Victorians are invited to explore the very first roots of our State’s grassroots culture, as the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s March lecture takes us on a journey back to where it first sparked.
To be held on Tuesday 15 March, Professor Weston Bate OAM will highlight many rare and important interactions between economic, social and political forces lying at the heart of Victorian democracy.
“Our unusually strong local history network may be seen as a parallel to the nineteenth century emphasis on Victoria’s grassroots,” explained Professor Bate.
“Beneath the ferment that produced Eureka, the Eight Hours’ Movement and the remarkable Land Convention – supported by the democratic constitutional framework of manhood suffrage and vote by ballot – there lay the distinct grassroots ambitions of a lower middle class migrant society.
“The desire to build a strong, educated and fair community produced, for instance, the Mechanics’ Institutes.
“Desire for land was also a key definer and battleground with activists responding to the groundswell of the new society.
“Overarching, was the Radical Liberal political movement, driven by Professor Charles Pearson and his pupils, Alfred Deakin and Henry B Higgins in a characteristically Victorian alliance of capital and labour.
“Our talk will bring to life these characters and events as we explore where grassroots activism in Victoria began.”
About the speaker
Weston Bate is an unusual grassroots man. He taught at every level from sub-primary to PhD, and bravely used his academic training to transform despised local history. He was an athlete, an accomplished amateur footballer, intervarsity (winning) golfer, shop assistant, farmhand, and Lancaster pilot. At 91 he became C Grade champion of the Metropolitan Golf Club. A past president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, he instigated History Week and championed our local history network. His sixteen books include the pace-setting A History of Brighton, the prize-winning Lucky City, histories of two schools, two golf clubs, two volumes in the Museum’s Photographic Archive Project and the story of Melbourne’s lanes, as well as a book of poems.
About the event
Date: Tuesday 15 March
Time: 5.45pm – 6.45pm; refreshments from 5.15pm
Address: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne
Cost: $10 non-members; free for members of the RHSV
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
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