This article traces the history of the professions against their emergence in the Australian outback town of Broken Hill, where the structures of late nineteenth-century capitalism and class conflict are particularly obvious. It demonstrates the ways that capitalism fueled the professions: it needed and helped produce them, ensuring the interests of the professionals were aligned, structurally at least, with capital. But the professionals were drawn demographically from an older, British middle class. Practitioners brought a particular morality to their work, derived from religious persuasion (especially Evangelicalism) and established social norms. Such moral attributes as thrift, truthfulness, efficiency, and civic responsibility imbued the professional skills that were valued as each of the professions evolved, becoming embedded in hierarchies that organized each profession. Hierarchical systems were structured according to merit, which increasingly made it seem, to the professionals, that class was earned. This was key to the political compact that the professions implicitly made with society in ameliorating, with their moral character, some of the worst effects of capital, at this stage of industrialization. The professionals thus embodied and enabled the type of “progress” and “civilization” that were central justifications for the settler colonial project, which relied on a pairing of the economic with the moral in the colonial imagination.

In January 2015, the Australian outback town of Broken Hill was formally included in the National Heritage List as a significant historical site. In his media release announcing the listing, Australian Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt described the town’s significance in capitalist terms: “Australia’s Silver City, Broken Hill, is of outstanding heritage value to the nation for the significant role the city and its mining operations have played in Australia’s development towards a modern and prosperous nation.”1 Indeed, the documents associated with Broken Hill City Council’s tenacious bid to become heritage listed focus on appealing to the Australian Liberal government’s conservative values. The town is known for mining, Australian prosperity, and a few famous artists, if the heritage documentation is to be believed.2

Any visitor to Broken Hill sees that this is not precisely correct. Rather than celebrating the achievements of Australian mining and the nation’s consequent wealth, the town in fact memorializes labor. The past century’s strikes are town lore, the Trades Hall is its most celebrated building, murals recall worker successes like the eight-hour day, and the cemetery is filled with allegiances to the “red flag forever,” inscribed on the tombstones of faithful union leaders. It is a memorial to dead miners, not successful mining companies, that looms over the town from the line of lode (which is a spectacular black slag heap dominating the landscape), and a plaque from the unions thanking wives and women for their support through a century of industrial action is most prominent at street level.3 Class conflict seeps through the ground, tinging everything a little red like the desert dust, and like the corten steel Miners’ Memorial, which glows at sunset. It is a place where work and workers are remembered almost relentlessly. It is also the place where I decided to begin a study, not of workers, but of professions and the middle class.

This may seem a little perverse. Indeed, the principal of a local high school (who needed to decide if I was legitimate enough to enter the school and talk to teachers) was frankly sarcastic: “Just what we’ve been missing all this time,” he teased, “a history of the bloody bourgeoisie.” It certainly seems an odd topic, given the historiography. Scholarship on Broken Hill’s history focuses on the efficacy of the union, for the most part. It is a sophisticated set of labor histories that have not shied away from controversial topics, exploring and sometimes critiquing union approaches. In both popular memory and Australian scholarly history, Broken Hill is fundamentally a union town.4

While labor dominates the historiography, historians have not wholly ignored capital. Most prominent are mining histories—including The Big Fella, a trade history of Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), and Geoffrey Blainey’s 1968 history The Rise of Broken Hill, whose primary sources were mainly the Mine Managers’ Association records.5 Erik Eklund’s Mining Towns gives an industrial story from a labor history perspective, offering a comparative account of Broken Hill with other Australian mining towns.6 There is also a flourishing local history scene, resulting in many homegrown histories of early pioneers, including women.7

The richness of the historiography surrounding this one locality is unusual, perhaps even unique, in Australia. This is because Broken Hill is taken to be representative—melodramatically so, in some respects—of important themes in Australian history. Historians and heritage monuments alike connect the claims of workers in Broken Hill to Australia’s long history of industrial relations and labor rights.8 The growth of BHP has a prominent place in Australian business history and, as a representative of big mining interests, the company and the town feature in the history of Australian economic development.9 Broken Hill matters in cultural terms too. The town’s quirky architectural styles and masculine culture (sometimes offset against queer culture, as in the Australian classic film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, partly filmed in and around Broken Hill), as well as its relationship to the surrounding harsh landscape and climate, offer a caricature of many Australian cultural tropes.10

In the spirit of Broken Hill’s representative role in Australian history and culture, this article explores the emergence of the professions in Broken Hill, using these as a lens to describe their establishment and professionalization in the wider labor structure of late-colonial and early Federation Australia, especially New South Wales (c. 1880s–1910s). This is in part in order to explore the structures that gave rise to a significant change in the labor market over the subsequent century, so that most Australians now work in professions—slightly more than 50 percent of the national labor market were broadly classified as professionals by 2001, in contrast to 3 percent in 1901.11 The period following the establishment of Broken Hill in 1883 marks the consolidation of the professions in Australia and elsewhere—it was also noted by Robert Wiebe in The Search for Order in 1967.12 It is an important period, then, in which to understand the role of the professions in the history of capitalism.

While it is understandable that Broken Hill High School’s principal was surprised by my focus on the professions in this union town, the town is a useful site for a case study on professionals in capitalist Australia. Here, where the master conflict of capital versus labor is so obvious in public and collective memory, it is possible to explore the development of key professions against the growth of late nineteenth-century capitalism and the class struggles it produced.13 I examine the professions that emerged in Broken Hill in this early phase: accounting, journalism, nursing, teaching, and mining engineering, and briefly, medicine and law. I consider them sequentially alongside the larger development of each profession in Australia in order to draw out the things that they share—or, in some important moments, do not share—as a class.

Historians have primarily considered the professional middle class for its moral and political contribution to the history of democracy in this period. In Britain, Harold Perkin discussed the values that arose with the “professional society” and its influence on British political systems as the twentieth century unfolded.14 In America, Robert Wiebe saw professionals as institutionalizing moral values in an increasingly individualized society.15 Australian historian Judith Brett defined the “moral middle class,” which formed the backbone of the antilabor political organizations that became dominated by the Australian Liberal Party. This class, Brett argued, was grounded in a protestant morality that stressed personal thrift, truthfulness, efficiency, and service to the community.16 It was a set of values that, as Penny Russell’s work suggests, evolved from older forms of honor and gentility among professionals navigating manners in the colonies—though it was arguably also present in the “moral guardianship” that Sven Beckert observed among the New York bourgeoisie of the same period.17 Among the professionals, as this article will argue, these moral values were inherited from an older British middle class, who identified their place in the social hierarchy as God-given and natural.18 This was a position that shifted in Australia, by the end of the nineteenth century, to a class status among professionals that appeared to be earned, sustaining a myth of merit that structured individual aspiration upward, in a hierarchy that in fact often benefited only a few.

