Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Cynthia Vanden-Driesen

Second Advisor

Mr Keith Truscott


Towards the Light - - at times biographical, autobiographical, and basically fiction - is built out of anecdotes supplied to me as the result of direct questioning of my parents and relatives, and from my own memories of past experiences; from private 'on the ground' observations both in Western Australia and in Cornwall, England – and, where factual information is lacking, a good deal of creative invention on my part. My paternal great-grandfather who at the age of eight began his working life in a Cornish tin mine provided me with a figure central to my purpose while constructing this narrative. To this character I have added details borrowed from or inspired by events that at times affected various other members of my family and those to whom they were devoted. Notable contributors to the composite character to whom I have given the name of Harry Coates, and to his family, are my father, his brothers and my own siblings. I suspect that I, too, appear reflected in the main text; but in general I have 'tried to contain my overt self within the autobiographical accompaniment that appears at the head of most chapters of the work. My over-arching interest, however, is in representing ordinary people such as inhabit the mostly anonymous majority of any society, the name-less ones whose existence is often only inferred in official histories; people such as the other forty-nine milliners and dressmakers besides Ann Haynes in Perth, for instance, to whom Tom Stannage refers in his The People of Perth (1979:114) or just a sample of the reported 8000 by which the Western Australian (white) population grew in the period 1870-1884 (Crowley,1964:33) - men and women who go about the vital business of their own survival.