Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fifth Series, Vol. 6 (1956), pp. 1-19.
This is a ground-breaking paper by one of the earliest leading scholars in local history. The context of the early sixteenth century might appear to have little relevance, but the themes of urban development and its social impact on the human experience is the same for late and early nineteenth century Brisbane local history, albeit keeping in mind very distinctive differences between the political system of the different centuries. It must be borne in mind that the late nineteenth century was obsessed with medieval romanticism, and the questions of what historians of the era called the “Agrarian Revolution” spoke to the loss felt in the Romantic Movement. Dr Rod Fisher, an historian at the University of Queensland in 1980s and 1990s, pioneered academic-based local history in the former Centre of Applied History. Fisher was also a specialist in Tutor and Stuart History, and thus, represented the British model of bridging sixteenth and seventh century English history with contemporary local history. The model is nicely summed up by Hoskins in the opening paragraph:
The English historians have concentrated almost exclusively upon the constitutional and legal aspects of town development. They have concerned themselves with the borough rather than the town, with legal concepts rather than topography or social history, just as the agrarian historians have been pre- occupied with the manor rather than the village. Local historians of towns and villages have, with two or three notable exceptions, followed suit in this ill-balanced emphasis. The result is that we know surprisingly little about the economy, social structure, and physical growth of English towns before the latter part of the eighteenth century.
The challenge for the reader is to apply the type of analysis Hoskins demonstrated for sixteenth century England in local history of late nineteenth and twentieth century Queensland.
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