Drafting of the book, Horizon Worldviews in Queensland: Re-Imaging the Society Beyond the ‘Queensland Character’

The ‘Queensland character’ will be argued here as a literary device, both inside and outside of Queensland, which of more later times has become a political device for various motivations. Hence, the argument here is for a de-masking of its propaganda value and use in all levels of cultural, societal, and ideological politics. It is a phase, in the propaganda, that is used for both for the interests of Queensland ‘identity’ and against it, as valuated by diverse parties and individuals.


For a phrase which is commonly used in the Australian idiom, there has been little apparent attempt to analyse its meaning or references. There are also have been lost opportunities for wider analysis in philosophic-based disciplines. As recently as 2007, there have been investigations into the concept of ‘character’ but no attention has been given to the Queensland context, that is, informing from locality and time. Peter O’Conner produced a doctoral thesis ‘The mediation of temperament by character in the prediction of workplace outcomes’ at the University of Queensland, in the psychology discipline.[i] The focus of the thesis was broadly organisational psychology with attention to biological models of personality. Dimensions of culture, society, and importantly, that of history, are ignored. Such biological models are supposed to pay attention to the framing of time, as evolutionary theory, but behavioural psychologists are still lost in an a-historical mindset, oblivious to the modern conceptions of ‘the individual’, persons, identity, and so forth. It restrains their investigations in prejudicial schemas.  This is an old insight, to quote:


Many recent studies in the social and behavioral sciences consider personality a powerful influence on man’s activities and institutions. The difficulty with the inclusion of personality in regional geography or any other science is that personality is both described and derived in many different ways. There are many ways of describing the personality of the individual, but three basic elements of most descriptions are motives, self-view, and world-view. The description of collective personality is much more complex, because it may either be derived statistically from the description of a number of individuals (modal personality) or it may be inferred from culture (national character). Moreover, culture-derived personality descriptions may be based on two antithetical assumptions. Despite these difficulties, the variety of disciplines and applied fields which geographers typically draw upon for the purposes of regional geography and which now seriously include some facet of personality as a dynamic causative element is growing. Some examples are regional economics, political science, jurisprudence, sociology, and foreign relations. The regional geographer can effectively make use of studies in these fields if he can put aside, at least for the time, the difficult problem of the effect of environment upon personality formation.[ii]


It comes from the 1968 abstract of Robert Campbell for a paper in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, called ‘Personality as an Element of Regional Geography’. Campbell’s approach is similar to the research here on the ‘Queensland character’, except, as will be shown, ‘character’ was not necessarily tied to personality and there were many other references which translated the personable concept to a type of culture material, inferring that physical material was infused in some way by the culture. For the philosophic historian and regional geographer, this is more than a difficult problem which can be put aside.

[i] Peter O’Connor, ‘The mediation of temperament by character in the prediction of workplace outcomes’, Ph.D. thesis, The University of Queensland, December 2007.

[ii] Robert D Campbell, “Personality as an Element of Regional Geography,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 58, no. 4, 1968, p. 748.

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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.

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