While historians have focused on the ways the professionals affected the shifting political scene at the turn of the twentieth century, they have not overlooked the fact that professionals were also operating in a changing economy. Michael Zakim, for example, has shown that the nonproducing classes (including the professionals, but also white-collar workers further down the hierarchy, especially clerks) helped “contain the effects of the market” out of a concern, shared by capitalists, for the “social contract.”19 Similarly, in the 1970s, Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich argued that the “professional-managerial class” that began in the 1890s mediated the “basic class conflict of capitalist society.”20 Harold Perkin’s analysis was different, looking for the cause of the professionals’ rise despite the fact that they did not really produce anything. The success of professionals, Perkin argued, was grounded in their capacity to persuade capitalist society that what they offered had value. His analysis suggests that the professions emerged surreptitiously, then, producing what I came to imagine as a sneaky middle class, hidden behind the divergent interests of capital and labor.21

As a result of the position of the professions against capital and labor in the historiography, in this article I discuss the role of each profession against capitalism as it developed at the time. In my analysis of each profession, I consider their grounding, often in established British class characteristics, and the ways these metamorphosed into skill and moral character in each profession. This helps us to recognize that progress and civilization—concepts central to the settler colonial project—were both moral and economic, structurally tethered to the professionals and their role in the history of capitalism.

Background: BHP, Mining, and Finance Capital in Australia

Two forces were transforming Australian capitalism in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century, both influenced by developments in the City of London. One was that, since the American Revolution, Britain’s wealthy elite needed more places to invest their capital if they were to assure their annual income. A significant portion of these funds went to Australia, investing in expeditions that resulted in a sheep population more than twenty-five times the continent’s non-Aboriginal human presence by 1873.22 In order to bolster the growth of finance capital for this purpose, British parliament began to introduce limited liability legislation from the 1850s, despite considerable resistance. This opposition was mainly voiced by middle-class Evangelicals, who believed that the share market might undermine the moral connection between work and its material reward. Despite Evangelical objections, however, by the 1870s British investors were able to buy shares in a wide range of joint-stock companies with the protection of limited-liability legislation.23

Concern about the potential immorality of share trading extended to Australia, where the community widely subscribed to Adam Smith’s position that joint-stock corporations should be limited to railways and utilities.24 It was mining, the second force shifting the colonial economy, that changed all that, and Broken Hill that made share trading popular. Versions of limited liability were established in gold rush Victoria and then New South Wales, progressively, leading to the establishment of stock markets in Melbourne in the 1860s and Sydney in the 1870s.25 The New South Wales Act meant that shareholders normally paid a nominal proportion of the share value (which was usually £1 per share, so sometimes only paying a few shillings) and pulled out if the mine looked less than promising, without ever paying the full share price. This encouraged much higher levels of participation in share trading, especially after the discovery of new gold fields in New South Wales in the early 1870s.26

Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP)—an Australian company that mined and smelted the ore that literally built modern Australia, shipping the coal that still sits atop Australia’s export tally—was founded amid this flurry of share trading.27 In 1883, silver fever, fueled by finance capital, sent enterprising miners into the desert. With the news that an extremely large lode of silver-lead-zinc would keep mining work in the Broken Hill region for generations, share trading became extremely popular. Broken Hill Proprietary released its first shares in 1883, valued at £9 each. Brokers initially struggled to sell this first expensive allotment (also requiring full payment), but by 1888 they were worth nearly thirty times that, at £268 per share.28 While the Proprietary was always the “big mine” in Broken Hill, there emerged a multiplicity of small and sometimes-growing mining companies, beyond BHP—some developing into very large concerns, like one of Herbert Hoover’s key interests, Zinc Corporation. These companies were also the subject of substantial interest among those speculating and investing in shares traded on stock exchanges in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and London.29

The growth of the market in mining shares was what encouraged the emergence of our first group of Broken Hill professionals, the accountants.

The Wild West, with Accountants

Working in the New South Wales State Records office, I felt that reading early government records of Broken Hill was like reading the Wild West, if it were written by accountants. The reports of cartloads of water, dust storms, and typhoid outbreaks evoked frontier living that seemed at odds with the bureaucratic tone of government documentation. It was then that I realized that as well as the iron sheeting and wood transported to build in the outback, paperwork was also an important part of establishing the town. This is not what we normally expect after generations of Australian historical clichés about the outback, which is consistently imagined through the lens of highly masculine, physical work conducted outdoors.30 Frontier living, by contrast, was in fact associated with significant money transactions and government interactions. This, in the context of the period’s increasing demand for paperwork, also created a demand for accountants.31 Around twenty years after the establishment of the township as a row of tents and shacks, eight members of Broken Hill’s financial services met at the Freemason’s Hotel to form their own professional body, the Broken Hill Institute of Accountants.32

Why did a small outback town like Broken Hill require its own professional association for accountants as early as 1905? We must mainly reason this out, for the records of the Institute are long lost, though local newspapers report some of their meetings and offer a record of the social and civic habits of some of its members. The Institute of Chartered Accountants hunted for records in 1969, but it could only confirm the Broken Hill Institute’s existence among the Adelaide Society’s records.33 Local historians have not been terribly concerned, for the wealth of Broken Hill is associated with minerals, not those counting the money. Historians often overlook accountants, who indeed are rarely visible agents in an archive, despite their role in some of its creation. The establishment of the Institute of Accountants, however, tells us that while they might have little place in Broken Hill’s heritage a century later, in 1905 it was important that they be trusted. Accountants evidently believed that they needed a body that would offer reassurance to their clients on one hand, and regulate membership of their profession on the other. In pursuing these goals, their first undertaking, according to a local newspaper report, was to set an examination to regulate access to the profession—and, presumably, to also limit competition in town.34

It was quick work in the history of professionalization. Just as Broken Hill was founded, accountants in the South Australian capital of Adelaide formed the first association for the profession in Australia.35 Moreover, only one decade prior to that, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales began to offer examinations, accrediting some Australian accountants in the eastern cities.36 Prior to the widespread growth of share trading, historian of accounting Chris Poullaos argues, formal registration of accountants was not necessary, even if bookkeeping was.37

To understand the Broken Hill Institute, then, we need to consider the frontier world of finance capital and exchange. Australian historians have typically seen the significance of the extraction of wealth in the form of silver and lead from the line of lode, but in fact many speculators made faster cash money in Broken Hill’s Argent Street, where there were two stock exchanges. There was another stock exchange at the nearby town of Silverton, and informal exchanges operated in the open air in both towns.38 But share trading was more than a tool for investment; it was an abstraction of the concept of trade itself. Profit from shares was gained at an increasingly rapid rate: smart money was often made from paper, not minerals. Some of this investment made its way to the actual mines, but according to Geoffrey Blainey, mines were often mere “counters for gamblers.”39 Faster profits could be made in share trading than in mining, and for less effort.

