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An Oasis in the Wilderness

The Foundation Years of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts
  • ISBN-13: 9781875684175
  • Publisher: HALSTEAD PRESS
    Imprint: HALSTEAD PRESS
  • By Lesley Scanlon
  • Price: AUD $49.95
  • Stock: 437 in stock
  • Availability: Order will be despatched as soon as possible.
  • Local release date: 01/10/2023
  • Format: Hardback (236.00mm X 221.00mm) 144 pages Weight: 500g
  • Categories: Australasian & Pacific history [HBJM]
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Hailed in the mid-nineteenth century as “an oasis in the wilderness”, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts was founded in 1833 to “diffuse scientific and other useful knowledge” to the skilled workingmen of the fledgling European settlement of Sydney. Established in emulation of the burgeoning mechanics’ movement in Britain, the founders of this school viewed knowledge as a kind of alchemy that had the potential to change the individual and society. Taking the reader on a series of journeys, Dr Lesley Scanlon’s An Oasis in the Wilderness: The Foundation Years of the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts (1833–1851) situates the activities of the school during its formative years within the social and intellectual contexts of early nineteenth century Britain and New South Wales. More than just the history of the foundation of the School of Arts, this book provides a window through which the reader glimpses aspects of the social and educational milieu of Britain and Sydney’s early settler society.
Dr Lesley Scanlon is a practitioner, researcher, and author in adult education. As a practitioner Lesley has worked in schools, the British Council, Hong Kong, Technical and Further Education, Newcastle University, the University of Technology and Sydney University. She has worked across a range of disciplines teaching and lecturing in the fields of sociology, anthropology, research methodologies, history, and Mandarin. Her eclectic interests culminated in her work as a senior lecturer in teacher education at the University of Sydney, where she continues to hold an honorary position. She has published books on a range of educational issues, written articles for peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. Lesley brings a narrative turn to her research, drawing on historical and sociological methodologies to highlight the role of the individual embedded within multiple contexts.
* Immersive and evocative, Dr Scanlon guides her readers across the ocean to Sydney’s early settlement, through to Sydney’s social scene (from elites to convicts), to the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts itself as readers meet its founders, attend lectures, marvel at scientific experiments and rub shoulders with its students. * Extensively researched from a number of old and contemporary sources, this text is highly accurate and historic. * With quotes, maps, illustrations, lecture topics, scientific marvels, etc., immersing readers into the context in which the SMSA was engendered, Dr Scanlon’s text offers an authentic and window-like glimpse into Sydney’s fledgling colony—that is, the social surroundings and intellectual schools of thought in the early to mid-nineteenth century. * Book launch in June.
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