John Walker

John Waller is a science historian at the University of Melbourne, and his new book is a study of the life and times of one Robert Blincoe. Though he is hardly a household name, Blincoe’s career is interesting in that he is the first factory worker in Britain’s Industrial Revolution whose biography can be reconstructed in some detail.

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The major problem with this approach to history, as Fitzgerald treads it, is that he takes the preoccupations and perspectives of the twentieth century Sunshine State and implants them in a colonial Queensland context. This achieved, Fitzgerald can point to the continuities of Queensland history. I am reminded of my dog, who buries his bones and considers himself smart when he succeeds in digging them up.

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