The founding moment of BHP is often depicted as if it were an accident, where a boundary rider happened across surface ore, which encouraged him to gather some friends and peg out a claim. But BHP was in fact formed in a farmhouse. There, in 1883, a handful of sheep-station workers formed a “Syndicate of Seven,” splitting an idea that most would soon trade away as shares.40 Naturally they also employed some men to help dig a shaft, but the abstraction that was BHP became increasingly important as Broken Hill grew and mine leases multiplied. Much profit was made in the moment of the exchange of shares; so, on one level, there was no real reason for the mine to even exist—or at least, so reasoned some share traders. Broken Hill’s wild stock exchanges were particularly fertile ground for swindlers. Shares in fake mines sold for extraordinary prices as silver fever hit, not just among those owning and running the rapidly industrializing mines in the hills, but in this abstract, faster-paced and less labor-intensive world of monetary exchange.41

Abstracting profit from work by trading in shares was exactly what British middle-class Evangelicals feared would happen if joint-stock corporations became more widespread.42 Accountants across the British Empire normally hailed from this middle class. The activities of members of the Broken Hill Institute of Accountants affirmed their class status: those who did not work for themselves performed white-collar work for local mines, the municipal council, the Silverton Tramway company, or local merchant Walter Sully.43 Some of the profession’s leaders across the British Empire hailed from more elevated families, giving them the influence that came with such networks. This helped embed the profession in the Empire’s economy. A few also came from lower-middle- and upper-working-class families and used the new profession as a tool for social mobility. But in its character, professionalized accounting reflected the values of Victorian middle-class Britain. As if to reassure themselves that capitalist excesses had a moral counterweight, as the accountants professionalized they imbued their profession with skills that embodied middle-class morality, balancing out the potential excesses of capitalism even as they helped progress it.

This moral stance toward the world is further evident in the civic responsibilities the Broken Hill accountants assumed. Not only were members of the institute frequently listed among the contributors to the Benevolent Society as well as hospital and disaster funds, but they also offered labor and expertise to their community. C. J. Emery, for example, was chairman of the Pony Ambulance Trust (a small group who funded and coordinated a horse and cart that transported injured workers to hospital), J. H. Cameron was secretary of the Hospital Board, and F. A. Hince was secretary of one of several local Orders of Odd Fellows. Several were involved in establishing the local parents’ association attached to the Broken Hill School, and most assisted with coordinating sporting associations—cricket, lacrosse, bowling, horse racing. Others were involved in the Barrier Boys’ Brigade, where Emery was on the board of management and F. A. Archbald promoted the profession further by offering a bookkeeper’s class for children.44 Such middle-class activities directed to a shared, civic good embodied the characteristics that, as Chris Poullaos has shown, were becoming associated with the accountants’ professional standing. Integrity, trustworthiness, and attention to detail were a part of the moral character that the new professional associations asked of their accountants.45

In part, these professional qualities, imbued with class characteristics and attached to civic responsibility, helped to differentiate the accredited accountants from clerks, share “jobbers,” or real-estate agents who did bookkeeping on the side. Placing the professional, accredited accountants at the top of the hierarchy of those responsible for paperwork and bookkeeping elevated their status. This elevation, however, was nevertheless grounded in the importance of trust to the success of capital. Excluding real-estate agents and share jobbers, who bought and sold shares on their own behalf as well as for others, gave the accountants relative trustworthiness by default. As a profession, accountancy offered, as Michael Zakim has noted of nineteenth-century bookkeeping in general, an “island of disinterested neutrality in the era’s tidal wave of profit seeking,” a moral weight to paper’s flimsiness.46 Accredited professional accountants took this ideology further. They incorporated an older middle-class morality into a newer ideology that identified objective, numerical truth with class status— they were like, and yet obviously above, “mere clerks.”47

So, amid all the swindlers and behind all the exchange of paper, the professional accountants were at work. On the basis of accountants’ reports, shares were bought and sold and dividends calculated. A professional accountant was assurance of the quality of the records on which decisions and money were made. Evidently, the stock markets and business dealings of Argent Street were as wild as other aspects of the frontier town.48 A group was formed to decide which accountants were in and which were out, allowing accountants to trade on the assurances such an institute could provide. Of course, once this group was formalized it, like all the other clubs and societies in town, also appointed an accountant—the town clerk, Archbald—to prepare its records.49 Professionalization was breeding itself.

Papers and Capital: The Place of Journalism in the Outback

The first 16,000 BHP shares were printed in 1883 at the office of the Silver Age newspaper in Silverton.50 This newspaper, established in that year, was moved to Broken Hill by 1893, when it became the Broken Hill Age. This was not the first newspaper in Broken Hill. There were also the Broken Hill Times (1886–87), the Broken Hill Argus (1888), and the Broken Hill Budget (1890–93). The Age did not last long. By the end of the 1890s, the two newspapers that would dominate in the town over the twentieth century had already emerged: the Barrier Miner, established in 1888, and the Barrier Truth, which became the Barrier Daily Truth—one of many local labor newspapers. This one began in 1898 (changing its name in 1908) and still runs today.51

While journalism evidently became important locally, Broken Hill journalists offered a service that extended to the farthest reaches of the nation. In the 1880s, key stories from the Silver Age were reprinted in newspapers around Australia. These mainly consisted of reports of individual silver mines in the area. The details are surprising: based on managers’ reports, these stories itemized the depth of the shafts, the exact quantities of ore obtained before and after smelting in a given week, the hours of operating the smelters before running out of coal, and even the breakage and repair of certain parts in the machinery for accessing shafts and pumping water out, all specified in loving detail.52

Why did newspaper readers across Australia want to read these technical details? Silver surely was silver, but the share value of different mining companies was much more variable than the ore. Capitalists needed local newspapers to report the details of mining operations to keep the wheels of speculative capital turning. Some of this would be invested in mines, but many paper shares would just circulate, exchanged for paper money between men in cigar smoked rooms in the city, where they pored over the latest news of silver, choosing their next gamble on the newfangled stock exchanges. Reports were sent back to mines too, so that a drop in BHP share prices from £45 to £40 in April 1886 “occasioned a good deal of speculation locally,” where miners were profiting from paper as well as silver.53 The rapidity with which paper circulated determined the amount of money made from money, but this exchange still sat atop mining. Or at least it still relied on the idea of mining, and stories of mining—and so such stories circulated in ink on paper of yet another kind, around the country. Sometimes this reporting backfired. In 1889, Barrier Miner journalist Smiler Hales went undercover to expose false reports from mine owners who were attempting to manipulate share markets.54

Mining journalism was very important to the profession in nineteenth-century Australia—because of the share market—and it was sometimes a pathway to the more esteemed and lucrative city presses.55 By the time Broken Hill was being populated, journalism was a well-established occupation, though the character and standing of its practitioners as professionals was still contested territory. It was a profession with inauspicious beginnings, under convict tradesmen who started the colony’s first newspaper from the printing press in the governor’s office.56 Later journalists rarely came from such lowly origins. In fact, as local parliaments were established and self-government loomed, journalism was increasingly one of the pathways to a political career in the colonial cities, and was therefore a profession that the colonial elite often sought to enter.57 It was not just the elite, however. As it unfolded, journalists were a motley group of literary and political elites on one side and those who considered the field a skilled trade on the other. Some nineteenth-century journalists held that they accessed their position through networks—believing, for example, that one had to attend the elite Geelong Grammar School to get a job on the Melbourne Age. Others entered the industry as message boys and worked their way up, often to senior positions on the same metropolitan dailies that represented the pinnacle of the profession.58

Both career trajectories told a truth about journalism and imbued the profession with their contradictory characteristics. Hard work and long hours told the public that influential journalists earned their positions on merit; reliable networks of informants spoke of social power; and a certain serendipity attached to personal stories of journalistic success implied that good luck was born, somehow, of a person’s character. These professional attributes combined with journalists’ literate, masculine (and often masculinist), and sometimes aggressive voice in the public sphere, although many of the male-run newspapers made good money from the advertising revenue they derived from women’s pages, which were written by women journalists.59 As historian Denis Cryle has argued, despite the presence of women, as a profession journalism embodied middle-class masculinity.60

