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The arrival of the New Left at Sydney University, 1967‐1972

Alan Barcan (University of Newcastle, Charlestown, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 14 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to distinguish the main features of the outburst of student radicalism at Sydney University in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


The paper traces developments in student politics at Sydney University from the 1950s onwards, in both the Australian and international context.


The rise of the New Left was a moderate process in 1967 but became more energetic in 1969. This was aligned with a similar trajectory with the marches by radical opponents of the Vietnam war. The New Left: provided challenges to the university curriculum (in Arts and Economics) and challenged middle‐class values. Many components of the New Left claimed to be Marxist, but many such components rejected the Marxist commitment to the working class and communist parties.

Research limitations/implications

The investigation is limited to Sydney University.


Although the endnotes list numerous references, these are largely specific. Very few general surveys of the New Left at Sydney University have been published.



Barcan, A. (2011), "The arrival of the New Left at Sydney University, 1967‐1972", History of Education Review, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 156-175.



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