History in the Pub

An historic pub, open fires, beer and a lecture on settlement society from a eminent Historian. A lovely way to spend a Sunday. Today my mum, aunt and I went along to the Albion Hotel in Cottesloe to listen to James Belich give a talk based on his new book Replenishing the Earth. The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939. It was fascinating. Belich is a New Zealand Historian who, with this epic work, tracks the anglo settlement patterns across the world and the reasons for the explosive growth that occurred. He argues that contrary to popular understanding – especially here in Australia and particularly in WA – our cities did not boom on gold, wheat or wool. They certainly helped, he says, but these booms were already underway and would have happened anyway. The sheer breadth of his statistical data and insight into contemporary commentary provides the necessary robust evidence for these claims. I came away rethinking the way I understand the experience of the individuals I’m researching in this wider landscape. Really, the best outcome for a lecture.

This event, organised by the History Council, kicks off a week of lectures at the AHA National Conference here in Perth. I’ll be at every day with bells on and am sure I’ll come away with more than a few gems of insight and thrilling discoveries.


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