Great Central State The foundation of the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory's first European decades were an extraordinary mixture of grand vision and human folly, peopled with larger-than-life characters.
In Great Central State, Jack Cross tells the story of South Australia's ambitious - or foolhardy - plan to become the premier colony of Australia using its own unique experience in planned colonisation, and its bid to develop the north coast as an integral part of South-East Asia. Bitter feuding abounds alongside admirable efficiency, while tales of courage and sacrifice are matched by episodes of sad ignorance and abuse. This is a history strange but true.
Great Central State is a result of the most sustained historical research on a South Australian subject since Douglas Pike's Paradise of Dissent published in 1957. In his wry, meticulously researched book, Jack Cross demonstrates that already before 1911 when the Northern Territory was ceded to the Commonwealth, it had a sophisticated history of its own. He looks forward to the day when it will become the seventh Australian state.
Praise forGreat Central State: 'From its murky beginnings during the 1860s, the Northern Territory became the exotic locus of South Australia's best utopian dreams and worst administrative nightmares. Jack Cross has trawled through the record of this extraordinary colonial venture, sorting folly from foresight and identifying pioneers and villains, opportunists and adventurers. He has given us a frank, unrestrained history of Australia's own frontier colony.' - Philip Jones
'Valuable reading ... an expansive story of human folly, pride and hubris, overarching ambition, petty jealousy, murderous payback and interstate rivalry not least with those greedy graziers from Queensland. He enriches the story with descriptions and analysis of characters who are pioneers, idealists, opportunists, adventurers and villains; it is a fascinating cast!' – Philip Raymont, Reviews in Australian Studies
Jack Cross grew up in the lower Flinders Ranges amid the influences of the German Lutheran community. He holds qualifications from Adelaide Teachers College, the University of Adelaide, the University of Melbourne and Stanford University in California, and has worked as a teacher, freerange poultry farmer and associate professor. Jack spent five years as a Research Fellow in Australian History at the University of Adelaide. For twenty years he was Head of Studies in Education at what is now the University of South Australia. He was a founder of the Aboriginal Tauondi College at Port Adelaide and the Anangu Teacher Education program at Ernabella in the APY Lands. He was author of Schooling the Conflict of Belief, and a member of the Classification Board. Jack has been awarded life membership of the WEA and the University of the Third Age Adelaide for his contribution to adult education. Jack Cross is married to Jillian and has no children.