Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communications and Arts


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Jill Durey


This thesis, in two parts, comprises a memoir and a supporting essay. The memoir, ‘Minnesota Boy, Journeys of Mind and Place,’ covers a lifetime, but focuses primarily on the author’s experience of working in international development programs in various countries of Asia and the Pacific Islands; The essay, ‘International Development in the Era of Mass Travel,’ examines the historical and institutional context of the two overlapping fields of that experience, that is, travel and development. Like the essay, the memoir has two threads. The first thread charts the learning curve of a boy from a rural homestead in Northern Minnesota, through the fundamentals of family and early education, out into a world of former colonies that are making the transition to independent states, while along the way passing through the sometimes traumatic, often exciting, turmoil of 1960s San Francisco, and ultimately settling—after years of travel—in the Western Australian port city of Fremantle. The second thread offers a dynamic and personal view of life in six countries, two in the Western Pacific, and four in Asia, as experienced over the course of more than forty years, beginning with the deeply troubled former French colonies of Cambodia and Vietnam in the early 1960s and culminating in an energetic and newly democratic Indonesia in 2006. The essay examines the history as well as the literature of international travel as a corollary of the outward thrust of European power from the fifteenth century onwards, illustrating the relationship between the quest for wealth through trade, the increasing momentum of colonial expansion, and the growing literature and business of travel. With the gradual disintegration of the colonial empires following World War Two, and an intensifying ideological competition between the Euro-American states and the Soviet Union and China, the move to shore up the newly independent former colonies through programs of directed financial and technical assistance burgeoned into a multi-billion dollar international enterprise, fostering as well a body of literature to analyse, explain and critique its programs. The essay reviews the origins and progress of that program of international development assistance, or foreign aid, and appraises the literature that followed in its wake. In sum, in its two parts the thesis unites one person’s experience of, and insights into, the rapid, often traumatic, changes of a post-war, post-colonial world with the history and literature of development and travel that constitute the circumstances of that experience.