In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I am home from my 3 1/2 month research trip to Australia! All up, I visited nine different cities – Armidale, Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth. Brisbane wins the award for most surprisingly beautiful city; Melbourne, the city I most wish i’d had more time to explore; Adelaide, the city most visually similar to Wellington; and Canberra, the city that would be best improved by a meteor strike (no offence to my lovely friends in Canberra – I just dislike your city!). But, I have to say, I enjoyed Sydney the most.
However, as much as I enjoyed the research, it is so indescribably wonderful to be home. Being away from Helen was like losing a part of myself – no amount of skyping or emailing can take the place of a warm hug. I missed my cat, Sooty; I missed my house, and all my things; I missed my office at Victoria University of Wellington; in short, I missed home, and all its connotations.
Even better, the bulk of my research is now done! I’m planning on spending the next couple of months analysing what is left of my primary sources around New Zealand (including brief trips to Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Napier). After that, I will have a few thousand pages of notes that will need to be assembled into something vaguely resembling a thesis. So far as I can tell, the process is something like this:
Find primary sources-> Take research notes -> ??? -> PROFIT!
But seriously, it’s going to be some hard yakka!
I’ve also had some rather exciting academic developments in the last few months. My latest article, “Familiarising the Foreign”, has been confirmed for publication in the October issue of the New Zealand Journal of History. I’ll be giving a seminar based off this paper at this year’s New Zealand Historical Association Conference in November. I also rediscovered an old undergraduate essay I wrote in 2009 contrasting American media perceptions of the Hungarian and Suez crises in 1956, which i’ve posted online. It’s not bad for an undergraduate essay, although not worthy of professional publication.
But more exciting than all of that is the attention my post in May on the paramilitaristic New Guard, titled ‘The Revolution that Wasn’t‘, has gathered. In August I was contacted by an Australian company producing a documentary on the interwar years that wanted my input on the New Guard. And just last week, the producers of “Underbelly: Razor”, the Australian television series on the Sydney Razor Gangs, contacted me for similar advice. Both found me via this website, which is fantastic – it’s exactly what I had in mind when I designed it!
As for my fiction writing… I can’t say anything definite as yet, but I can say that I am one step closer to publication!
So all in all, things are going really well!