James Millar Main

Biography

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James Millar Main was born in Warracknabeal in the Victorian Wimmera in 1924. He was educated there until he entered Scotch College in Melbourne as a boarder as an upper secondary school student. He studied arts and law at Melbourne University, and subsequently undertook at B.Litt. at Oxford, working with Asa Briggs.

On his return from Oxford in 1952, he taught at Melbourne University in the fields of British and Australian history and philosophy of history. He moved to Flinders University as Reader in History upon its foundation in 1966 and taught here until his death in June 1984, once again specialising in Australian history and 18th and 19th century British history.

His publications include articles in the fields of British and Australian history, contributions to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, and an edited book "Conscription; the Australian debate, 1901-1970". Among his recurring interests were the history of land settlement, and of legislation about the alienation of Australia's public lands, and the making of constitutions in Victoria and New South Wales; and his work on the politics of reform prior to 1832 put him at the cutting edge of that scholarly concern evident in the 1950s and 60s to subject the large scale changes of industrialising Britain to local and regional study.

Jim Main made a major contribution to the development of the discipline of History at Flinders, and is still remembered with affection by colleagues and former students.

(Biographical information taken from an obituary by Paul Bourke in Flindersweek, 2nd July 1984.)

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