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Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Australia, 1840 - From 'Poenamo' by John Logan Campbell -
From the Lachlan River I made another long tour, and in all spent three months travelling through the country, which gave me a perfect idea of that part of Australia, and of the description of life that had to be led and the social intercourse that existed. And the conclusion that my sapient youthdom arrived at was that the whole thing would not do for me.
I concluded that if I turned squatter and kept sheep with my nearest civilised neighbour fifty miles off, and with only my fellow-men of the released chain-gang kind to look at, the chances would be that I should soon lose the half-memory with which I had been born, and become little better than the sheep I had intended to own.
And there was still more cogent reason, and of a pecuniary kind .... for determining not to turn squatter - the price of stock was at such an exorbitant rate, some eight to nine pounds a head for cattle, and forty shillings for "maiden ewes," that my small capital was nowhere.
Add to this, moreover, that at this epoch of Australia's history the assignment system was done away with, so that the hitherto cheap free convict labour, which had been no inconsiderable element in the profits of wool-growing, had now to be replaced by free very dear labour.

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