Australian History

Harry Brumpton reviews 'Joyful Strains: Making Australia Home' edited by Kent MacCarter and Ali Lemer

Harry Brumpton
06 March 2013

If you are a new arrival, welcome to Australia. You will be living in a country that is stable, prosperous and democratic. You will also be joining a culturally diverse but cohesive society made up of Australians of many backgrounds, united by shared values and responsibilities.

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Andy Lloyd James reviews '26 Views of the Starburst World'

Andy Lloyd James
29 January 2013

Words matter, and there can be few more misleading ones in Australian history than ‘settlement’, as used to describe the period immediately following the arrival of the First Fleet. It connotes understanding and agreement. In Sydney Cove, by contrast, five distinct groups were present: Governor Phillip and his immediate entourage; naval vessels and their crews; ... More

Richard J. Martin reviews 'People on Country' by Jon Altman and Seán Kerins

Richard J. Martin
28 January 2013

Over the last few years, issues associated with underdevelopment in Aboriginal Australia have been widely canvassed in the mainstream press, led by the likes of Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, and Peter Sutton. This new edited volume adopts a somewhat different approach to Aboriginal development, focusing on Indigenous involvement in natural resource management around ... More

Jane Goodall reviews 'Tales from the Political Trenches' by Maxine McKew

Jane Goodall
28 November 2012

By its title, Tales from the Political Trenches promises reportage from the front line, eyewitness accounts of what really happens in the hidden zones of the political battlefield. More

John Thompson on 'Canberry Tales: An Informal History' by Granville Allen Mawer

John Thompson
26 November 2012

I n 2013, Australians will celebrate the centenary of modern Canberra. This singular anniversary – intensely local but also emphatically national – commemorates not the actual building of the capital (that process was fraught and would not gather pace until the 1920s), but rather the optimistic laying on 12 March 1913 of three foundation stones for the grandiose ... More

Peter Menkhorst reviews 'Curious Minds'

Peter Menkhorst
25 November 2012

Curious Minds sets out to explore the naturalists and scientists who brought Australia’s flora and fauna into the public consciousness: on the face of it a laudable aim, but one not totally fulfilled. From the title onwards the book seems confused in its aims and in its style. Is the book intended to be about people (the curious naturalists), flora and faun ... More

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'A History of Australia' by Mark Peel and Christina Twomey

Frank Bongiorno
21 March 2012

‘The product under consideration is Shist.’ So began New Zealand historian Keith Sinclair’s discussion of short histories in 1968. His irreverent diminutive is still occasionally hea More

Frank Jackson reviews 'The Poor Relation' by Stuart Macintyre

Frank Jackson
23 December 2011

During the lead-up to the last United States presidential election, I found myself waiting for a train at the Princeton railway station with nothing to read. I picked up a copy of the student newspaper. Much of it was standard Bush bashing, intermingled with unrealistic expectations of what Obama might achieve. But one sentence in an editorial caught my eye: ‘It i ... More

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Australian Historical Studies, Volume 41, Issue 2' by Richard Broome and Dianne Kirkby

Lyndon Megarrity
15 November 2011

Australian Historical Studies (AHS), which can be traced back to the 1940s, has developed into one of Australia’s leading social science More

Terry Lane reviews 'Liberty: A History of Civil Liberties in Australia' by James Waghorne and Stuart Macintyre

Terry Lane
25 October 2011

In 1988 the Hawke government put a constitutional amendment to a referendum. On the recommendation of the government’s Constitution Commission, we were invited to vote to enshrine guarantees of trial by jury, property rights, and freedom of religion. The proposition was rejected by all states. There is nothing surprising in that. We almost always do vote against c ... More

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