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The Wogan Hills Hotel 1912 - 1980: A study in co-operation local interest and the role of the state

Rogers, Anne (2002) The Wogan Hills Hotel 1912 - 1980: A study in co-operation local interest and the role of the state. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The Wongan Hills hotel was built in 1914, at the jnsistence of the local progress association, by the State government, and is an example of John Scaddan's State enterprises. Forty five years later, the Wongan Hills community bought the hotel from the State government. It was then run as a co-operative, with profits benefiting the district, until 1980, when it was sold to private ownership. A study of this hotel allows exploration of the power of State developmentalism, co-operation and local interest, in a growing wheat belt locality. State developmentalism has in the past received critical analysis, but the example of State hotels has been largely ignored. Similarly, while examples of the power of local interest abound in local histories, they are seldom recognised as a common trend. Historical literature is particularly sparse on the subject of co-operation.

The dissertation argues that the story of the Wongan Hills hotel to 1980, with its unusual combination of State government and community ownership, reflects much of the history, not only of that town, but also of significant aspects of the development of Western Australia's wheat belt. It highlights the State government's changing role in wheat belt communities, with its early provision of loan finance, infrastructure such as rail, technology through agricultural research stations, and State trading concerns such as hotels; and its subsequent shift to providing grants which enabled local residents to provide their own infrastructure. Central to the narrative is the generally overlooked, powerful thrust of co-operation that existed in wheat belt communities, allowing them to achieve a variety of successes which included businesses such as the community-owned Wongan Hills Civic Hotel, and the provision of modern, well-equipped sporting facilities. This study adds to the understanding of local history by demonstrating that both State government and co-operative ventures were driven by the power of local interests, which strongly influenced where State government developments would be placed, and determined the focus of co-operation. Oral histories have been used to explore individual experiences and attitudes, and examples of local co-operation.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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