For all this individual heroism, journalists displayed a consciousness that they held a responsible position socially. The Sydney Morning Herald was frequently morally stern as it sought to guide the former convict city’s inhabitants: by the end of the century, a new generation of journalists referred to the paper disparagingly as “granny.”61 As the century unfolded, this sense of responsibility shifted toward political disinterest, incorporating something of the objectivity then transforming scientific laboratories and their professional values—the type of investigative journalism that sent Hales undercover to expose the truth about the mines was a product of this shift.62 With an eye on their moral and educative responsibilities, now growing into professional standards, in the 1870s a group of Melbourne newspapermen formed a short-lived professional association. They hoped to enhance the reputation and authority of journalists by the maintenance of professional principles, by regulating entry to the profession through examination.63

These values were working against an alignment between journalism and political interests that fueled the proliferation of newspapers in the second half of the nineteenth century. Every interest, it seemed, required a newspaper to represent it. Small townships launched newspapers that would represent them further afield; the endlessly changing number of labor organizations all started their own newspapers; and the radical nationalists—remembered by historians a century later primarily for their racism and misogyny—ensured that their irreverent and, as they put it, intrinsically Australian views, dominated Australian popular culture by the end of the century.64 Broken Hill’s capitalists believed that the large metropolitan newspapers were there to represent their interests; relationships with the journalists who would write about their mines and promote their shares were important.65

This segmentation of interests was reflected in Broken Hill newspapers, too; the Barrier Miner was known to be the newspaper representing capital. Decades later, media magnate Rupert Murdoch was sent to cut his teeth on this paper in anticipation of his taking over his father’s media empire. Its office was almost next door to the Daily Truth, which was owned and operated by the Barrier Industrial Council and represented labor interests, though both papers maintained a veneer of disinterested objectivity. The journalists thus arose in Broken Hill as representatives of class conflict. About half of them worked in support of labor, the other half in support of capital. They were evidently developing a distinct class consciousness of their own, however, for at the end of each day, journalists from both papers met for a drink at a nearby pub, the Federal Hotel, later renamed the Black Lion.66

Working Bodies—and the Nurses Who Helped Them Work

Class conflict escalated quickly in Broken Hill, and in 1892 the unions staged a major strike, the first of many over the coming decades. Conflict focused on the use of contract, rather than waged, labor. Underpinning this, however, were concerns that such contracts would encourage the kind of “sweating” that left miners’ “bodies wrecked and their bloom of life all gone, through poisonous gases and lead.”67 Broken Hill workers and their families were acutely aware that mine profitability sat atop the exploitation of working-class male bodies.

Mining was a dangerous occupation. Blainey took pains to point out that the mines in Broken Hill were not more dangerous than mining elsewhere in Australia, though that was not saying very much.68 BHP’s foreman, Samuel Sleep, wrote to the company’s first general manager in 1885, when it had only thirty-two workers: “Things in general are going Pritty whell [sic]. There seems to be something wrong with the Main shaft for 5 of the men are sick now & most of them with the same Complaint.”69 There was indeed something wrong. As men moved underground, ore was loosened using explosives that filled the air workers breathed with lead-laden dust. In memoirs and oral histories, nurses who worked and trained at the Broken Hill hospital described the horrendously blackened lungs of miners suffering pneumoconiosis and tuberculosis; they saw seizures, abdominal pain, and the slow, debilitating effects of mental impairment that characterized lead poisoning.70 In 1892 the New South Wales government launched the first of many inquiries into lead poisoning and its effects in Broken Hill, but as a result of industrial conflict, it chose to draw no conclusions.71 Where government and capital alike failed to protect working bodies, professional medical services, especially nursing, became increasingly important as mining industrialized.

Broken Hill’s first makeshift hospital was established in 1886 to cope with a single mining accident.72 Just three years after the Syndicate of Seven sat in a farmhouse dividing up their future imagined profits, accounts of three fatalities at the Broken Hill Proprietary Mine were heard by the coroner, who found each to be accidental.73 Nevertheless, BHP funded Broken Hill’s first hospital. It was nothing more than a tent, but then, so was much of the town.74 The tent quickly gave way to a more substantial building, also constructed by BHP and cofunded by one of the original Syndicate of Seven, George McCulloch.75 This funding was insufficient to keep the hospital running, however, and workers contributed a portion of their weekly wages to its running costs, in order to be eligible for free treatment.76

The hospital needed professional staff, of course, though it always had many more nurses than doctors. Medicine was an old profession, which worked to keep other would-be health practitioners out of their monopoly from the 1850s onwards, with substantial success—we will consider their significance for the professions and the growth of the middle class later.77 Professional nurses were quite new, however, when Broken Hill’s hospital was established, a development initiated by women from the British upper class. Indeed, each profession required elite representatives to press their interests, a hierarchy that matters to a labor history of the professions, as we will see. On January 23, 1863, Lady Harriet Mary Dowling wrote to Florence Nightingale, an upper-class woman whose reputation in nursing had been made during the Crimean War a decade earlier. Lady Dowling was keen, she explained, to interest Nightingale in her “project of sending duly qualified nurses to the Australian Colonies,” where her son was posted. The first task, Lady Dowling suggested, was for she and other upper-class women to communicate this desire to the “influential ladies” in the various colonies, including Lady Gipps in Sydney and Lady Franklin in Tasmania.78

Three years later, the Prime Minister of New South Wales, Henry Parkes, wrote formally to request trained nurses for the Sydney Infirmary. Lucy Osburn, the most senior of Nightingale’s nurses to travel to Sydney in response, wrote regularly to Nightingale. In this correspondence, it is evident that nursing in Australia required— and had—aristocratic support in Sydney as well as in London. Nursing professionals, however, were recruited from middle-class women and, just as importantly, were steeped in ideals associated with Victorian domesticity and middle-class femininity.79 The nurses’ professional status, as Mary Poovey has shown, was deliberately shaped by Nightingale and her adherents and grounded in women’s authority in the domestic sphere, now asserted as professional skill. Thrift, cleanliness, efficiency, and feminine compassion were combined, by the nurses, to forge a kind of nobility that the letters Australian nurses wrote to Nightingale repeatedly espoused.80

Three decades after Lucy Osburn brought the first few Nightingale nurses to Sydney, Australasian Nurses formed their Trained Nurses Association. In the 1890s, the demand for nurses still far outstripped supply. Edith Noble told Nightingale in that in 1891, the twenty-one-bed hospital for which she worked still had only one trained nurse as matron, “two girls of the servant class as day nurses and one elderly female for night work.”81 Trained nurses were not of “the servant class.” Rather, middle-class women actively professionalized such labor, which had previously been undertaken by servants, giving it a new respectability. Given the poor supply at the time, if the hospital at Broken Hill was to be supplied with trained (a word in which we must also read “middle-class”) nurses, it would be best to train them locally.

