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Billy Griffiths

Billy Griffiths

Billy Griffiths is an Australian writer and historian. His latest book, Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (Black Inc., 2018), won the Ernest Scott Prize, the Felicia A. Holton Book Award, the John Mulvaney Book Award, the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction and the 2019 Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. He lectures in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne.

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Private Lives, Public History' by Anna Clark

April 2016, no. 380 30 March 2016
What do we talk about when we talk about history? This is a question that Anna Clark has devoted her career to answering. She has followed the conversations Australians have about history into museums and universities – The History Wars (2003) and Australian History Now! (2013) – and classrooms and staffrooms – Teaching the Nation (2006) and History's Children (2008). With Private Lives, Pub ... (read more)

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Comrade Ambassador' by Stephen FitzGerald

November 2015, no. 376 28 October 2015
On his first day in Australia's foreign service in 1961, Stephen FitzGerald was told to learn the language of the enemy: 'a country we have no diplomatic relations with, which our government denounces as an aggressor, instigator of subversion in Southeast Asia and major threat to Australia.' He took on the assignment with apprehension. China was completely foreign to him; he had never met anyone w ... (read more)

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Unholy Fury' by James Curran

August 2015, no. 373 29 July 2015
‘I have never met an Aussie I didn’t like.’ The half-compliment was the best President Richard Nixon could muster during a restrained exchange with Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the Oval Office in July 1973. After the turbulent build-up to this meeting, rivetingly conveyed in James Curran’s history Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War, one almost expects Nixon to add the disclaimer ‘u ... (read more)

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Running Out?' by Ruth A. Morgan

June-July 2015, no. 372 28 May 2015
Water courses through the history of Western Australia. When historian Ruth A. Morgan began writing Running Out?: Water in Western Australia in 2007, the state was in the grip of drought, climate change was at the fore of public debate, and Perth’s first desalination plant was a year old. The 2005 state election had hinged on the ‘Kimberley–Perth canal’, an impractical scheme to water the ... (read more)

Billy Griffiths reviews 'A History of Canberra' by Nicholas Brown

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
‘Canberra’ is a loaded term among Australians. The capital embodies the aspirations, expectations, and disappointments of a nation. It is at once a bold experiment in Australian democracy and a national source of ambivalence and derision, the unfortunate shorthand for the federal government, and a symbol of Australia’s collective disenchantment with politics. Many Australians feel they can s ... (read more)
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