Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Geoffrey Bolton

Geoffrey Bolton

Geoffrey Bolton (1931–2015) was an influential historian and academic. Among his many publications were Claremont: A history (1999), Paul Hasluck: A life (2014), and The Oxford History of Australia, Volume 5, 1942 –1988, The Middle Way (1990). He contributed to ABR from 1964 to 2006.

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney' by Grace Karskens

September 1997, no. 194 01 September 1997
‘The historical aspects of The Rocks should not be oversold’, declared a recent Sydney Cove Authority strategic plan, ‘it should be used as a background’. In this sanitised heritage precinct, tourists might thrill to the hint of a raffish past, but should be shielded from more intimate and disturbing glimpses. This is always easy in the absence of systematic research. ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'Hunters and Collectors: The antiquarian imagination in Australia' by Tom Griffiths

May 1996, no. 180 01 May 1996
Six weeks after the First Fleet sailed for New South Wales Edward Gibbon completed The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Probably the finest example of the Western tradition of history as chronological and sequential, Gibbon’s work provided the Europe of his time with a panoramic background against which the achievements of modern civilization could be measured. ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'The Wentworths: Father and Son' by John Ritchie

June 1998, no. 201 01 June 1998
Jane Austen’s aunt was once at risk of transportation to Botany Bay for shoplifting. It is piquant that Austen named two of her major male characters Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth in Sense and Sensibility, because a leading inhabitant of New South Wales in those years was D’Arey Wentworth, disreputable but acknowledged kinsman of Lord Fitzwilliam. D’Arey Went ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'The Great Mistakes of Australian History' edited by Martin Crotty and David Andrew Roberts

February 2007, no. 288 01 February 2007
The trouble about identifying great mistakes in Australian history is that most of them seemed like good ideas at the time. When, for instance, a recent IPA Review identified as one of Australia’s major errors the rejection in 1905 of George Reid’s free-trade federal government in favour of Alfred Deakin’s tariff protectionists, it indulged in anachronistic hindsight. However suited globalis ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'The Myth Of The Great Depression' by David Potts

October 2006, no. 285 01 October 2006
More revisionism, I sighed, viewing the title of this book. First it’s the extent of frontier warfare between Indigenous Australians and settlers, now it’s the 1930s Depression. Doubtless in the next year or two we shall have a history demonstrating that the trauma of Gallipoli has been much exaggerated, since most of those who took part survived and some lived to ripe old ages. I was too hast ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'Our Side of the Country' by Geoffrey Blainey

August 1984, no. 63 01 August 1984
Somebody recently told me that Geoffrey Blainey wrote much of the text of this history of Victoria while travelling in aircraft. If true, Blainey has an enviable knack of finding seats with elbow room, but otherwise there’s no reason to complain. Sir Charles Oman, the great military historian of the Napoleonic wars, was said to have drafted one book during a summer spent waiting for connecting t ... (read more)

Geoffrey Bolton reviews 'The Sentimental Nation: The making of the Australian Commonwealth' by John Hirst

February–March 2001, no. 228 01 February 2001
When John Hirst accepted the challenge of writing a history of Federation of scholarly quality but fit for a broad popular readership, he may have felt himself on a hiding to nothing. Previous historians have succeeded in convincing Australians that the story of the making of the Australian Commonwealth is at best dull. Who wants to know about a collection of hirsute, largely overweight, and overd ... (read more)