"People the North": nation-building in 1960s Australia

McGregor, Russell (2019) "People the North": nation-building in 1960s Australia. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 65 (2). pp. 215-229.

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The People the North Committee, founded in Townsville in 1962, was true to its name. It wanted to treble the population of northern Australia in a decade. Putting people before profits, the committee insisted that Australians had a moral obligation to prolifically populate their northern lands. Neither the ambition nor the rationale was new. In fact, the People the North Committee was the last gasp of a grand demographic aspiration that went back more than a hundred years. Thereafter, through to the present day, proposals for northern development have prioritised economic over demographic gains: profits before people. This article examines the ambitions and advocacy of the People the North Committee, setting them in the longer historical trajectory of the aspiration to people the north. In doing so, it offers a window onto a neglected facet of the nation-building project in Australia.

Item ID: 58937
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-8497
Keywords: Northern Australia; Nation-building; Townsville; People the North Committee; Population
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 23:03
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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