Stephen Wilks will talk about his researches into the remarkable but little studied Earle Christmas Grafton Page – Country Party leader, Treasurer, Prime Minister and perhaps the most extraordinary visionary to hold high public office in the Australian Commonwealth. Page’s incessant activism in issues of regionalism, new states, hydro-electricity, economic planning, co-operative federalism and rural universities make him a vehicle for studying the place in Australian history of ideas and ambitions for national development – ‘developmentalism’.
Stephen Wilks fervently hopes that he is in the final throws of a PhD on the policy ideas of Earle Page. He studied economic history at Monash University before embarking on a decidedly mixed career in government based in Canberra and overseas, covering almost as many different issues as did Page himself. This was leavened by a shadow career writing reviews and articles for newspapers and magazines on Australian history and anything else editors would entrust him with. When not still labouring in the public service he is often to be spotted in the vicinities of the ANU History School, the National Library and such-like institutions.