This blog aims to research the social history of The Shire of Alberton and the Great War.
At the time of World War One, the Shire of Alberton was recognised as the site of Gippsland’s colonial beginning. John Adams (1990, p.1) in his detailed history of the Shire of Alberton, wrote:
With the establishment of the townships of Port Albert, Alberton and Tarraville, the real development of Gippsland began – these three townships between them formed the gateway to the district for most pastoral settlers, the pioneer townspeople, the miners and selectors.
The status of the district as the heartland of the original pioneers was invoked repeatedly during WW1.The soldiers joining the AIF were championed as the sons of the pioneers; and Gippsland’s history was said to be repeating itself: the pioneer in fact became the soldier.
The blog has been set up to run in parallel with the centenary of WW1. It is hoped that it will extend and deepen our understanding of the impact of the War, not just on this particular Gippsland community but on the nation as a whole.
As an exercise in social history, the blog recognises that the past is neither simple nor ever simply iconic. Rather, the past was and remains as complex and contested as the present.
To set a sharp social history focus at the very start consider the question: Whose War was it anyway? It might appear flippant, but because the question points to the fundamentals of loyalty, sacrifice, fairness and identity it goes to the very core of what WW1 meant to those who lived through it.
The Power of the Blog
While historical research is still finding its way with blogs there are some obvious strengths. The blog promotes the research to a far greater audience. As well, the blog can readily provide for critical comments from others who are interested in and/or researching similar issues or topics; and in this particular blog comments that add to the research are most welcome.
The blog also provides the opportunity for shifts, subtle or dramatic, in the research itself. The blog is a dynamic instrument created over an extended period. It is not a ‘closed book’. It does not represent the finished work. Rather, this form of ‘publication’ is open, ongoing and evolving. And as this blog is an exercise in ongoing historical research make sure to check out the Updates page on a regular basis.
Note: The Shire of Alberton, proclaimed as the first shire in Gippsland in 1864, was incorporated within the new Shire of Wellington in 1994.
Adams, J 1990, From these Beginnings: History of the Shire of Alberton (Victoria), Alberton Shire Council, Yarram, Victoria.