The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Book was launched during the Newcastle Writers Festival held at the Newcastle Town Hall on the 22 March 2015.


View the RADICAL NEWCASTLE ALBUM on flickr here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157651117525408/


View the FULL VIDEO of the Radical Book Launch Here:


View VERA DEACON @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch


View PROFESSOR JOHN MAYNARD @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch


View DR DANIELA HEIL @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch

View PROFESSOR CAROLINE MCMILLEN
LAUNCH THE RADICAL NEWCASTLE BOOK

View DR JAMES BENNETT’S Vote of Thanks

View THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

View THE MOST MENTIONS AWARD @ The Radical Newcastle Launch


PHOTOGRAPHIC STILL FROM THE VIDEO

Dr Nancy Cushing welcomed and introduced the speakers including Mrs Vera Deacon, Professor John Maynard, Dr Daniela Heil.

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Mrs Vera Deacon @ The Radical Newcastle Launch  Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Mrs Vera Deacon @ The Radical Newcastle Launch Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Dr Daniela Heil @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr Daniela Heil @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Vera on the future of radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Vera on the future of radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Vera on the future of Radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor Caroline McMillen @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

VC McMillen launches the book @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

VC Pofessor Caroline McMillen launches the book @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr James Bennett Vote of Thanks @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr James Bennett Vote of Thanks @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Following a brief Question Time, Dr Nancy Cushing introduced the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Caroline McMillen, to officially launch the book.

Fellow editor, and Radical Newcastle creator Dr James Bennett delivered closing remarks and a vote of thanks.

A Public Meeting (see full video above) was called on the 16 March 2015 in the Newcastle Town Hall to discuss the Final Report of the NSW Parliamentary Enquiry into Newcastle and Hunter Planning.

Public Meeting - Panorama - Newcastle Town Hall 16th March 2015 (Photo: Gionni Di Gravio)

Public Meeting – Panorama – Newcastle Town Hall 16th March 2015 (Photo: Gionni Di Gravio)

The meeting was convened by Margaret Henry and chaired by Paul Scott.

Is the Rail Cut Legal? Poster (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Is the Rail Cut Legal? Poster (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Speakers included (in order of appearance):

Nuatali Nelmes – Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle (Australia)

Nuatali Nelmes - Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle (Australia) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Nuatali Nelmes – Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle (Australia) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)


Jodie Harrison – Mayor of the City of Lake Macquarie


David Shoebridge MLC – Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council

David Shoebridge MLC - Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

David Shoebridge MLC – Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)


The Hon. Lynda Voltz MLC, Member of the NSW Legislative Council

[https://youtu.be/VnsiGY-2KDY]


Brian Ladd – NICRA (Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance)


Joan Dawson – SOR (Save Our Rail)

Joan Dawson - SOR (Save Our Rail) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Joan Dawson – SOR (Save Our Rail) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)


Kim Ostinga – Friends of King Edward Park


Michelle Burdekin – Whitebridge Community Alliance


David Blythe – Hunter Concerned Citizens


Cr Michael Osbourne – Greens Councillor City of Newcastle (Australia)

Cr Michael Osbourne - Greens Councillor City of Newcastle (Australia) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Cr Michael Osbourne – Greens Councillor City of Newcastle (Australia) (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)


Jenny Aitchinson – Labor Candidate for Maitland

Milton Caine – Christian Democratic Oarty Newcastle

Tim Crakanthorp, MP – NSW State Member for Newcastle

With a selection of questions from the evening including:

Pat from Bulga

The Hunter Deserves Better (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

The Hunter Deserves Better (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Doug Lithgow and Gionni Di Gravio (Photo Credit: Ann Hardy)

Radical Newcastle Launch-Invitation

Radical Newcastle Launch-Invitation

It is with great pleasure that we invite you all to the much anticipated launch of Radical Newcastle, to be held as part of the Newcastle Writers’ Festival on 22 March 2015.

We begin with a series of talks by Vera Deacon, Daniela Heil and John Maynard in the Newcastle Town Hall Concert Hall at 3 pm and then move downstairs for the launch by University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor Caroline McMillen at 4 pm to be followed by light refreshments.

