, particularly Dave Gardiner and Nausica Pinar, and I especially thank copy-editor Geoff Hunt for his superb assistance.

To my patient husband, Graham, thank you for sharing (if not taking over the bulk of) the driving to outback locations (and particularly on the highways teeming with kangaroos between Charleville and Longreach at sunset)! I dedicate the book to my children Drew, Gregour, Angie and Dave to remind them that it has happened!


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