[Originally posted in October 2013 as “Through Space AND Time”]
I’m just using Thursday as an excuse to repost these images from my defunct blog. I took these pictures during my research trips to Australian and New Zealand during the summer of 2013. Taking my inspiration from the 2012 NiCHE summer photo contest, it had become a sort-of hobby to compose these photos while away on research. It was a great way to take in some local history while visiting all these places. I did my best to come up with thoughtful and informative captions.
Oriental Parade, Wellington. These United States Marines resting during a route march on Wellington’s Oriental Parade mark a transitory phase in New Zealand’s diplomatic history. At the outbreak of the Second World War, British forces including the New Zealand Expeditionary Force concentrated on the defence of the Home Islands and the Suez Canal. With the NZEF in North Africa, Japan’s declaration of war in December 1941 left New Zealand vulnerable to attack. The arrival of American Marines to New Zealand in 1942 marked the beginning of the small dominion’s transition from the British to American sphere of influence which culminated in the ANZUS Treaty of 1951. Environmental and pacifist movements in New Zealand were the undoing of the ANZUS Treaty, however, when the Labour Government announced in 1984 that it would enforce a Nuclear-Free Zone within New Zealand. These measures banned warships driven by nuclear-reactors and required allied navies to disclose the presence – or admit the absence – of nuclear warheads from warships entering New Zealand waters. The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act of 1987 strained diplomatic relations with both Britain and the United States but won New Zealand independence from international military obligations.
Post Office Square, Wellington. The wharves of Wellington Harbour were the site of the 1913 General Strike. The origins and legacy of the strike are still debated by historians, but the event remains one of the largest and most violent episodes of class struggle in New Zealand’s history. The transformation of the wharves from an industrial site into a tourist location reflects how New Zealand’s shifting patterns of commerce to favour the tourist industry have changed patterns of work and employment, as well as the cultural significance of certain places.
Basin Reserve Cricket Grounds, Wellington. The barren slopes of Mt Victoria behind the group of Maori performing a Haka at the Basin Reserve Cricket Crounds (circa 1900) provide a glimpse into the turbulent environmental history of New Zealand. As pastoralism and the dairy industry boomed with the advent of refrigerated shipping, large tracts of land were deforested in favour of pastures, while non-native grasses were introduced for grazing. The effect of these aggressive farming practices were not fully understood until the 1970s, when scientists quantified the alarming rate of erosion on New Zealand’s slopes. Efforts have been made to curtail these effects by adapting grazing practices to allow for the reintroduction of native grasses, while the establishment of natural reserves, such as around Mt Victoria, have provided space for reforestation.
Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, Hobart TAS. The Cascades Factory was a penal institution for British women who transported to Van Diemen’s Land during the 19th Century. The austerity of the current site reveals the effacement of Australia’s convict past and the struggling resurgence of this chapter of Australian history. None of the original buildings remain, yet the compound has been granted the status and protection of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The minimalist restoration that only mark the contour of building floor plans reflects the challenges of reinstating a historic site dedicated to women convicts in a country defined by masculine archetypes such as the bush hero, the Anzac, and the athlete.
Taken at Franklin Square, Hobart TAS. The modes of transportation have changed significantly in the last 100 years, yet Macquarie Street remains an important thoroughfare for public traffic in central Hobart.
St James Park, Sydney NSW. Memorials are designed to look timeless. Pairing this archival photograph of construction workers building the Pool of Reflection in front of Sydney’s Anzac Memorial with a contemporary photograph provides a reminder of how recently this structure was incorporated into the grounds of St James Park.
Monument Hill, Freemantle WA. Memorials to the First World War have become part of the Australian landscape. The bodies of soldiers of the British Empire who were killed overseas were not repatriated for burial so in the centre of every city, suburb, and small town in Australia one can find an obelisk, plinth, or stone soldier on which the names of local volunteers are listed. These cenotaphs act as a site of mourning that could connect grieving families to the absent grave of their loved ones buried overseas. The pairing of archival and contemporary photographs creates a third link with the generation of grieving mothers and fathers who erected these memorials during the interwar years, but have themselves passed away of old age. Sourced from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia and reproduced with permission of the Library Board of Western Australia.
Forrest Place, Perth WA. Bordered by the central post office and the railway station, the proximity of these traditional transportation and communication hubs has made Forrest Place the social centre of Perth. Despite the decreasing importance of the post and railways, Forrest Place remains an important public space because of its transformation into a commercial district. These archival photos capture one phase of the physical transformation of Forrest Place during the 1930s, while contemporary photographs reveal the plaza has retained its cultural gravity as a shopping district. These changes reflect Perth’s growth from being the small, isolated administrative capital of Western Australia into a bustling metropolis on the edge of Australia’s mining boom. Sourced from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia and reproduced with permission of the Library Board of Western Australia.