This is a free session so please distribute this invitation to all your colleagues, friends, family and relatives.

You can see our session in the Writers’ Festival program here: http://www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au/sunday

Copies of the book will be available for purchase on the day.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Nancy and James

Dr Nancy Cushing
Senior Lecturer in History
Program Convenor for the BA and BA (Hons)

Co-editor, Radical Newcastle: Unearthing the radical past and present of Newcastle and the Hunter Region
(forthcoming, 2015: NewSouth Publishing)
http://www.radicalnewcastle.wordpress.com

Melanie and Radical Newcastle

Melanie and Radical Newcastle

Radical Newcastle Front Cover

Radical Newcastle Front Cover

Well we never thought this day would come. It has been years in the making, and a struggle of epic proportions, that has seen hopes dashed upon the rocks of academia on many an occasion. But the perseverance of our University’s historians Dr Nancy Cushing and Dr James Bennett, with the sustained attention of expat Professor Erik Eklund, has finally produced Radical Newcastle the book.

Radical Newcastle is a collection of essays by leading scholars, local historians and present day radical activistss that documents both the iconic events of the region’s radical past, and less well-known actions seeking social justice for workers, women, Aboriginal people and the environment.

The book will be officially launched during 2015’s Hunter Writers Festival in the Newcastle Town Hall on 22nd March at 3pm, where it will be available for sale to the wider community.

It will be launched by the UON Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen, at a session hosted by Dr Nancy Cushing, and featuring local identities Mrs Vera Deacon, Daniela Heil and Professor John Maynard.

For Radical Newcastle writers and contributors, who provided articles that couldn’t fit into the book, or had to be edited down, and to those who didn’t make the ‘deadline’, please remember that you can always send us the full version of the article for inclusion on the blog, please consider that option.

For further info: http://engage.newcastle.edu.au/discover-newcastles-radical-past-at-newcastle-writers-festival/

The solitary copy of Radical Newcastle welcomed to the University on Wednesday 4th March 2015

The solitary copy of Radical Newcastle welcomed to the University on Wednesday 4th March 2015

IMG_5288 IMG_5286 IMG_5285

RN-THEBOOK-THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL COVER – ONLY A MOCKUP-

Dear “Radical Newcastle” supporter,

The editorial collective of Radical Newcastle is currently in negotiations with a premier scholarly press in New South Wales regarding a publication contract. The publisher is very interested in the proposal that we submitted and it would be a great outcome to secure this publisher for the book. Decisions by publishing houses are often finely balanced financial decisions and we therefore need to cover as many bases as we possibly can to strengthen our chances of success when our proposal is put before the Board of the publisher.

One of the critical issues that will decide the outcome – in addition to a publication subsidy – is being able to offer a pre-sales commitment that we have a ready and interested market for “Radical Newcastle”. Judging by the turn out for the Radical Newcastle panel at the Newcastle Writers Festival earlier this year we have no doubt there is a viable market for our book. Furthermore, we already know, for instance, that Newcastle Trades Hall will purchase 20 copies of the book.

What we would like to do in the first instance is to get from you – our most dedicated Radical Newcastle supporters – an indication of your intention to pre-purchase one copy of the book. If we could get a strong indication that our immediate network would agree to pre-purchase say a total of 100 copies of the book, this would be a major factor in our favour.

Saying that you would be interested in purchasing a copy, in no way binds you to actually do so, we are only seeking expressions of interest at this stage to get an idea of the volume we need to order.

Please let us know if you would be interested in possibly purchasing a copy or copies by sending an email to the following address: J.Bennett@newcastle.edu.au

Thank you for your patience with this process and for your continuing support.

All the best,
James Bennett
For the Radical Newcastle editorial collective

History @ Newcastle

Research Seminar Series

ALL WELCOME!! Seminars are held in Cultural Collections @ Auchmuty Library (ground floor, through AIC), from 10am, and are followed by morning tea at 11am.

