Saturday, January 23, 2010

Border myopia and problems with maps

I have often complained about border myopia, the way in which political or administrative boundaries blind us to other things including underlying geographical realities.

I know New England quite well. However, I am really struggling just at present to come to grips with exact geographic patterns in the north eastern mountain and coastal section where the formal NSW and Queensland boundaries cross geographic features. I need to see the geography independent of these boundaries. This is remarkably hard to do.

Why is this important? Well, in looking at what would become New England in Aboriginal times, I have to write about what was independent of later boundaries. This means writing about the geographic extensions of New England within what is now Queensland and the interactions with the areas around.

Then, when the boundaries went through, I have to look the impact this had on life. From that time until today, the interaction between Southern Queensland and Northern New England affects New England life in a whole variety of ways.

In purely geographic terms, a political entity that stretched from the Hunter but included at least what is now the Gold Coast and possibly the Brisbane River on one side, the Darling Downs on the other, would have made a lot of sense. Of course, it would not be New England as we know it today, but it would have made for a far more cohesive system than we have today.     

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