Australian History

Simon Caterson reviews 'Code Breakers: Inside the shadow world of signals intelligence in Australia’s two Bletchley Parks' by Craig Collie

Simon Caterson

In architectural terms, if no other, the Australian counterpart to the famous World War II code breaking centre at Bletchley Park initially could not have been more different. While Alan Turing and his celebrated colleagues cracked the German Enigma code at a secluded mansion in the English countryside, Australia’s code breakers began working out of a nondescript ... More

Philip Jones reviews 'Into the heart of Tasmania: A search for human antiquity' by Rebe Taylor

Philip Jones

The historian Rebe Taylor has a fascination with Australia’s southern islands and their capacity to contain or magnify issues of identity for their indigenous inhabitants, if not for the More

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the world since 1942' by Allan Gyngell

Frank Bongiorno

n 2004 the Indonesian foreign minister, Nur Hassan Wirajuda, learned that Australia had established a 1000-mile maritime exclusion zone as part of its asylum-seeker policy ...

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Danielle Clode reviews 'Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga story' by Elizabeth Tynan

Danielle Clode

Maralinga is a name familiar to most Australians as the site of British nuclear testing in the 1950s. Less familiar are the earlier tests at the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia and Emu Field in South Australia. All have left a toxic legacy in our history.

Elizabeth Tynan’s finely researched book on the history of Maralinga and its precursors brin ... More

Michael Winkler reviews 'From the Edge: Australia’s lost histories' by Mark McKenna

Michael Winkler

There is a well-meaning musician who performs intermittently in Central Australia. When he plays his hit song, he tries to augment the lyrics by chanting the ...

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Brian Matthews reviews 'The Story of Australia’s People: The rise and rise of a New Australia' by Geoffrey Blainey

Brian Matthews

The seminar, as far as I can remember, took place in what was then the Melbourne Teachers’ College on Grattan Street. The late-afternoon sunlight slanting through ornate ...

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John Arnold reviews 'The Vagabond Papers' by John Stanley James

John Arnold

In March 2016 the Royal Historical Society of Victoria hosted a function to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Michael Cannon's The Land Boomers, first issued ... More

'How do we live with ourselves? The Australian national conscience' by Alan Atkinson

Alan Atkinson

When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves ...

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Joy Damousi reviews 'Armenia, Australia and the Great War' by Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley

Joy Damousi

The Armenian Genocide, which claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives, began in 1915. It continues to cause controversy today and is a hotly contested event; ...

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'Making the Australian Quilt: 1800-1950' (NGV Australia)

Margaret Robson Kett

With a needle on cloth, Mary Jane Hannaford preserved her sharp observations of people as stout appliquéd figures set amidst interpretative renditions of Australian animals. Late in life she embroidered favourite verses and slyly captioned her pictures in quilts for her family. Close to one hundred years later, she has a room dedicated to her art in National Galler ... More

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