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Thanks Roberto & Markus for the replies. As a quick workaround for the Swig issue I put an ugly macro into lauxlib.h
#define lua_pushvalue(L,LUA_GLOBALSINDEX)    lua_getglobal(L,"_G")

This looks a valid fix to me, that meant I can now compile and link without errors.
Unfortunately, things are still a bit of a crashfest. I found one issue, but still suffering a crash after I fixed it.
Issue 1)
I am running this 5.2 build on an oddball OS that hasnt got a realloc() function, so I had to write my own a while back. This new 5.2 showed up a weakness in my realloc implementation.
5.2 does something rather odd though that presumably 5.1 didnt. The first time a memory alloc occurs
 static void *l_alloc (void *ud, void *ptr, size_t osize, size_t nsize)
The calling params are:  ptr=NULL, but osize=8   nsize=368
The oldsize param doesnt seem to really mean the old memory allocation block size any longer, its seems to be a LUA enum, 5,6,7,8 etc. I had used osize to decided if a memcpy was needed and was now causing a crash with 5.2. This was trivial to fix such that if ptr==NULL then it doesnt try and use osize now.
The Lua code is kind of confusing here though, why an enum ?
Issue 2)
I still get a crash in the Swig auto generated code
SWIGEXPORT int SWIG_init(lua_State* L)
  int i;
  /* start with global table */
  /* SWIG's internal initalisation */
  /* add a global fn */
  SWIG_Lua_add_function(L,"swig_type",SWIG_Lua_type);                <-- !! Crashes here !!
where the swig add function is defined as
#define SWIG_Lua_add_function(L,n,f) \
     (lua_pushstring(L, n), \
      lua_pushcfunction(L, f), \
switching on the api check function seems to indicate its not finding the globals table on the stack
Assertion failed: (((((t))->u.i.tt__) == (0x7FF7A500 | (((5) | (1 << 6)))))) &&
"table expected", file c:\lapi.c, line 781
which I guess puts doubt into the earlier LUA_GLOBALSINDEX fix is actually working ?
not sure how to make progress on this issue at the moment, any thoughts gratefully received
Regards Geoff
> Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 19:05:17 -0800
> From:
> To:
> Subject: Re: Lua 5.2 & SWIG compatibility problem
> Try this:
> -- Temporary swig hack. Convert from Lua 5.1 to 5.2
> local function fixSwig(data)
> data="">> data="">> return data
> end