Week 5 – Friday 4 April 10 am

Professor Ann Curthoys

Professor Ann Curthoys

Presenter – Prof Ann Curthoys, University of Sydney

Title – Australian history and E.P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class and its influence on Australian historiography

Abstract – This  paper explores the impact of E.P. Thompson’s classic text, The Making of the English Working Class, on Australian historiography, from its first appearance in 1963 to the present. While many commentators now stress the book’s impact on the fields of Australian labour, social, and cultural history, Australian historians were actually slow to take notice. The book’s influence was slight in the 1960s and 1970s, reached a peak in the 1980s, and thereafter declined somewhat, as questions of Indigenous history, the British imperial context, and transnational approaches came to the fore.

Thus the paper considers the ways in which class, gender, culture, and race have been understood in Australian historiography over the last half century. Along the way, it also explores the work of two of Thompson’s contemporaries – Russel Ward and George Rudé, and ponders the significance of pathways chosen and avoided in creating the historiographical landscape we work in today.

All welcome!

Radical Newcastle Event

Radical Newcastle Event

The program for the forthcoming Newcastle Writers Festival has just been announced 4-6 April 2014. Download your programs from here: http://www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au/

Make sure you don’t miss the Radical Newcastle free event on Sunday April 6th starting at 1.30PM in the Mulubinba Room Newcastle City Hall.

1.30pm Sunday April 6th, Newcastle City Hall – Writing Radical Newcastle: Leading historians share their stories about the fascinating cast of communists, heritage activists and churchmen who are part of Newcastle’s colourful  past and a new book. With Ann CurthoysGionni Di Gravio and Prof Peter Hempenstall. Hosted by Dr Nancy Cushing. Free session.

Radical Newcastle @ Newcastle Writers Festival

Free event.

  • Sunday, April 6, 2014
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • Mulubinba – Room – Newcastle City Hall (map)

Protesting against coal with Rising Tide

Paula Morrow

I just told a bloke I met for the first time today in ‘Suspension’, the most activist-friendly coffee-shop in Newcastle, that being involved with groups that protest, that work for positive change, is enlivening.

I am here to tell you that you feel extremely alive when you paddle a kayak out on to the harbour with many others as part of one of the ‘flotillas’ organised by Rising Tide and stop the coal ships for the day. And Vera Deacon has done that in her 80s!

It reminds me of the day 200,000 of us sat down in Sydney’s main streets for the Vietnam Moratorium. And stopped the city.

And when you trespass on to the coal loaders and stop them operating for a few hours.

Or when you run breathless with fear and excitement (and probably lack of fitness once you are over fifty) through the fence and up on to the mountains of coal in the grounds of one of NSW’s filthiest power stations, ‘Bayswater’ near Muswellbrook. You feel very alive then.

I have form as an active member of the Vietnam Moratorium. I was voted on to the NSW co-ordinating committee of the Moratorium, at the age of 24 when I was single mum with a two year old, or a ‘deserted wife’ as they called us in 1970.

I arrived in Newcastle in 1988 with three of my four kids, 15 months after my second husband died of cancer. We were following the eldest who was starting university here. I straight away looked for groups similar to those I had been involved with on the far north coast of NSW: environment groups and co-counselling.  And Quakers.

I went to some environmental group meetings which spawned Newcastle Greens and Trees in Newcastle. I was one of the earliest in Newcastle Greens. And later on I was the (un-official) Newcastle representative to the Greens’ meeting in Sydney that made the decision to form The Australian Greens. I just said that I didn’t think that Newcastle Greens would stand in the way of such a move. (That being the low level of enthusiasm I had judged from our group, for centralisation of any kind.)

My three younger kids were exposed to people talking about politics. I especially remember one magical Greens’ night at John and Carrie’s that included as well as big pots of food, someone playing the didgeridoo. I was glad that they experienced that particular night. This was about the time that Ian who was one of the organisers of The Wilderness Society Newcastle, came on board with the Newcastle Greens and that felt like a strengthening. (I had joined The Wilderness Society from the far north coast, soon after it was formed over the Franklin crisis.)

Other environmental groups started springing up about ten years later, notably Rising Tide. I have been arrested three or four times over the past four or five years with them. On the coal-loaders twice, in the grounds of Bayswater power-station, and in the entrance of parliament house, Canberra. I must come across as a middle-aged feral!

