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Local history project

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Local history project
    Posted: 07-Jun-2005 at 17:42
I wonder, if anybody would be interested in the following project.

I always found it bit of shame that we all discuss in AE the great historical events, the rise and fall of Great Empires, major battles and campaigns, important rulers and military leaders, but very rarely anything is said about the little historical events, about the banalities of local history and everyday life, of how ordinary people lived throughout the centuries, how they managed to survive throughout all those wars and upheavals.

It would be fascinating to hear, how your hometown got on throughout the millennia, how it passed on from one people or one Empire to the next, from one petty local feudal lord to the next, how religions and cultures changed, how the lives and conditions of peasants and workers changed, how it grew from the mud hovel hamlet to the urban sprawl that it is now, or not.

So, if anybody is interested, I would suggest the following, starting from one point in history, at the beginning of recorded history maybe, we would jump every two hundred years or so, and just tell the story of what is was like then and there, in your local area, nothing to academic, just a rough picture of local history.

Any comments or thoughts? Any enthusiasm?
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poirot View Drop Down
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  Quote poirot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2005 at 17:45

very nice idea!

 

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Constantine XI View Drop Down
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2005 at 22:37

OK Melbourne. It will be a rough and not very accurate history as it is not all that dramatic, but one worth telling. It was one of the later starters in the British colonization of Australia. Though explorers from Tasmania had visited the area in the early 1800s, it was not until the arrival of John Batman in 1835 that permanent European settlement occured. Batman actually managed to negotiate a treaty with the local aboriginals whereby he gave them a few measly European goods and in return they surrendered up vast amounts of tribal land. The land grab was so massive that afterward Batman could rightly claim he was the largest landowner in the British Empire. As he stepped ashore on the modern place of the city he exclaimed "this will be the place for a village". These famous words fill modern Melbournites with a great deal of mirth.

Settlement began slowly as Australia was only just being settled and areas such as New South Wales and Van Diemens Land (modern Tasmania) attracted more of the migrations. Conditions early on are what you would expect of a pioneer settlement, poor, dirty, squalid, spartan. But with the words of "gold! gold!" that all changed so rapidly. Victoria was the most abundant of the gold mining Australian colonies and men from all over the world with a childish naivity and a gleam in their eyes flocked here. It truly was an incredible boom starting from the early 1850s. By the late 1800s Melbourne had undergone massive change, it was now the biggest city in the Australian colonies and outclassed Sydney. Also it underwent the cultural transformation which remains to this day. Visiting the city today you may see the finest in Victorian Age architecture alongside the most enormous metropolis buildings. Melbourne had grown wealthy from the gold, and that wealth tranformed into a sophistication and cultural refinement which the city reigns pre-eminent in today among the cities of Australia.

In the 1890s there was a terrible recessions which caused much hardship, but at the end of it all there was still great pride and strength left in the city. On January 1st 1901 the colonies of our continent joined together to form a single nation. Bickering between Sydney and Melbourne about who should be the capital forced a compromise, the capital would be built roughly halfway between the two on what was otherwise a paddock. Until power was tranferred there in its entirety IIRC in 1927 Melbourne was the country's capital. WWI came and went and through the whole early 20th century Melbourne was a centre of culture, trends, ideas and progress. Even Aussie football, an exciting game needing alot of speed and agility, arose in the sporting ovals of Melbourne.

With the end of WWII Australia got rid of its "white Australia legislation" and opened its borders to some foreigners not from northern Europe or the British Isles. Many of these were Greeks and Italians looking for a place to prosper and live in peace. A huge portion settled in Melbourne because of its temperate climate and heavy urbanisation. Today Melbourne has the largest population of Greek people in any city in the world excepting Athens. As time went by the country increasingly relaxed its discriminatory immigration policy and Melbourne was seen as especially attractive to those looking for opportunity. Today it is the country's most cosmopolitan city, with a vast array of culture, music, fashions, foods, architecture and many more features from overseas. It is an urbane sort of place, yet one which still throbs with confidence and achievement. The people are typically hard working as there is opportunity for the taking, yet the everyday attitude of most Melbournites is still fairly relaxed like most Australians. Some authority, I can't remember which, rated Melbourne the world's "most liveable city" the past three years in a row (tied once with Montreal).

So overall not too dramatic. I am sure I have made a couple of errors as I am not really in the mood to do any research. But that is a rough overview of Melbourne, 170 years old this year and with a population which should hit 4 million before too long. A generally peaceful and prosperous place for which we can only be thankful.



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Quetzalcoatl View Drop Down
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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2005 at 03:12

 

 

Good idea, it is a very hard topic and need a lot of research but great idea.

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2005 at 17:12
Originally posted by Quetzalcoatl

Good idea, it is a very hard topic and need a lot of research but great idea.


I was thinking of anything too elaborate, just a rough sketch, in order to compare notes and see how we got on over the centuries.

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