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The People's Choice

The People's Choice

Electoral politics in colonial New South Wales

Edited by Michael Hogan, Lesley Muir and Hilary Golder


2001 saw the publication of the three volumes of The People’s Choice. Electoral Politics in 20th Century New South Wales, edited by Michael Hogan and David Clune. Reviewers welcomed it as a fundamental and indispensable source for anyone interested in the political history of NSW and of Australia.

Now comes the fourth volume, which takes the story back into the colonial period from the coming of responsible government in 1856 to the formation of the Australian Federation in 1901. There are chapters on each of the elections for the Legislative Assembly, where the talents and failings of political giants like Henry Parkes, Charles Cowper, John Robertson, George Reid and Edmund Barton are on display.

Recurrent themes are attempts to resolve the land question, the creation of a strong system of public schooling, and problems of taxation so that the colony could fund its railways, roads and schools. Towards the end of the century the questions of federation and labour conditions come to occupy centre stage.

There is also a chapter on the virtually unchronicled elections of 1843, 1848 and 1851 for the Legislative Council which prepared the way for responsible government, as well as thematic chapters on the land question and ways that voting was conducted in a different era.

Sesquicentenary 1856-2006 Responsible Government in New South Wales   A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.


    Editor's Introduction
    Before Responsible Government
    Michael Hogan
    The Land Question
    Michael Hogan
    Voting in Colonial New South Wales
    Michael Hogan and Lesley Muir
    The Blended Legislative Council Elections
    Michael Hogan
    Michael Hogan
    1858 and 1859
    David Clune
    Trevor McMinn
    Hilary Golder
    Hilary Golder
    Hilary Golder
    Lesley Muir
    Lesley Muir
    Lesley Muir
    Lesley Muir
    Lesley Muir
    Lesley Muir
    Michael Hogan
    Michael Hogan and Ken Turner
    Michael Hogan and Ken Turner
    Michael Hogan and Ken Turner
    Michael Hogan and Ken Turner



    This latest in the wealth of new material on NSW political history extends the three previous studies of twentieth century state elections (published in 2001) to cover all the elections from 1856 to 1898 in a single volume. It includes far more than just the seventeen elections, with each chapter giving a review of the government’s term before moving on to the issues and events of the campaign and the outcome of the poll. Preliminary chapters give overviews of the period before responsible government, the land question and the now unfamiliar system of voting in colonial NSW. Modern politicians must yearn for the era when an unsuccessful candidate had time to try again in a different seat! The book includes electoral maps and a wealth of political cartoons, as well as potted biographies of major figures. The extensive footnotes show that the six authors have mined deeply into the contemporary press to produce these masterly summaries of complex and turbulent times.

    Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 93 Pt 2, November 2007

    The contributors have left no stone unturned, and have returned to primary sources to check and correct all published election statistics. Electoral maps are also included, as is an outstanding collection of political cartoons and line drawings, making this work an invaluable visual, statistical, and textual source. There are introductory essays on the lead up to responsible government, the land question, and contextual information about voting in colonial New South Wales. This is then followed by seventeen chapters that give a detailed breakdown of each election in the colonial period.

    Australian Historial Studies, 39, March 2008


    Published 30 July 2007
    Publisher The Federation Press
    ISBN 9781862876255
    Australian RRP $49.95
    International Price $45.00
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    Australian History / Studies
    Secondary School Resources
    Government / Political Studies

    NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government

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