Historians document ‘antipodean arcadia’

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on June 6, 2020

ALBANY is the star of a new history book penned by local and international historians and scholars.

UWA Albany historians Malcolm Traill and Harry Freemantle were selected to compile and create Albany: an antipodean Arcadia for the Centre of WA History as part of the Studies in Western Australian History series.

The book is number 33 in the series and Mr Traill said it took the better part of 18 months to complete.

“It’s the first book on Albany in the series and we couldn’t resist the challenge,” he said.

The book highlights key elements of Albany’s history from the 19th and 20th centuries including the town’s whaling history, European and Indigenous relations, significant locations and people, sport and Albany’s first female prison officers.

On the contributors list is a range of Great Southern and South West scholars amidst some metropolitan and international authors such as Tim Blue, Sarah Drummond, Gwen Chessell, Ciaran Lynch, Denise Young, Amy Anderson, Jill Moir, Moira Maley, Miriam Crandell, Dawn Kennedy, Ainslie Gatt and award-winning novelist Kim Scott.

Mr Traill and Mr Freemantle agreed that creating the book was like helping to leave behind a legacy, for both the town and for the scholars.

“A number of these stories haven’t been told before or told before in this way,” Mr Freemantle said.

Albany: an antipodean Arcadia is available from the Centre for WA History online and by order from local bookstores.