The Evidence that the History of Urban Sociology has not gone forward in the State of Queensland Except for Marginalized Academics and Unpaid Scholars in the Fields

June 16, 2024
Dear Friends, I have attempted to demonstrate over the past years that our political leaders have not been thinking deeply and accurately. They have been thinking in shallow political terms and in skewed claims (falsehoods). I am not alone in these claims but I am the Queensland cognition historian who has explained the set of […]

Dear Friends,

I have attempted to demonstrate over the past years that our political leaders have not been thinking deeply and accurately. They have been thinking in shallow political terms and in skewed claims (falsehoods). I am not alone in these claims but I am the Queensland cognition historian who has explained the set of problems from the applied fields of epistemology and ontology. I am not paid, and I am now broke, and have risked all on the global cutting-edge scholarship for Queensland.




On a Sunday morning doing research on the centenary of the Greater Brisbane Plan and the election of the first Greater Brisbane Council, I came across this informative article published in a German journal; the Germans are generally the better intellectual historians, in my humble opinion (it seems they invented field from the days of Kant and Hegel). The article was published in 1955 and it is relevant to what is happening in 2024! Spiral Historiography.




King, H. W. (1955). The Scope and Nature of Urban Research in Australia (Wesen und Grenzen der stadtgeographischen Forschung in Australien). Erdkunde9(4), 317–320.



“Though there is a large and growing body of general literature relating to the towns and cities of Australia, urban geographical research in the continent has been much neglected compared with what has been done in Britain, Europe and the United States of America.

Popular works of book length on towns vary from collections of excellent camera studies with many photographs of special interest and value to the geographer 1), to descriptive 2), anecdotal 3), and antiquarian historical 4) writings; in a more serious vein many books relate specifically to topics like the history of individual centres 5) and particular facets of town and city life 6), and of course the detailed reports of several town planning bodies have also been published 7).





The descriptive studies relate principally to the evolution of individual towns or cities and to their urban morphology and function: thus, among the latter we have Zierer’s studies of Brisbane, Newcastle, Melbourne, Sydney, Broken Hill 11) and Rowe’s examination of the form and function of the rural town of Murwillumbah 12); in the former, the origins of Canberra as a capital, and the evolution of mining centres (Byng, Broken Hill) and ports (Port Kembla, Whyalia, Brisbane) are traced by various writers 13). Some of them besides being brief give only a thin treatment of their chosen topics, and others like Zierer’s (written after a lightning-like reconnaissance) very obviously indicate that the centre have not been studied in detail, at least in the field.” [my 2024 emphasis; has anything changed?]