To achieve this, the hospital needed nurses capable of training others. In 1904, the Broken Hill Social Democratic Club began to lobby for the recruitment of a trained nurse for the hospital, pledging to contribute one-quarter of the salary, which the state government would match.82 They successfully persuaded other local interest groups to fund the remainder of the £100 salary for the woman who took up the post, known only in the newspaper as Nurse Edwards. By 1906 a Broken Hill Trained Nurses Association was established. In 1908 five nurses passed examinations in anatomy and physiology.83 By 1911 several nurses had passed the examinations conducted by the Australasian Trained Nurses Association and registered as trained nurses.84 The nursing school that grew in Broken Hill had an excellent reputation, right up until nursing education moved into the university system in the late 1980s.85

As the Broken Hill hospital began its training program, assuring nurses’ respectability was clearly a priority, as were habits of work discipline, internalized through training. Trainee nurses at the Broken Hill hospital were subject to rigorous academic, professional, and moral regulation.86 Such respectability was matched by considerable respect, evident throughout newspaper reports. The tone of articles featuring Nurse Edwards was one of near-reverence; and the town’s leading citizens offered her a silver cake dish in recognition of a mere four years’ work (by contrast, doctors were rarely accorded similar distinctions until their retirement).87 Early photographs of Broken Hill nursing staff, moreover, show these women neatly dressed, sometimes sipping from sherry glasses, with other well-dressed men and women. They do not appear to be people we would expect to consort regularly with mine laborers, who we know often had only enough water to pour a small jug over their heads to wash after a day underground before entering the back door of their wood and iron huts.88

The class status of women nurses was an important element of their role in Broken Hill. The nurses offered a moral counterweight to capital. The gendering of the profession, connecting it to women’s authority in the home, offered a different moral counterweight to the journalists and accountants, derived instead from Victorian ideals surrounding domesticity. This was necessary, in fact, for their role was grounded in a moral—and never, ever sexual—relationship to working-class male bodies (at least, not yet, in their professional history). The nurses’ class status and gender, as well as the efficiency and orderliness that resulted from their training, came to characterize their work. This helped to imbue their professional standing with a sense of moral calling (as Nightingale had hoped it would), which seemed then to offset some of the worst effects of capital in Broken Hill and the wider society.

Children of the (Industrial) Revolution Need Teachers

By now it was self-evident in Australia that where there were children, there must also be a school. The need to get children out of factories and into another kind of ordered, industrial setting is a well-known story, transposed in Australia where education’s advocates were especially successful in securing public support.89 In 1886, Alexander Riddle, editor and proprietor of the Broken Hill Times, applied to the colonial government for a school on behalf of the residents of Broken Hill. In response, the district inspector of schools for the Broken Hill region wrote a supporting note to the chief inspector, pointing out that the economic success of the region was dependent on the availability of mine workers. Workers were now moving into the shelters erected by the management of the mine and “have now brought their families to live with them.” These children obviously needed a teacher if society expected their fathers to work in Broken Hill, a fact that revealed the education system’s structural role in the success of industrialized mining.90

The kind of industrialized order that the school room exemplified was further reflected in the formidable educational bureaucracy of which the district inspector was a small part. This was characterized by a formal hierarchy, with thirteen-year-old (often female) pupil teachers at the bottom and the chief inspector at the top. The teachers’ place in the hierarchy was prescribed—at least on the surface—by a strict sequence of examinations. In reality, however, the inspectorate also regulated the increasingly established teaching profession based on class and gender norms. These infused the correspondence attached to the Broken Hill School which, exchanged by inspectors of different levels, established the decisions and erected the barriers that education’s advocates long hoped would help spread middle-class respectability and civility across the colony. Such aspirations began with British Evangelicals, who saw literacy and then education as the foundation of the spiritual and social agendas that they wished to evangelize.91 This social agenda galvanized education in the Australian colonies.

Schooling systematized these middle-class values and structured them into a merit-based hierarchy. Teachers moving through this hierarchy would therefore embody such values, now formalized as “skill” and “character.” “I have a IIIA Certificate, obtaining the same by examination held during the month of June 1885,” explained Jeremiah M. Boyle in his application to become the first teacher in Broken Hill. His district inspector gave the chief inspector the other information, which could not be examined: “He is a young, healthy, religious and strictly sober man. I regard him as a man particularly well fitted to be sent out to the back country—he will not require much looking after. He has only one or two children which is another point in his favor.”92 Few offspring meant fewer things could go wrong: small children were dying of typhoid and other illnesses at an alarming rate in Broken Hill. The key qualification for Boyle, however, was that he was married. Things were changing, but schoolteachers were often appointed as families, rather than as individuals, so that the school practically had a second teacher, for free.93 Mrs. Boyle taught sewing at the new Broken Hill School. The correspondence with the inspector shows that the educational establishment accorded “Mr Boyle, Teacher” (as he signed his letters) considerable respect.

Respect, by contrast, was not often a privilege offered the young, female assistant- and pupil-teachers appointed to the school, however. The problem was primarily their sex: the chief inspector wrote disdainfully on every letter received from the female assistant teacher, Miss Sawyer, for example. In denying Miss Sawyer’s request that special consideration be given to the cost of traveling to her family for Christmas (which cost one-fifth of her annual income), and of purchasing household water in Broken Hill, the chief inspector scribbled, “Other teachers in this locality do not grumble.” He did not seem to notice that the only other teacher in town did not perhaps have the same need to “grumble,” since he was already given all that Miss Sawyer requested—and, moreover, every additional request Jeremiah Boyle made in the file was answered positively.94

Esteemed senior schoolteachers in this period could be women but, in the Australian colonies, teachers in stable, career-enhancing positions were likely to be male.95 Pupilage was the accepted method for training teachers, but among young women in remote schools, the inspectorate sought cheap—or even free—labor. Pupil-teachers worked without pay until they passed their examination, but in outback Broken Hill, the inspector rarely visited to conduct the examinations. This was why pupil-teachers were mostly women, for the inspectorate assumed that they would marry rather than pursue a teaching career. One pupil teacher’s clearly unionized parents withdrew her from pupilage, fed up with their daughter offering labor to the institution for free.96

The plainly exploitative nature of much teaching labor—especially for pupil-teachers—is important. Teaching developed a hierarchical structure, which enabled the profession to exploit those at the bottom by dangling career aspiration before them while simultaneously keeping them out of influential and financially rewarding positions. They were what C. Wright Mills later called the “lumpen bourgeoisie,” borrowing esteem from above, but suffering below.97 Worse, they were likely to see this suffering as their own fault. The system of examination meant that the exploitation of these professionals could be internalized as personal failure, a failure to earn a more elevated position. This perverse application of merit was an important aspect of the professions as they emerged, for it militated against coherent performances of class consciousness.

