“Errors, Inaccuracies and Misimpressions in Errol J. Lea-Scarlett’s Queanbeyan: District and People (1968), Gundaroo (1972) and Queanbeyan in Distaff (1983).”

Please click on the link below  to access a paper addressing issues relating to work by previous writers on the history of Queanbeyan.

Errors, Inaccuracies and Misimpressions in Errol J. Lea-Scarlett’s Queanbeyan District and People (1968), Gundaroo (1972) and Queanbeyan in Distaff (1983).

This is a slightly modified version of a hard copy of the paper currently held in the Queanbeyan Public Library by the heritage librarian, Brigid Whitbread.

My work on the history of the Queanbeyan district differs significantly from that of previous writers. Although my original intention was to focus on my work only, in the circumstances, I have decided to publish the paper to make it generally available during a time it may not otherwise be as it establishes context to the extent and manner in which my research differs.

The paper is a precise and objective exposé of errors and issues with works that are among the most constructed in Australian history. 

I recognise that people of substance, including Prof L. F. Fitzhardinge, put their names to, reproduced, cited or presented some of the works in question. I feel for those people, including one who, probably unknowingly, introduced a talk which was published in the Journal of the Canberra and District Historical Society and reproduced in a book in 1983, which contained much incorrect material. That unfortunate situation of blind repetition was continuing for some time as the work by Lea-Scarlett was still being promoted as the authoritative history of the district until relatively recently, when I pointed out it was incorrect, being all the more reason the correct history needs to be in the public domain and in context as soon as possible, so that more people are not so compromised.

I also feel it necessary to present this exposé because the works referred to constituted the authoritative histories of the district for many decades, were a source of great injustice to many people, presented a very limited and inaccurate history of the district and to some extent Australian history in general and were of significant influence, an influence still being felt today. The critique and my works present an antidote to the right-wing extremist conservative politics promulgated in the works referred to and assurance that such is not integral to the  Australian psyche. 

Although my work completely overturns that of the previous writers referred to, the responses to it so far have been embracing, welcoming and encouraging, which I appreciate.

Joanna Davis