1) Such as Frank Hurley’s studies of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, for example, Sydney and its Resorts, Sydney, 1948.
2) Cf., W. S. Jevons, ‘A Social Survey of Australian Cities 1858’, MS. in Mitchell Library, Sydney. W. Denning, Capital City (Canberra), Sydney. 1938.
3) Cf., C. H. Bertie, Stories of Old Sydney, Sydney, n. d./. Gale, Canberra, History and Legends, Queanbeyan, 1927.
4) Cf., W. A. Bayley, Lilac City, The Story of Goulburn, Goulburn, 1954. W. A. Bayley, Border City ? City of Albury, Albury, 1954.
5) T. Worsnop, The City of Adelaide, Its Origin and Progress, Adelaide, 1878. H. V. Nunn, Maryborough (Victoria) 1854?1954, The Story of a Century, Melbourne, 1954. G. Forbes, History of Sydney, Sydney, 1926. A. R. Macleod, The Transformation of Manellae (Manilla, N. S. W.), Manilla, 1949. C. H. Coombe, History of Gawler, Adelaide, 1920. C. Daley, The History of South Melbourne, Melbourne, 1940. F. Watson, A Brief History of Canberra, Canberra, 1927. R. Wyatt, History of Goulburn, Goulburn, 1941. D. Wild, The Tale of a City, Geelong 1850-1950, Melbourne, 1950.
9) Colin Clark, ‘The Economic Functions of a City in Relation to its Size’, Econometrica (Chicago), Vol. 13, No. 2, 1945, pp. 97?113; ‘Land Settlement in Queensland’, Econ. News (Bulletin of Queensland Bureau of Industry), Vol. 19, Nos. 7?8, 1950, pp. 1?8; ‘The Urban Population Capacity of Australia’, Paper read to Section G, ANZAAS (Brisbane Meeting) May, 1951.
11) C. M. Zierer, ‘Brisbane — River Metropolis of Queensland’, Econ. Geogr., Vol. 17, 1941, pp. 327 –45. ‘Industrial Area of Newcastle, Australia’, Econ. Geogr., Vol. 17, 1941, pp. 31 — 49. ‘Melbourne as a Functional Centre’, Ann. Ass. Amer. Geogr., Vol. 31, 1941, pp. 251?288.  ‘Land Use Differentiation in Sydney’, Ann. Amer. Geogr., Vol. 32, 1942, pp 255 –308. Broken Hill, Australia’s Greatest Mining Camp’, Ann. Ass. Amer. Geogr., Vol. 30, 1940, pp. 83 –108.
12) J. B. Rowe, ‘The Form and Function of the Rural Township’, Aust. Geogr., Vol. 4, No. 8, 1944, pp. 217 — 25.
13) Griffith Taylor, ‘The Evolution of a Capital (Canberra)’ Geogr. J. Vol. 43, 1914, pp. 378 — 395 and pp. 536 –554; Una R. Emanuel, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Mining Village of Byng’, Aust. Geogr., Vol. 1, Part 2, 1929, pp. 79 — 81; Megan C. Allen, ‘Broken Hill, N. S. W.’, Geogr., Vol. 39, 1954, pp. 13 — 20; E. A. Crago & A. G. Lowndes, ‘Port Kembla and its Harbour’, Aust. Geogr., Vol. 1, Part 3, 1931, pp. 50 — 58; J. B. Rowe, ‘Whyalla, A Study of Geography in the Making’, Aust. Geogr., 20 Vol. 5, No. 7, 1948, pp. 176 — 182; L. J. Jay, ‘The Origins and Early Growth of Brisbane, Geography, Vol. 37. 1952, pp. 166 – 178.




From detailed analysis for the article, from the standpoint of 2024, these are the facts:



  1. There has not been, for Queensland, an economist like Colin Clark, nor a geographer like C. M. Zierer, since the days of Colin Clark and C. M. Zierer (i.e., mid-century);
  2. The way Colin Clark and C. M. Zierer led the fields of the Queensland economy and geography is outdated, and yet town planning continues to run on those patterns with rhetoricallips-serviceto global shifts in the knowledge-bases (with the education system politically over-obsessed with technic); the critics being the academic urban sociologists and the unpaid scholars in the fields of history, sociology, theories of education, and philosophy.
  3. These are not merely broad criticisms that the Government, Queensland Education, and The University of Queensland can ignore. There are detailed criticisms on the failures in thinking. For example, and this is only one example of many, the work of Dr Margaret Cook overtakes the work of C. M. Zierer, and yet her criticisms on town planning, in relation to the Bremer-Brisbane River system, and water management for the City of Brisbane are being largely ignored by the powers-that-be.



I accuse the Queensland Government and The University of Queensland of intellectual corruption. There is no evidence (that is, “negative knowledge”, a legitimate area of investigation in epistemology) that institutions do not have the hooks of developers and other corporate bad-players (the positive transparency is not there) in their decision-making. What this ‘negative knowledge’ means is that, in not knowing what should be known, the powers-that-be can arrogantly dismiss the otherwise clearly understood problems in their decision-making. In knowledge and learning that is not legitimate.




I make this accusation with nothing to lose. This weekend my home loan account has gone to zero and I am in danger of losing my home. It seems the Premier and the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Queensland has not understood in my campaign that 1) ignoring persons with nothing to lose is dangerous to their reputation, 2) it would be better to have a significant critic inside the tent than pissing outside, and 3) it would be so much easier, both intellectually and politically, if I was simply offered employment, or a contract, to the standard of my knowledge-base and skills.



If my friends wish to help, ask the Premier and the Vice-Chancellor, what their response is to my request. I think that the Premier and the Vice-Chancellor have switched off the listening capacity.



Kind regards,

Neville Buch


Professional Historians Australia (Queensland)

Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES)

Convenor, Sociology of Education Thematic Group, The Australian Sociological Association (TASA).

President, Southern Brisbane Suburban Forum (SBSF).

Director, Brisbane Southside History Network (BSHN).

MPHA (Qld), Ph.D. (History) UQ., Grad. Dip. Arts (Philosophy) Melb., Grad. Dip. (Education) UQ.

Call: 0416 046 429

ABN: 86703686642

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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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