Engineering Capital

In contrast to the ways that a teacher’s professional identity was structured by strict and formal merit-based hierarchies, the emergence of mining engineering in Australia appears, on the surface at least, to be radically egalitarian. The Australasian Institute of Mining Engineers was formed in 1892 in Broken Hill by members of the Amalgamated Mining Managers’ Association. They replicated almost exactly the regulations of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, established nearly twenty years earlier. That institute’s secretary, R. W. Raymond, advised the new professional body about the elements that had made the American institute so successful. Most important, Raymond counseled, was the absence of any qualifications required for membership. This not only made for a larger membership, enabling them to print and circulate their journal for a small annual fee (US $10 in 1892—the Australasian Institute then collected two guineas per year), such liberal membership was essential for securing the on-the-ground knowledge that the profession was then just beginning to accumulate: “[This practice] attracts men of practical knowledge without special foregoing education, such as mine-captains and the foremen of mines, furnaces, rolling-mills &c. Such persons are apt to shrink from associations with graduates of schools; or from subjecting their professional qualifications to review. Yet they are the very men who are most helpful, if they can be induced to communicate their observations and experiences, without the risk of mortification.”98 This approach was affirmed by the Australasian Institute’s first president, former South Australian Premier Sir Henry Ayers, in his inaugural address. The history of mining in the Australian colonies, Ayers pronounced, was a story of the collaboration between engineers, scientists, and “practical men.”99

Managing mines required this collaboration, for things were changing quickly. New skills and knowledge were developing, applying science and engineering to problems as they were encountered, often by foremen, as mining industrialized. “Picking up ores from the surface is now a thing of the past,” noted Mr. J. Stirling at the Australasian Institute’s first meeting. “The mining of the future must be that of deep sinking,” he continued, detailing a complex array of new problems that would need to be solved.100 The resulting labor specialization was not the only driver of the profession, however. According to key founder and inaugural secretary Uriah Dudley, the Institute of Mining Engineers was established as a response to a sequence of government inquiries and Royal Commissions. These were the consequence of mine worker agitation over mine safety, as workers in mines across the colonies were being injured or killed, or sustaining long-term illnesses through their work in industrialized mines. Something needed to be done, Dudley pronounced at the inaugural meeting of the institute, “to improve the status of the mining engineer—practical as well as professional gentlemen—and to improve the mining industry generally. . . . It was then thought that a federal institute like the American Institute of Mining Engineers would be a really grand thing for the colonies.”101 Like the other professions, mining engineering was intended to alleviate some of the symptoms of capitalism at this stage in its history. Their professional association would allow them to develop and share the knowledge that, they hoped, would make mining safer and more efficient, improving their status in society in the process.

In order to develop this knowledge in the mining engineering profession, the mine managers manufactured a flatter hierarchy than in other professions. Indeed, across the engineering professions, there was a great deal of slippage between working-class trades and more esteemed professionals. This slippage, as elite mining engineers made explicit in their correspondence with one another, helped the profession appropriate knowledge that was learned through labor. Such “deskilling,” as Marxist scholars have long shown, was a key tool for the exploitation of workers. As such knowledge became the possession of those in managerial roles, engineers further up the hierarchy held the tools with which they could control and direct those who did the work. And by breaking up labor into more menial and less-skilled segments, wages were also reduced.102

None of this would have surprised workers in Broken Hill. They would have recognized the institute’s status as capital as soon as it was formed. Although skilled working-class men were clearly encouraged to contribute their hard-earned knowledge to engineering (and, over time, to consider it a viable, merit-based pathway to the middle class), the new institute emerged from the Mining Managers’ Association, the body with whom the unions fought and negotiated.103

The Broken Hill Club: The Role of Professional Elites

The mine managers were part of an elite, transnational network of experts and capitalists that connected Californian mines and the City of London to the Australian outback: “In the past a number of gentlemen were introduced from America, but they never had to deal with such big lodes as are to be found in Broken Hill. . . . We in Broken Hill have learned much from the Americans but they in turn have learned a good deal from us.”104 For all this parochial assertion of local engineering muscle, mining engineering in Broken Hill continued to rely on transnational networks. Future US President Herbert Hoover, for example, was one of Broken Hill’s most famous engineers. By the early twentieth century when he arrived, Hoover was already well known in Australia as a mine manager who brought considerable profit to the international interests in which he personally held a significant share.105 The story of Hoover the engineer, from his unlikely education at Stanford despite significant disadvantages, through to the combination of clever innovations and good luck that made him wealthy, seems to confirm the myth of merit that the professions have relied on in forging their place in the history of capitalism.106 For in fact it was not Hoover’s engineering abilities that made him and several others (even) wealthier; rather, it was his friends.107

Over dinner in the Freemasons Hotel in Broken Hill around 1905, Hoover and some friends began to plan Zinc Corporation, which rivaled BHP in Broken Hill for much of the following century. Hoover—“known to us all as ‘Hail Columbia,’” according to one who was present—was the technically knowledgeable one of the group, but the engineer could not achieve the kind of success he sought by himself. It is significant that a journalist, W. S. Robinson, was also in the room, as was his brother Lionel Robinson, who was a partner in a share-broking firm in the City of London.108 These men—and the masculinity associated with their enterprise cannot be overstated—connected their professional skill to what they experienced as genuine, affectionate friendships to achieve distinctly capitalist ends. The ore they extracted from Broken Hill’s line of lode could not bring them profit without the share market, a market which, as we have seen, also relied on the growth of journalism. That Broken Hill hotel meeting launched the Collins House finance group, which controlled a significant portion of Australian mining interests for decades thereafter.109

Hoover’s little group suggests that the top branches of professional hierarchy occupied the same world as the period’s capitalists. This would imply that Harold Perkin was mistaken in imagining that the top members of professional society were workers who traded their labor for (albeit considerable) wages.110 Within decades, there was little that could be considered middle class about these particular men, though they all originated there. Friendship networks were the foundation of the respectability of the profession of mining engineering, for while there were no qualifications required for admission, membership did require “the endorsement by three members or associates . . . in order to have some assurance of the good faith and respectability of the candidate.”111 But at the top of the professional hierarchy, friendship went beyond this—and indeed beyond individual professions—in ways that reveal connections that were being made, as the stock exchanges grew, between professional standing, social power, and capital.

At the top of the hierarchy of professionals, doctors and lawyers shared some of these friendship networks. Their history was longer than the other professions. While doctors and lawyers were structurally embedded in colonial society with the establishment of universities in Melbourne and Sydney (and of examinations in Britain) in the 1850s, their development clearly preceded the broadening of professional work that is the subject of this article.112 I will not, as a result, recount their emergence in the colonies as I have the other professionals. They are nevertheless important in Broken Hill—and for the history of professions—despite there being very few of them in town, in fact. Broken Hill’s first lawyer, John R. Edwards, did the work one would expect, shielding hotel owners from meddling sergeants, protecting debtors from creditors when all their goods for trade were destroyed in a fire, and negotiating on behalf of small mining companies in their disputes over claims.113

More significant for our understanding of the place of the professions in class systems during this phase of the history of capitalism is that elite professionals like Edwards also shouldered significant civic responsibilities. These were similar in spirit to those undertaken by members of the Broken Hill Institute of Accountants, but they assumed greater community leadership. After a typhoid outbreak in 1888, Edwards was very vocal in the campaign to ensure that safe drinking water was available in Broken Hill, which has no natural water supply.114 He secured a loan for the local municipal council, of which he was a member, and was one among the “gentlemen including representative citizens and the heads of departments and professions” who presented an award to J. P. Browne, a government agent who presided over a disaster fund for widows and orphans after a catastrophic collapse at the South Mine in 1895.115 Edwards was not alone, of course; although Edwards represented the South Mine during the inquest, many of the “thirty or so” men were senior professionals, including accountants, who bore their share of the burden of civic responsibility.116

Certainly, Broken Hill’s first doctor, Henry Groves, was also expected to have a public role.117 Groves’s obituaries suggest he was a doctor for the workers, stressing that he personally covered the costs of pharmaceuticals for workers unable to afford them. Earlier newspaper reports however, suggest he was not as popular alive as he was dead, though a Barrier Miner journalist conceded that “whatever may be individual opinions regarding this medical gentleman, there is no doubt of his devotion to his public office.”118 The elite professionals were—and were expected to be—advocates of the other values that the professions structured into the colonies: morality, respectability, exposing the truth where necessary, and ensuring structures in which decisions were based on reason and, increasingly, informed by merit-based expertise. The elite professionals, like Edwards and Groves, embodied and advocated for the values that the professions shared, which had evolved from British middle-class morality and were now becoming solidified into professional standards, across the emerging occupations.

