Download Full Text (41.7 MB)
This is a social history of an Australian region. Its theme is the changing experiences of children growing up. The history of the lllawarra region of New South Wales captures many of the developments and fluctuations of Australian social life over the past two centuries. From the displacement of the original aboriginal inhabitants of the early twentieth century through the rural and mining settlements of colonial Australia to the industrial development and changing composition of the population in the twentieth century, living in lllawarra has generally been a microcosm of the wider world of being an Australian. In particular, much of the focus of the white settlers of the past one hundred and fifty years has been on 'growth' and preparing what they thought was a better world for their children. By looking at the lives of children and their families in the 'everyday' and other circumstances we can discover as much, if not more, about social and other relationships than by examining more public institutions such as parliament or trade unions, all of which are dominated by adults. It is not always easy to find out about families, children and 'everyday life' in the past. For the nineteenth century we have relied on traditional documentary sources such as newspapers, diaries, published accounts of observers and the archives of such public institutions as schools. We have also used, where appropriate, the census and the records of the Registrar-General's Department for figures on marriages and births. For the twentieth century we have drawn on the personal memories of many who grew up in the lllawarra region, and who were prepared to share their experiences with us. By using oral history it was possible to get behind the general figures, on such matters as school attendance and housing growth and to understand what it was like to be young in the previous age. The book is organised into five chapters. We look first of all at the arrival of European settlers, their impact on the aboriginal tribes of the area, and the general pattern of growth in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the next two chapters we have chosen contrasting environments for growing up in nineteenth century lllawarra, looking closely at family life and schooling in the rural settlement of mid to late nineteenth century Kiama and the mining village of Bulli. In our third chapter we consider the slow transformation of the region into the industrial heartland of New South Wales and the consequences that this had in many ways for children growing up in the period from the turn of the century to the beginning of the Second World War. In our final chapter we examine some of the multiplicity of changes that have overwhelmed the region since 1945, particularly the arrival of new waves of overseas immigrants who have brought new traditions and expectations for the young.
University of Wollongong, 172p
Mitchell, Winifred and Sherington, Geoffrey, (1984), Growing up in the Illawarra, University of Wollongong, 172p.