I am happy to answer to the term environmental activist. Or to hippy, from my positive experiences in the hippy commune movement from 1970 in south eastern Queensland and in far northern NSW.

The Sydney Morning Herald was recently kind enough to call me an ‘eco-writer’.

April 08 trespassing on the site of the 3rd coal loader.

The only time I got arrested with my full-time forest activist son Ben was on the first coal-loader jaunt. He had already been diagnosed with cancer by then, had had the exploratory surgery that could do nothing, and a few rounds of chemotherapy, but bounced back into his old spiritual self with the leadership qualities he had exhibited when he came into his own in the forests of NSW and Tasmania.

I felt constricted with fear for him. He was taking photos. It was raining and cold and muddy. Later we were all, about 23 of us, held and harassed in the police station cells in Newcastle for hours. They had taken our water bottles. There was a tap attached to the top of the filthy toilet in the cell I was in with four of the young women. None of us drank from it. I was concerned about Ben, in with the other activist blokes, but weakened by illness and treatment.
In the cells with the idealistic young women, including one who meditated for a bit, I started to tell the story of being in the police station in Kuwait, when I was twenty and a traveller, and how much more desperate and dangerous it was then. I think it was Naomi who particularly wanted to hear, but we were interrupted by the police wanting to catalogue us: photos and fingerprints.

I was concerned that one of the young women in another cell, Chrissie, might get hypothermia and told a cop who seemed to be interested in OH & S and he went and talked to her and got her a blanket. You can always rely on those people, and the reps in a place, to take some responsibility.
The police took everything: our jewellery, wallets, and the aforesaid water bottles as well as our fingerprints and photos.

At one stage an assertive and cranky female cop asked us if we wanted her to get some Maccas in. It must have been about 2 pm by then. I was more concerned about us not drinking anything for hours. All we protesters and ferals had strong ideas on nutrition too. Young rangy men started saying ‘can they leave the meat off mine?’, and ‘can I just have chips?’

‘If you are going to be pedantic, I won’t bother!’ said she, and she didn’t.

Pete Gray had told us early in the day, at our six am start, that he was not happy missing out on actually being in the protest. I assumed he was on bail or something. Pete had a whole feast lovingly arranged for when we got out, late in the day. He had a table set up on the path right outside the police station with a huge selection of breads and dips!

There is often this intense appreciation of each other as individuals who have bothered to step off the well-trodden path and put ourselves on the line in order to try and wake the population up. Wake up to the dangers of evaporating our coal-mines into our atmosphere. Our grandchildren’s only atmosphere.
Bob Brown said at Ben’s funeral in Newcastle in 2009, ‘He was one of the VERY FEW WHO ACTUALLY GET IT!’

Before that I tried to get arrested in the same vicinity as Ben was trying to not get arrested. I walked into the exclusion zone of the Weld Forest in Tassie earlier in 2007. Ben and other direct action activists were climbing through the bush secretly, so that the police could not grab them and put them out of action, while lots of us were walking on the easier logging road. It was still seven kilometres each way, deliberately in the exclusion zone. Including young women with prams. On that rough logging road. There was a public and media blackout zone so the logging company could take out more old-growth forest. I had meant to get arrested but they did not arrest any of us that day.

I have written about meeting some of the Tasmanian forests through Ben’s inviting my daughter and me down there in my novel based on truth: Darwin’s Dilemma: the damage done and the battle for the forests.

In November 2008 we trespassed on Bayswater power station near Muswellbrook.

It was a big drive. I took my car. Jude sat next to me. Jonathan in the back said something about the despair of having all this environmental catastrophe on us. And I said, No! It was ever thus! Before we knew all this. It is the existential angst! The anguish of being conscious beings in animal bodies. I certainly felt it as a young person very keenly, extremely keenly, reading Albert Camus. Fromm was the antidote, The Art of Loving shared amongst those of us who most needed it. And then later Island by Aldous Huxley. The impetus for my own utopian novel, Life in Time. Jude later said that she enjoyed that conversation between Jonathan and me.