“Professional society,” argued Harold Perkin, “is based on merit, but some acquire merit more easily than others.”119 In this respect Perkin was right. Social power, obtained through friendship networks, was central to the civic work that elite professionals performed—power that they also often exercised on behalf of less-esteemed members of their profession. In Broken Hill, Doctor Groves was the founding chairman of the Broken Hill Club, an elite organization open only to leading professionals, including doctors, lawyers, mine managers, and large landowners.120 Socially, doctors and lawyers were customarily aligned with the elite, including capitalist interests. The Broken Hill Club helps us to understand what holds the professionals together as a class, despite the existence of such hierarchies within and between each profession, that they seem almost to be consciously held apart—including at the Broken Hill Club.

Each of the professions, as we have seen, had its elites. We can imagine that if the chief inspector of schools visited Broken Hill, he too would drink at the Broken Hill Club, as would Sir Henry Ayers. It is more difficult to imagine Florence Nightingale in Broken Hill, but if she was, surely she and other influential advocates for women’s “calling” would mingle with the doctors, lawyers, and mine managers too, as would the few elite accountants such as H. B. Sweetapple, whose accompanying lady lost her brown fur boa one Saturday night in 1905.121 Their ability to influence local politicians, there—the local mayor, for example—may or may not be successful, depending on their political persuasion, but it was a plausible place to do so.122 These elites, obviously asserting the kind of intellectual leadership that Gramsci once described, were advocates for their professions in the economy, but they also helped forge the political consensus emerging at the end of the nineteenth century.123 In this, the idea that class expressed a natural, God-given order, as it did for the eighteenth-century middle class, was long rejected. The professions, with their hierarchies (both strict and informal) based on merit, structured for their workers a growing consciousness that class was earned. This is what makes it appear that the professionals shared little in the way of class consciousness, whereas in fact they shared a lot.

The contrast to the working class of Broken Hill, who shared no such sentiment, helps us here. Workers and their families knew that their laboring bodies were exploited so that others could profit. Class conflict for them was focused against the bosses—the mine magnates and the mine managers. The professionals did not typically direct such animosity toward their superiors. For the emerging professionals, the “bosses” were not the enemy, despite evident exploitation in certain areas. On the contrary, as the pinnacle of the hierarchy into which they entered, the bosses were the embodiment of professional aspiration.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that it was probably the structure most responsible for their emergence, most of the professionals—most accountants, journalists, nurses, teachers, engineers, even the doctors and lawyers—would also not have identified themselves with the stock exchange. Indeed, their professional skills and values were often grounded in older forms of British middle-class morality and respectability, which were incongruent with the values that share trading represented. Likewise, workers did not tend to see that the professional capitalists trading in abstract paper all the way to the City of London, like the Robinson brothers, were also a part of this system of exploitation. The finance capitalists did sometimes recognize it themselves, however: after the dreadful accident in 1895, the Melbourne Stock Exchange contributed £100 to the South Mine Disaster Fund.124

Such leavening of the effects of capital, however, was primarily left to the professionals. Indeed, it was a crucial part of the political compact that the professions implicitly made with society as they carved out a space for themselves in the labor market. This is why it was the senior professionals, not the mine magnates, who were expected to look after social interests in Broken Hill, establishing the school, lobbying for clean water, exposing truths in newspapers, and managing the funds when disaster struck. Beyond the schoolteachers who especially embodied it, the professionals broadly were there to structure civility into the colonies’ economic growth. It is important to note that progress and civilization—two central justifications for the entire settler colonial project—required a pairing of the moral with the economic.125 The professions were key to this. They developed in a way that ensured their practitioners were men and women of moral character (conceived in highly gendered ways), entering a hierarchy where their professional skills would be measured, pushing them—and therefore the colonies—progressively forward, morally and economically. The “moral middle class” were not just superior and patronizing as a result of their religious persuasion; for many, it was literally their job.

2

Australian Government Department of the Environment website on Broken Hill, www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/city-broken-hill (accessed January 19, 2016); Australian Heritage Database, National Heritage Listing, Broken Hill Place ID 105861, www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=105861. Broken Hill is in the state of New South Wales, but is much closer to the capital of South Australia, Adelaide—though this is still a six-hour drive away.

10

See, for example, the image associated with the 2015 Broken Heel Festival, which features a disheveled, flamboyant drag queen walking through the red desert next to an old wire fence (www.bhfestival.com; accessed January 19, 2016).

11

Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 1901 and Census 2001. Note that these figures include managers and associated professionals.

13

This definition of “master conflict” is in Perkin, Rise of Professional Society, 10.

16

Brett, Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class. As Brett notes, Australian historians have generally avoided direct engagement with the concept of the middle class; see Rickard, “The Middle Class: What Is to Be Done?,” 446–53. For a discussion of the slipperiness of the term middle class in Australian historiography, see Rowse, “The Middle Class: An Untidy Prominence.” 

18

On God-given social hierarchies, see Steedman, Labours Lost.

22

McLean, Why Australia Prospered, 80–112. There were 45,796,270 sheep in 1873 and 1,825,692 non-Aboriginal humans. Statistics Showing Relative Positions and Aggregate Importance of the Australasian Colonies at the Close of 1873. London: British Library, 1873.

24

Salsbury and Sweeney, The Bull, the Bear and the Kangaroo, 41–64. In fact, Australian railways and utilities were mainly government funded. Joint-stock companies developed first through share trading in banks, then in mining; see Ergas and Pincus, “Infrastructure and Colonial Socialism,” 222–44.

27

BHP has been BHP-Billiton since their merger with the South African company in 2001. Expanding into overseas ventures in the late twentieth century, BHP scraped through significant volatility in global commodity and share markets. It continues to trade well, despite horrific human and environmental tragedies that starkly exposed the priorities of big capital in the developing world. The company now seeks to rehabilitate its reputation by, among other things, pledging to ensure fifty percent of its workforce are women by 2025. See Chessell, “BHP Billiton”; Macklin and Thompson, Big Fella, 6.

