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When the war is over: Lithgow, Western Sydney and the search for higher education options

When the war is over: Lithgow, Western Sydney and the search for higher education options Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction between a liminal rural Australian city (Lithgow) and the development of higher education options across the city's history. The paper proposes a nuanced interaction between national, social, religious, political, regional and local forces to explain why an industrial city such as Lithgow, with obvious educational strengths, would be overlooked while others (such as Wollongong and Bathurst) were not. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a longitudinal study of educational institutions, placed in their historical contexts, in order to demonstrate the fluctuation of educational vision with the rise and fall of socio‐economic contributors to the town's fortunes. Findings – The paper finds that the city's formation and dependence on war‐related industries created boom‐bust cycles which negatively impacted on its entrepreneurial, managerial and working class elites, and so on its ability to bring cultural and political influence to bear in the formation of local higher education options, across a period in which higher education becomes an increasingly federal responsibility. Practical implications – The paper suggests policy ramifications for the support of higher education options in the city. Social implications – The paper supports the interpretation that it is not merely that education itself promotes social mobility, but that what type of education is important, along with an eye to how education contributes to the overall well‐being and cross‐class profile of the city of Lithgow. Originality/value – This paper fills a gap in historical knowledge about Lithgow's educational institutions, the study of which heretofore has tended to be located with either labor historical or heritage approaches. This paper takes a socio‐cultural and longitudinal/holistic approach which brings together a variety of approaches previously not treated. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

When the war is over: Lithgow, Western Sydney and the search for higher education options

History of Education Review , Volume 43 (1): 16 – May 27, 2014

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/HER-08-2012-0025
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction between a liminal rural Australian city (Lithgow) and the development of higher education options across the city's history. The paper proposes a nuanced interaction between national, social, religious, political, regional and local forces to explain why an industrial city such as Lithgow, with obvious educational strengths, would be overlooked while others (such as Wollongong and Bathurst) were not. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a longitudinal study of educational institutions, placed in their historical contexts, in order to demonstrate the fluctuation of educational vision with the rise and fall of socio‐economic contributors to the town's fortunes. Findings – The paper finds that the city's formation and dependence on war‐related industries created boom‐bust cycles which negatively impacted on its entrepreneurial, managerial and working class elites, and so on its ability to bring cultural and political influence to bear in the formation of local higher education options, across a period in which higher education becomes an increasingly federal responsibility. Practical implications – The paper suggests policy ramifications for the support of higher education options in the city. Social implications – The paper supports the interpretation that it is not merely that education itself promotes social mobility, but that what type of education is important, along with an eye to how education contributes to the overall well‐being and cross‐class profile of the city of Lithgow. Originality/value – This paper fills a gap in historical knowledge about Lithgow's educational institutions, the study of which heretofore has tended to be located with either labor historical or heritage approaches. This paper takes a socio‐cultural and longitudinal/holistic approach which brings together a variety of approaches previously not treated.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: May 27, 2014

Keywords: Higher education; Australia; History of higher education; Lithgow; NSW; Politics of higher education

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