Graeme Dunstan was there in his very obvious van. It had a loudspeaker on it! I knew him vaguely as one of the organisers of the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973: the ‘Survival Festival’. I went over ten days early from my banana shed in Mullumbimby to help with the setting up of the festival. Graeme made us a cup of tea out the back of his van after the Bayswater escapade.

I felt again the rush of fear and excitement as we breached the wire fence. And then we run, together. Get in before they stop us! As usual I giggle with the excitement and the unusual effort and wonder if I will keep up. Later, further in, the black mountains of coal are huge and the coal slips away from under my feet which makes me giggle more.

Later we covered for the couple of photographers who needed to get out and get the film out.

One of the workers said he thought we were doing the right thing.

When the police were there and we were reduced to lots of standing around on top of a hill, one of the young protesters said that he thought it was like the anti-Vietnam protesters, everyone thought they were wrong at first and then they were proved right. He seemed a bit thrilled when I told him that I had been part of that too when I was about his age. I was even voted on to the organising committee of the NSW Vietnam Moratorium when I was 24.

And the only time I have been arrested with my daughter was in 2009, in the entrance to Parliament House Canberra, with Rising Tide and people from other states. About 200 of us were arrested when we gathered to try to encourage Kevin Rudd to go for reasonable targets at Copenhagen. My daughter had been radicalised when we spent the night in the Styx Forest as guests of Ben and his small band.

Mind you, I also feel very alive when I swim in the sea, or walk in the bush, and surprisingly when I walk, or catch public transport, in the rain. It takes me back to being a kid, when we all walked or caught buses or trains a whole lot more. A bit of discomfort (not too much thanks!) activates the senses. As does the witnessing of human interactions when we are out in the public space, as opposed to sealed, de-humidified and homogenised, in our cars.
How much more do we then feel enlivened if we meet with others of similar values and try to push for environmental sustainability, or for social justice? And get out there in it?

As Pete Gray signed off on one of his emails to a group of us fellow protesters,

‘Pleasure makin’ trouble with you!’

Vera Deacon was Guest Speaker at the 2012 International Women’s Day Dinner held on the 9th March 2012.

The Event was sponsored by the Newcastle Branch of the Union of Australian Women and held at The Adamstown Club Brunker Road Adamstown.

Vera was introduced by Janet Mundie and spoke on “Life by the Hunter River – Then and Now”

Vera is described as “an island girl who has tried to make the world a better place”

Her speech covered the followed topics including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the current toxic state of politics and political debate in Australian media, University published book ‘100 Women’, Dr Jean Talbot, Donna Meehan, Hunter Valley and its ongoing care, 101st Anniversary of International Women’s Day, Winning of the Women’s Vote in Australia, Rose Scott, Scott Sisters, Ash Island, Women’s Suffrage Movement, History of Women’s Vote in Australia, ‘My Brilliant Career’, Vera’s early years, Woodstock Street Oakley’s Paddock, Hanbury Street Mayfield, Midwifery, Nurse Whiteman’s Lying In Home, Father works at BHP Coke Ovens, Family moves to Dempsey Island, then Mosquito Island, Labour Movement, Depression Camps, Platt’s Channel, Shortland Camp, Mayfield West Camp, Dole, Vera’s pedigree convicts Irish Catholics bullock driver, Aunty Nola Hawken, Awabakal People, convict women on Nobbys, Lysaghts Girls, Josephine Conway, Marilla North, Janet Copley, Charlie Skene, Vera’s father’s life, Big Ben, Soviet Union, Min Wilson, Communist Party of Newcastle, Socialists, Feminists, Reading, Migrants, Jessie Street and The Women’s Charter, Stockholm Appeal, Ban the Bomb, Dorothy Hewett, Nuclear tests and diseases of Children, Peace, Germaine Greer and the struggle for women’s rights across the world.

 

Radical Newcastle Symposium Flyer

The Radical Newcastle Symposium was held on the Friday 16 November 2012 from 8.45am to 1.30pm in the cute theatrette in University House.

Speakers included Dr Judith Sandner, Marilla North, Dr Faye Neilson delivering a paper by Dr Angela Philp and Dr Liam Phelan as well as musical and theatrical performances by Paul Spencer and University of Newcastle students.

Radical Newcastle Symposium Programme