About thirty minutes ago I submitted my thesis for examination. Given the challenge to get this tome submitted before Christmas, ‘blogging’ has been a somewhat poor relation in the past couple of months. Marking student assignments, writing, toss in two presentations as well as the thesis, there was little time, or desire left to blog.
I have discovered that submitting a thesis for examination is a challenge as well. It is a process of bureaucracy, getting it approved firstly by my supervisor(s), soft bound copies printed, paper-work, always the paper-work, filled out and signed and then physically depositing the three copies for examination. Then it disappears in to the mysterious world of the Graduate Research Centre.
Then sometime later my two examiners will each have a copy posted to them, hopefully early in the new year. One is here in Adelaide and the other in Canada. All I know about them is what I have read of their CVs and the recommendation from my associate supervisor. The reading and grading process can take three months. The thesis is 90,000 words, plus the reference list, so it is not a short novel to read at leisure. After the examiners have submitted their grade I then have about six weeks to reply to their comments (and modify the thesis) before it goes the the university academic board for confirmation. So if all goes well I will be awarded my PhD later in 2016.
As for an update on my other research projects, the blogs will follow shortly.
I posted an extract of this on the Adelaide Remember When FB page earlier today. Fifty years ago this month (April 1965) 92 teenage boys were presented the Queen’s Scout award by the then Governor Sir Edric Bastyan. On April 3 (1965) the Queen’s Scout dinner was held at the Top of the Town Restaurant, in Cox Foys, Rundle Street, Adelaide. Back in the ’60s Adelaide did not have many restaurants, especially ones that could cater for a hundred or more guests. Also the liquor licensing laws were significantly different to those of today (2015), and the legal drinking age was still 21 years of age – so that excluded a hotel venue. In fifty years my detailed memory of the evening has dimmed somewhat. However, I recall being a little over-whelmed by the occasion – I was 17. My father had driven me into the city as the event was seen as a significant ocassion by my family. I caught the bus home afterwards. The Chief Commissioner (for Scouts) was Henry Rymill, CBE. The program for the evening’s events included the Loyal Toast List to Her Majesty The Queen, and a toast to the 1965 Queen’s Scouts. The response to the Queen’s Scouts Toast was given by Peter Balan, who has since become a successful academic at UniSA. I remember the film called: ‘The Senior Way’ being screened, but I have no recollection of what it contained other than it showed many images of Scouts doing scouting ‘stuff’. The Queen’s Scout Award is an achievement from my teenage years of which I am still proud and pleased to to include in my resume. However, what has happened to the other 90 eager young boys – the stories of their lives, their children and grand children?
Presentation of Queen’s Scout Award to David Sweet, Government House, Adelaide by the then Governor, Sir Edric Bastyan. (April 1965)
Howard Hamon is the brother-in-law of my mate’s sister (a small world) David Jansen and I went to Glen Osmond Primary School together, but I lost touch with him many years ago, David Rattray (if he is the same person) and I were at Unley High and a number of other names from the ‘Menu’ may have been police officers. Is your name or the name of someone you know on the back of the menu (above)? Maybe through my blog and Adelaide Remember When. the question can be answered.?
In December last year (2013) I was interviewed as part of the Australia wide ‘Australian Generations Oral History Project‘. I found the process of being interviewed, rather than being the interviewer a challenging experience. I enjoyed it, but having to quickly decide what to talk about – or leave out – kept me very aware that this interview would be archived for ‘eternity’ and anyone who wished could access it. It was a warts interview, but not warts and all, some stories I didn’t tell. We all have secrets and embarrassing moments in our lives. I have related some of those incidents, but without completely embarrassing myself. I talked about some of the drama I experienced in my various professional roles, being assaulted (physically) by a teacher at high school and as a teenager in the 60s.
David Sweet at Australian Generations Conference Monash University, October 31, 2014
Over two days in October, Professor Alistair Thomson, Monash University hosted a series of presentations by the project research team members including papers on project findings and about the team’s oral history methodology. Professor Michael Frisch, the internationally renowned oral and public historian, delivered the Keynote Address at the public launch of the conference on Thursday 30 October 2014 at the State Library of Victoria. Attending these sessions was enjoyable, an excellent learning experience and meeting colleagues (old and new) in the family and oral history research genre.
Check out the Australian Generations Report site.
During the past 66 years, the Baby Boomers and their families have become the most photographed body of people in history. They have grown up with the advent of mass produced cameras, cost effective film and photographic production techniques, and now, digital photomedia technology. The celebration, drama, loves, desires, and evolution of their lives have been photographically recorded, but often lies forgotten and ‘unloved’ in dusty boxes, unopened albums and cluttered drawers in homes throughout Australia. Conrad in ‘At Home in Australia’ (2003, p. 85) talks of, ‘…a treasure chest…where his parents kept their photos.’ My research opens up these containers of photographs, to investigate and record each participant’s engagement with the ‘still’ photographic mediums and its influence on them, the recording of the lives of their families, their interpretations of nostalgia and their recollections through reconstructed memory.
Australia appears to be evolving a culture, “throw it away, make room for the new, it costs too much to store, we don’t need that old stuff”. The concepts of dumping and the use of landfill sites fills me with dread. I am scared that my life, my memories, my records will be processed in to recycled packaging for a new, must have, piece of technology for the next generation. Yet this does not make me a Luddite one who is against advancement and development. I love new technology and the evolution of our culture; but in this research I argue that our history, our past, is the solid foundation on which we build our future. The old does not have to be tossed aside to make way for the new. In a poignant article in the Sydney Morning Herald about burning, selling or denying our past, journalist Bob Ellis comments: ‘…how little we do in Australia to keep hold of the past.’ (Ellis 1999)
This site was created some years ago as part of a teaching exercise. My students went on to publish great Blogs. I spent my time reading their work and did nothing myself. Over the coming weeks and months I hope to populate this site with comments on my interests, research, teaching and travel. May be the odd comment on current events might surface as well. However, it will not be a site for political ideology , or rants on other’s beliefs.