History

Because the settlement of Australia by the British proceeded in a certain way, we tend to forget how unusual it was in 1788 to start a colony without slavery. The year 1788 saw the first major manifestation of the abolitionist movement, which had a massive success by 1807 when the Atlantic slave trade was abolished. ...

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The world’s best-known espionage officer, Vladimir Putin, would relish Christopher Andrew’s account of the role of his fellow practitioners at the 1816 Congress of Vienna. The secret services of France, Prussia, Britain, Russia, and Austria jostled to monitor the trysts of courtesans with the statesmen assembled in the ...

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During the 1960s and 1970s, student radicals protested that their places of learning were getting too close to industry and government. In 1970, Monash University students occupied the university’s Careers and Appointments Office to oppose the use of the university as a recruiting ground for companies ...

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The director of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, recently announced plans for a $500 million underground expansion of the memorial. In justifying the expenditure, Nelson claimed that commemoration ‘is an extremely important part of the therapeutic milieu’ for returning soldiers; ‘I’ve particularly learned from the ...

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The old narrative goes that first we were hunter–gatherers, then we discovered farming, then agricultural communities ‘progressed’ to states and, eventually, industrial cities. This ‘progression’ is supposedly how humans became ‘civilised’. This old narrative has been debunked by many ...

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What is tinkering? As Katherine Wilson makes clear in Tinkering: Australians reinvent DIY culture, there is an easy answer to that question – but also several complex ones. At the physical level, tinkering is what the protagonists in Wilson’s book do: they convert cars to run on vegetable oil ...

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Lucas Thompson reviews 'Mirror Sydney' by Vanessa Berry

Lucas Thompson
Friday, 22 December 2017

Cities are essentially palimpsests, layered with overlapping lives, structures, and stories. Constantly in flux, each city is a sprawling and unwieldy text that is continually being rewritten. In Mirror Sydney, Vanessa Berry peels back many of the Harbour City’s layers, to reveal a tangle of hidden meanings and bygone ...

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Few organisations defend their reputation more vigorously than the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Long since clasped to the national bosom, the ADF has no intention of being shoehorned out of its prized position at the heart of Australian identity and culture. The first duty of its public affairs personnel is to protect ...

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‘The long years we spent plunged in the Cold War made losers of us all,’ Mikhail Gorbachev lamented after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By then, Gorbachev was unequivocally a loser himself – out of power and soon to be Russia’s least popular former leader, with ratings far lower than Stalin’s ...

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I grew up in a New Australian household, and admit at the outset to a biased view. My Lithuanian-born parents were actual Baltic immigrants among the other nationalities referred to by the blanket designation ‘Balt’. Much of the anecdotal material of Jayne Persian’s Beautiful Balts was deeply familiar to me from childhood ...

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