This post reviews some of the items that have appeared on this blog and New England's History over 2008. I have also included some New England related items from my personal blog, Personal Reflections. I have not provided individual story links on the two New England blogs, that would be too messy, just links to the relevant monthly archives.
January began with a short note on the history of the Newcastle Stock Exchange. Founded in 1937 as a rival to Sydney, the Exchange had 300 listed companies at its peak.
I reported on the deaths of David Evans and Rod Gerber and of Jo Woolmington, all people with long connections with the University of New England. I discovered that Maclean was to hold its 104th Highland Games, Boggabri its the third annual Drover’s Campfire Weekend.
There were major fish kills on the Richmond River, New England's universities released their second round offers, while the New England Tablelands achieved GI status as a wine province.
There was a short piece on Armidale's St John's Hostel, while the month ended with another grab by the Sydney Government for New England money.
On New England's History, January focused on the Dainggatti Aboriginal peoples of the Macleay Valley and of the linkages between them and Armidale.
February began with a post providing a consolidated list of previous posts about the University of New England across all my blogs.
Southern Cross University and Richmond Valley Council signed an MOU to jointly support and promote the economic development of the Richmond Valley, the joint University of Newcastle/University of New England School of Rural Medicine accepted its first students, while storm clouds gathered over the future of UNE's colleges because of growing maintenance costs.
In something of a nostalgia post, I looked at the connection between singer Peter Allen, Armidale and the Napiers.
February finished with a look at the newly re-opened Minimbah House, one of the Hunter Valley's historic homes.
On New England's History, the February focus was on the Anaiwan or Nganyaywana Aboriginal peoples who occupied the southern and central areas of the New England Tablelands. This is the other side the Macleay Valley Dainggatti equation.
These were really note posts. However, I fleshed the story out in two longer posts on Personal Reflections.
At the start of the month, Saturday Morning Musings outlines the reasons for my particular focus on the Dainggatti and the Armidale connection. Then at the end of the month Contact with Sue Hudson looks further at the ways in which different forms of evidence can be used to bring the Aboriginal past alive.
March began with a look at Australian painter Margaret Olley's New England connections. She was born in Lismore and then grew up in the Tweed Valley.
I followed this with one of my periodic posts looking at the reasons why I continued to support self-government for New England; those interested can find the whole series here.
Two posts followed looking at New England films, Streetsweeper (2007: Newcastle) and the Japanese spaghetti western The Drifting Avenger (1968: Nundle).
The cultural theme continued with a discussion of Peter Skrzynecki's poem Summer in the Country. This post and the subsequent discussion triggered a major post on my personal blog, Saturday Morning Musings - literature, locale and license, in part using the New England case including its writers to tease out issues in the writing of history. A post on another blog, What makes a writer - or artist - a local?, dealt with related issues.
In a completely different direction, I provided a list of forthcoming autumn events on the Northern Tablelands and Western Slopes, tracked down into the Manning Valley to look at an 1896 bush wedding, then wandered around the Comboyne Plateau.
On New England's History, I provided some notes on the Grafton Steam Navigation Company along with a Clarence Valley timeline and some notes on the history of the ABC in Newcastle. On my personal blog, John Ferry's "Colonial Armidale" reviews one of Australia's best written local histories.
April in New England began with the death of Armidale's Dr Harold Royle, a well know figure from my childhood.
After a peek at the arrival in Tamworth under the command of James Swan of East West Airlines first Focker Friendship, for many years the mainstay of New England civil aviation, I start exploring the Kamilaroi Highway.
Following a visit to the Oakhampton Farmstay at Manilla, April finishes with a somewhat nostalgic look at the past grandeur of Newcastle's Great Northern Hotel.
The posts on New England's History over April provide a more detailed backdrop to some of these posts.
My first post on teaching at Braefield lifted a whole lot of material from Neil Whitfield's blog. It was included because provided a snapshot of the life of a teacher in a New England country school just south of Quirindi on what is now the Kamilaroi Highway in the period 1916-1926. In including it, I wanted to preserve it.
The posts on the Kamilaroi Highway on the main New England blog, as well as the posts on this blog on Werris Creek timelines and on the Kamilaroi Aboriginal peoples are all connected, with the Braefield story.
Another post on James Swan, the pilot who flew the Focker into Tamworth, is also designed to preserve supporting material.
The post on how fast horses travel serves a different purpose. Here my aim was to present information on travel speeds. This is very important because it helped form past views of the size, complexity and texture of the world around.
I will continue this review in my next post.