Articles on Australian history

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S.T. Gill, Kangaroo Hunting, The Death, from his Australian Sketchbook (1865). Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia in the 1830s and 1840s. National Library of Australia

Friday essay: the art of the colonial kangaroo hunt

In the mid 19th century, kangaroo hunting was a sport. Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia and everyone from Charles Darwin to Anthony Trollope tried their hand at shooting roos.
Detail from Julie Shiels’ 1954 poster White on black: The annihilation of Aboriginal people and their culture cannot be separated from the destruction of nature. State Library of Victoria

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

It is 50 years since anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner gave the Boyer Lectures in which he coined the phrase 'the great Australian silence'. How far have we come since?
A new Parramatta is emerging out of the rubble of history. Artist's impression of the new North Parramatta development/URBANGROWTH NSW/AAP

Reimagining Parramatta: a place to discover Australia’s many stories

Sydney's Parramatta is developing fast, building over a rich archaeological history. Finding ways to retain it can help visitors and residents feel a sense of physical connection with those who came before.
Ivy Emms with the man she married, Jack Bent, on a music catalogue for the song Just a Ray of Sunlight. After performing patriotic songs as a child in popular pantomimes, Emms later worked as a choreographer at Melbourne’s Tivoli Theatre. NLA

From child stars to lost theatres: capturing our ephemeral history of live performance

More than 100,000 records of live performance are on a database of our theatre history. They tell of corroborees, the first play staged by white settlers, and long-gone gracious theatres.
Guy Pearce as the Chandleresque private investigator Jack Irish: in the early years of Australian crime fiction, convicts and bushrangers featured prominently. Lachlan Moore

Friday essay: from convicts to contemporary convictions – 200 years of Australian crime fiction

Australia's rich tradition of crime fiction is little known – early tales told of bushrangers and convicts, one hero was a mining engineer turned amateur detective – but it reveals a range of national myths and fantasies.
The pilot, Jessie Maude Miller (right), became the first woman to fly between Australia and England, before moving the US. Wikimedia

The Australian women expats who found liberation in the US

Thousands of Australian women took flight to the US in the early 20th century, escaping sexism at home for success overseas. They included architects, artists, dentists and an economist who advised JFK.
The statue of Captain Cook in St Kilda, Melbourne, was painted pink on January 25 2018. DAVID CROSLING

How Captain Cook became a contested national symbol

The federal government will spend nearly $50 million over four years to commemorate Captain Cook's first landing. But some have questioned the spend.
In the 1980s, Australian geographer Maurice Daly exposed the urban planning system as a policy toolkit developers could capitalise on to drive subdivision and speculation – an insight that remains true even today. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Essays On Air: Australia’s property boom and bust cycle stretches back to colonial days

Essays On Air: Australia’s property boom and bust cycle stretches back to colonial days. The Conversation, CC BY58.7 MB (download)
Australia's property market is slowing and many are contemplating a possible bust. But today's episode of Essays On Air reminds us that since colonial days, Australia's property market has had its ups and downs.
The familiar images of high-rise development, looking north here from Surfers Paradise, tell only one part of the story of the Gold Coast. Andrew Leach

Looking past the Gold Coast the world sees today

Behind the built-up glitz of Surfers Paradise lies a deep history that has been written and overwritten in successive layers that have become thinner and thinner as time goes on.
Detail from William Barak, Figures in possum skin cloaks, 1898, pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper, 57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1962

NGV’s Colony is a bold attempt to confront Australia’s colonial past, but divisions remain

Colony at the NGV pairs colonial art with Indigenous responses, in an effort to create dialogue about Australia's history.

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