Australian History

Paul Brunton reviews 'While the Billy Boils'

Paul Brunton
26 August 2013

It is not often that a truly ground-breaking work appears, publishers’ hype notwithstanding. Paul Eggert has produced two such works in the one year, which must be a record. Both relate to Henry Lawson (1867–1922), arguably the most famous Australian writer of all time.

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Martin Thomas reviews 'Where is Dr Leichhardt?'

Martin Thomas
26 August 2013

Among all the myriad characters, brilliant and brutish, fraudulent and fabulous, who lobbed into New South Wales in the mid-nineteenth century, Ludwig Leichhardt, born in rural Prussia 200 years ago, was in a class of his own.

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Jacqueline Kent reviews 'The Stalking of Julia Gillard: How the Media and Team Rudd Contrived to Bring down the Prime Minister' by Kerry-Anne Walsh

Jacqueline Kent
22 August 2013
Jacqueline Kent – Julia Gillard’s first biographer – reviews journalist Kerry-Anne Walsh’s highly partisan account of Gillard’s ill-fated prime ministership and the ceaseless hospitality of the Rudd camp. More

Stephanie Owen Reeder reviews new picture books addressing war

Stephanie Owen Reeder
27 June 2013

Depicting war in a picture book requires a deft hand. Historical imperatives need to be considered, while also avoiding glorifying war for a young and impressionable audience. Ideally, such books should promote informed discussion rather than mindless militarism.

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John Thompson on 'Glorious Days: Australia 1913'

John Thompson
27 June 2013

Not altogether surprisingly, the centenary this year of the foundation and naming of Canberra as the national capital of Australia has passed without any conspicuous celebration of the event beyond the confines of the city itself. Conceived to embody and represent the aspirations of the new Australian nation, unfettered by the rivalries and jealousies of the s ... More

Norman Etherington reviews 'The Last Blank Spaces'

Norman Etherington
27 May 2013

Dane Kennedy reminds us that not so long ago exploring held an honoured place among recognised professions. Today, though, the job is extinct. For about a century and a half, the business More

Robert Phiddian on 'Taking Stock: The Humanities in Australia'

Robert Phiddian
27 May 2013

This is a highly intelligent collection of essays by some of the nation’s finest minds about the ebb and flow of intellectual endeavour in the humanities since the institution of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1969. In the thirty-one essays – built around keynotes, panels, and responses – there are too many gems among them for me to be willing to ... More

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Air Disaster Canberra'

Lyndon Megarrity
28 April 2013

On 13 August 1940 a Hudson Bomber travelling from Melbourne crashed near Canberra, killing all ten people on board. Three of the deceased were federal ministers: Geoffrey Street (army minister), Sir Henry S. Gullett (vice-president of the Executive Council), and James Fairbairn (minister for air and civil aviation). Also on board that day was Cyril Brudenell Bingham ... More

Dean Biron reviews 'Three Crooked Kings' by Matthew Condon

Dean Biron
27 April 2013

In April 2012, barely a week after Queensland had elected a conservative government to office for the first time in twenty-six years, Campbell Newman announced the abolition of the state-funded premier’s literary awards. The decision, despite disingenuous claims to the contrary, was entirely symbolic, coming as it did before Newman’s Liberal National Party ... More

Jen Webb reviews Paul Daley's 'Canberra'

Jen Webb
25 March 2013

Canberra leads a double life: by day the federal capital, crafting legislation and performing on the world stage; at night it is transformed into a suburban neighbourhood where people cook their meals and pay their bills and water their gardens. But a pervasive view of Canberra is that it is the home only of public servants on secondment; that it is just a waste of ... More

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