Robin Poke’s Rowing Research

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Robin Poke presented a PhD progress seminar at the University of Canberra today (Wednesday, 23 November).

The working title for Robin’s thesis is A Socio-Cultural History of Australian Rowing, 1770 – 2016.

This is a copy of Robin’s presentation

In the presentation, Robin discussed how he is organising the vast amount of primary sources he is using into three themes:

  • Professional/Artisan
  • Amateur/Elitist
  • Semi-Professional/Government-Funded Athletes

Robin has nine chapters of his narrative complete and is in the home stretch of his archival research. On his journey he has made substantial use of the remarkable repository that is the National Library of Australia’s Trove.

dscf7385Questions during and at the end of his presentation sought insights into how Robin was managing the granularity of the detail available to him. Another group of questions explored how Robin will address the socio-cultural issues in his working title.

Robin mentioned his use of photographs in his thesis and this led to a discussion of what additional information might be available within the pictures themselves. Bruce Coe shared his experiences of the use of images in his thesis on Ernest Marks and in his research on the VFL during the two World Wars.

Conversations about Robin’s work continued over lunch and so he had an opportunity for formal and informal questions.

Robin shared  these notes with the audience in advance of the seminar. They gave every attendee a feel for the rigorous work being undertaken. Robin is due to submit his thesis in 2017.

Photo Credit

Elsie Ellen Hawkins in a single scull (Australian National Maritime Museum, No known copyright restrictions)

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