28

Salsbury and Sweeney, The Bull, the Bear, and the Kangaroo, 134–35. The struggle to sell BHP’s first shares is recounted in correspondence in the William Jamieson Papers, MUA/1982.0065.0001, 1884–1885 (hereafter William Jamieson Papers). University of Melbourne Archives, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

30

The classic text exemplifying this is Ward, Australian Legend.

32

“Institute of Accountants,” Barrier Miner, October 24, 1905.

33

S. J. Walton to J. M. Morris, May 15, 1969, Accountants File BHA/11/8/4/1, Outback Archives, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

34

“Institute of Accountants,” Barrier Miner, October 24, 1905.

43

Of the founding members of the Institute of Accountants whose occupations are known, J. H. Cameron had his own business (“Accident to Mr J H Cameron,” Barrier Miner, October 7, 1910, 4); F. A. Hince was a manager of mining concern Lauren SM Company, and was later the accountant for the Government Water Supply Office (Barrier Miner, October 23, 1890, 3; “Stephens Creek. An Increase of 565,346,000 Gallons,” Barrier Miner, January 28, 1911, 5); Cyril J. Emery was assistant general manager of “the British mine” (British BHP) (“Personal,” Barrier Miner, November 4, 1911, 4); E. A. Archbald was the town clerk (“Advertising,” Barrier Miner, March 15, 1909, 1); L. H. M. Avery was a traffic manager at the Silverton Tramway (“Advertising,” Barrier Miner, May 27, 1899, 3); and H. B. Sweetapple was the accountant for Sully’s Department Store—where he was found guilty of aiding and abetting the storage of illegal explosives (“The Explosives Case,” Barrier Miner, March 22, 1895, 2).

44

“Pony Ambulance,” Barrier Miner, August 3, 1912, 3; “Hospital Sunday,” Barrier Miner, September 15, 1900, 2; “A.O.O.F.” Barrier Miner, May 15, 1890, 3; “Lacrosse Association,” Barrier Miner, March 18, 1908, 3; “Broken Hill Cricket Association,” Barrier Miner, April 28, 1905, 3; “Bowling Club,” Barrier Miner, November 3, 1909, 3; “Barrier Boys’ Brigade,” Barrier Miner, August 15, 1901, 2.

48

BHP shares were particularly prone to rapid buying and selling to the point of dishonesty, or at least so believed Mr. Gleeson, a sharebroker for Mr. Bayley in Sydney who claimed that another share trader, Mr. Horn, sold Mr. Bayley’s shares when Horn did not yet own them, see South Australian Register, May 8, 1886.

49

“Institute of Accountants,” Barrier Miner, October 24, 1905, 2.

51

Information on Broken Hill newspapers from National Library of Australia, www.nla.gov.au/ (accessed December 15, 2016).

52

“Silverton,” Adelaide Observer, October 17, 1885, 30.

53

“Mining,” Express and Telegraph, April 7, 1886.

54

“‘The Junction Mine,’ Another Surreptitious Inspection. Important Disclosures,” Barrier Miner, June 8, 1889; “‘Smiler’ Hales,” Barrier Miner, September 24, 1903; Kearns, Broken Hill 1883–93, 31.

64

The classic essay on this is Lake, “The Politics of Respectability,” 116–31. On labor organizations, see Bongiorno, “Constituting Labour,” 10–82.

66

Craig Brealey, oral history interview by the author at the Barrier Daily Truth, June 2013.

69

Samuel Sleep to William Jamieson, September 5, 1885, William Jamieson Papers, MUA/1982.0065.0001, 1884–1885.

70

Gladys Vance, “Memories,” in Nurse and Hospital Museum file, Broken Hill Railway Museum Archives (hereafter Railway Museum Archives), Sulphide Street, Broken Hill.

72

Christine Adams, “Notes towards a History of Nursing in Broken Hill,” Railway Museum Archives.

73

“Fatal Accident at Broken Hill,” Adelaide Observer, December 11, 1886.

74

Adams, “Notes towards a History of Nursing in Broken Hill,” Railway Museum Archives.

76

This seems to have been the plan from the beginning (see Kearns, Broken Hill 1884–1914, 9). A letter to the general manager in 1885 explains that “32 men were paid yesterday & the first subscription for the Hospital, to which they all agreed, resulted in the sum of £1–8/- being collected” (J. H. Fawcett to William Jamieson, August 16, 1885, William Jamieson Papers, MUA/1982.0065.0001, 1884–1885.

78

Lady Dowling to Florence Nightingale, January 23, 1863, Nightingale Papers. Vol. CLV, fol. 298 (hereafter Nightingale Papers), British Library, London.

80

Edith Noble to Florence Nightingale, April 7th 1891, Correspondence (multiple) Lucy Osburn to Florence Nightingale, 1867–1870, Nightingale Papers. See also Poovey, Uneven Developments, 164–98; and Hanselman, “Exercise for Their Faculties.” 

81

Edith Noble to Florence Nightingale, April 7, 1891, Nightingale Papers.

82

Barrier Miner, May 2, 1904; Barrier Miner, July 6, 1904.

83

Barrier Miner, July 18, 1908.

84

Barrier Miner, April 5, 1906; Barrier Miner, January 21, 1911.

85

Adams, “Notes towards a History of Nursing in Broken Hill,” Railway Museum Archives.

86

Gladys Vance memoir, Railway Museum Archives.

87

Barrier Miner, April 3, 1909.

88

With thanks to Christine Adams, Railway Museum Archives.

90

Memorandum 5/8/1886 attached to application for school from Inspector to District Inspector, Broken Hill High School File, NSWSR/5/15099/Box 1/BundleA/1886–1891 (hereafter Broken Hill High School File), Kingswood: State Records of New South Wales.

92

District Inspector to Chief Inspector, August 10, 1886, Broken Hill High School File.

94

Chief Inspector to District Inspector, November 20, 1889, Broken Hill High School File.

96

Correspondence, Broken Hill High School File.

98

R. W. Raymond to Uriah Dudley, December 3, 1892, Australasian Institute of Mining Engineers, Transactions, 3–6.

107

This is not to suggest that Hoover did not do any engineering in Broken Hill; see Blainey, “Herbert Hoover’s Forgotten Years.” 

110

This was the reason Perkin questioned the wholesale application of Marxist theory to the British labor market (Perkin, Rise of Professional Society, 1–26).

113

Barrier Miner, November 13, 1891, 2; Barrier Miner, February 11, 1890, 3; Barrier Miner, December 8, 1898, 1.

115

Barrier Miner, January 30, 1900, 2.

116

Barrier Miner, July 19, 1895, 4.

117

Later doctors—most notably Dr. Birks—were closely involved in Royal Commissions into worker safety; for example, see Dr Birks file [unnumbered], Outback Archives, Broken Hill.

118

Barrier Miner, December 27, 1904, Barrier Miner, June 26, 1889.

120

Oral history interview with Ray Johnson, June 22, 2013; Broken Hill Club File [unnumbered], Outback Archives, Broken Hill.

121

Barrier Miner, September 11, 1905.

122

I imagine the mayor would drink at the Broken Hill Club, though a later, distinctly socialist mayor was notorious for drinking at the Black Lion, with the journalists—and by then, the teachers, too (Peter Black, interview by author, June 30, 2013).

124

Barrier Miner, August 7, 1895, 3.

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