In my first Armidale Express column recording my impressions of Armidale after a long break, I mentioned that one of the first people I saw when I arrived at the University to deliver my paper was cousin Arnold Goode.
Arnold told me that a book in his honour was to be launched in Uralla. I thought how well deserved that was given his role as a local Uralla/Rocky River/Arding historian. A little later in the bright New England autumn sun, I walked with John Ryan across to the University Printery to see the book that was to be launched in Arnold's honour, a book on nineteenth-century gold mining and its impact on the history, folklore and landscape of the region.
Now Jim Scanlan has posted the story of the launch on the UNE media blog. The photo used as the frontispiece on the book shows Arnold with a mining tipping frame near the entrance to the long tunnel at the Rocky River gold fields.
Golden Words and a Golden Landscape, by J. S. Ryan, Arnold Goode, Robert Haworth and Peter O’Donohue, is subtitled “Essays on Uralla gold mining history and a Glossary of the miners’ language in Australia from the 1850s to 1905: a volume in honour of Arnold Goode, local historian”. It is a joint publication of Arts New England, the University of New England’s School of Arts, and Uralla Shire Council.
The book was launched at McCrossin’s Mill Museum in Uralla, a very suitable site given the unique nature of this museum.
At the heart of the book is a unique 100-page glossary, compiled by John Ryan, of words and phrases that have a special significance (technical and social) in the context of nineteenth-century gold mining, collected from the published writings of Rolf Boldrewood, author of Robbery Under Arms. The book also contains essays on historical, archaeological, and “bushranging” themes related to the gold-mining era in Uralla.
In his Foreword to the book, Alan Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of History at UNE, says: “It is a combination of linguistic, geographical and archaeological learning - sense of language plus sense of place - and as such is a model of its kind, and a highly valuable contribution to our knowledge of the history of Australia and of New England.”
UNE’s Professor Jennie Shaw, who officially launched the book, reinforced this assessment of the book’s significance. She said that, in tracing the influences of the gold-mining era on the character of Uralla, it was “an important contribution to the social history of the town”. Professor Shaw is both Head of the School of Arts at UNE, and Director of Arts New England.
Both Dr Ryan and the Uralla Shire Mayor, Councillor Ron Filmer, paid tribute to Arnold Goode, President of the Uralla Historical Society, for his tireless and meticulous work in preserving historical, industrial and social records of the Uralla region, and facilitating a wide range of research on the region’s economic, social, and natural history.Arnold responded by thanking the contributors to the book, which he said he would “cherish”.
Councillor Filmer provided a Preface for Golden Words and a Golden Landscape, in which he speaks on behalf of “the myriad supporters . . . who all hold such an enormous debt of gratitude to Arnold Goode for his on-site interpretations of the past, thereby keeping alive the deeper understanding of our distinctive and dynamic identity that has come down from colonial times”.
Dr Ryan spoke about Mr Goode’s family connections both to the working of the Rocky River goldfield and to the founding of the University of New England. (Those family connections include the University’s principal founder, D.H. Drummond.) He emphasised the vital role of Uralla - particularly in its active enthusiasm for adult education - in creating a social climate conducive to the founding of the University.
After talking about the social “freedom” (including “the need to recognise societal inequities”) that developed on the goldfields, Dr Ryan concluded that “gold revenues and societal wealth made possible the four passionately democratic university foundations - in Sydney, Melbourne, Dunedin, and Armidale”.