People and Politics in Regional New South Wales: 1856 to the 1950s
People and Politics in Regional New South Wales, Volume One - 1856 to the 1950s, recounts 100 years of democratic government, with members of parliament elected under a franchise, which for men, was one of the most extensive in the world. It tells how electors and members in far-flung constituencies exercised their responsibilities, how they met the challenges posed by the vast distances, by the limitations of 19th century communications, by war, by Depression, and by continuous economic and social change. It is initially the story of the more distant constituencies choosing a Sydney-based grandee to do service on their behalf. Time passes and local members are elected to represent local interests or to combine with neighbours or with constituencies with like interests, to send a phalanx of MPs to represent those interests in common. It is the story of the limitations of power - "electors propose, circumstances dispose" - and of prejudice, religious bigotry and intrigue. It is the story of the men who exercised serious power at a local level and their realisation that determining representation in the Parliament was intrinsic to their power and influence locally. It is the story of farmers and graziers taking possession of "their" constituencies, usually in the conservative interest. And working men, properly organised, challenging that power when they enjoyed a critical mass in industries like mining, the railways, and shearing. It is the story of changes in representation as towns became cities as a result of industrialisation and the traffic through ports. It is a work of groundbreaking scholarship.Volume Two can also be purchased as an individual Volume, or as part of the Two Volume Set. A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.
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