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Agnes Elizabeth Jackson (1932-2008)
Treatise 'Social Behaviour, Economics and the Environment'

MSS 0123

Biographical Note

Agnes Jackson was born in England in 1932 and grew up there during the time of World War II, at the age of six spending seven months at a home for tuberculosis sufferers. At school and university she discovered a love for mathematics and science. She was recruited as a research scientist for the Defence Research Centre at Edinburgh in South Australia, where she subsequently worked as Systems Manager for 12 years before taking early retirement.
Agnes was a long-term member of the Adelaide Bushwalkers and travelled extensively. In 1976 she married Eric Jackson, fellow bushwalker and botanical assistant at the State Herbarium.
She was an environmental enthusiast and activist, and became convinced that overconsumption and overpopulation would ultimately lead to the destruction of the earth and the human race. Agnes worked hard to promote her ideas, and entered into political debate with many correspondents and people of influence. She was a sincere and active campaigner, although her ideas may be viewed as eccentric by many, and she was convinced that her communications were being monitored by computer and security organisations.


In 1997 Agnes began writing what she termed her thesis 'Social Behaviour, Economics and the Environment', a personal and particularly individual account of her beliefs and her life story. In 2008 she willed a generous bequest to the Barr Smith Library on the condition that her work was made available to scholars.

The document at the time of her death represented a work still in progress. The latest versions of the text were extracted from her computer disks, a task made more difficult by her distributing different versions on separate disks to avoid 'surveillance'. Many of the disks were also unreadable by current technology. There still exist numerous 'alerts' in the text for Jackson to check references, dates etc. The work was originally intended to incorporate eight chapters (as cited in Chapter 6), but was revised down to seven in the final version. The work is supported by extensive appendices containing correspondence and numerous papers and reports written by Jackson.

All references have been checked against the appropriate appendices, with only a small number of items not located, and the appendices have been collated. No editing has been performed on the text, apart from manuscript corrections of references to appendices, and manuscript additions to lists of letters. Additional notes and earlier versions of text at the end of some chapters have been left as printed. The Library has supplied title and contents pages, and divider pages for each section.

Contents Listing

Series 1: 'Social Behaviour, Economics and the Environment' (master, second and third copies, bound)

Chapter 1: Introduction: Social behaviour, economics and the environment
Chapter 2: The story of an education
Chapter 3: Systems management in a technological environment
Chapter 4: Environmental economics
Chapter5: Economics
Chapter 6: Education, language and books
Chapter 7: Sociology
Appendix B (Bibliographical references)
Appendix F (Family letters)
Appendix L (Letters)
Appendix R (Reports)
Appendix T (Activity diary)
Appendix U (Unpublished papers)
(Appendices 3-7 filed after the relevant chapter)

Series 2: Supporting material

  • Computer disks
  • Early drafts (incomplete)
  • Original copies of Appendices L and R
  • The Night watchmen: a tribute to the memory of Eric Norman Shannon Jackson 14 June 1922-16 July 1997 / Agnes Jackson, July 1998 (printed, 2 copies) With list of people who received copies.
  • Article: Poor laws of 1834 and 1996 / Hugh Stretton (15th Sambell Memorial oration)
  • Printout: Australia. Dept of Primary Industries & Energy. Sustainable Energy Policy for Australia: Green Paper
  • Editorial notes (Special Collection Librarian)

Cheryl Hoskin
January 2009

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


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