Billy Griffiths

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Burning Planet' by Andrew C. Scott

Billy Griffiths
27 November 2018

A few years ago I walked through a burning landscape with a young archaeobotanist, Xavier. We were in Arnhem Land, and the local Indigenous landowners had lit a low-intensity fire – a co More

Billy Griffiths reviews 'This Time: Australia’s republican past and future' by Benjamin T. Jones

Billy Griffiths
26 April 2018

In the lead-up to the 1999 republic referendum, historian John Hirst published a short guide to Australian democracy and law. ‘This is not a textbook,’ he wrote in the preface; rather, More

Kim Mahood reviews 'Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia' by Billy Griffiths

Kim Mahood
22 March 2018

In Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering ancient Australia, Billy Griffiths describes the process of imagining the past through the traces and sediments of archaeology as ‘an act of wo More

Billy Griffiths reviews 'The Vandemonian War: The secret history of Britain’s Tasmanian invasion' by Nick Brodie

Billy Griffiths
29 August 2017

Nick Brodie, a medievalist and ‘professional history nerd’, enjoys writing in a revelatory tone. His latest book ...

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Billy Griffiths reviews 'Rattling Spears: A history of indigenous Australian' art by Ian McLean

Billy Griffiths
28 October 2016

This beautifully illustrated book explores the ways in which Indigenous Australians have responded to invasion through art. ‘Where colonists saw a gulf,’ writes art historian Ian ...More

Reading Australia: 'Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines' by David Unaipon

Billy Griffiths
31 August 2016

David Unaipon's Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines is part of the classical culture of Australia. The collection is as varied in subject as it is ambitious ...

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

Billy Griffiths
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 (2 ... More

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Comrade Ambassador' by Stephen FitzGerald

Billy Griffiths
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 t ... More

Billy Griffiths reviews 'Unholy Fury' by James Curran

Billy Griffiths
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 expe ... More

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

Billy Griffiths
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 ... More

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