Articles on History

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Mirrors of a magical scientist: Andromeda photographed through a Newtonian telescope. Flickr/JonBaglo.

Digital alchemy: Sir Isaac Newton’s papers now online

The notebooks of Sir Isaac Newton, who was famously reported to have suffered a (scientifically) earth-shaking blow to the…
Cold Chisel are back. AAP Image/Jones PR

The Last Stand: Cold Chisel and Oz Rock music

It’s December 15th, 1983. Around 13,000 people, a capacity crowd, are packed into the Sydney Entertainment Centre. This is the last of five Cold Chisel shows there. Fans had queued for blocks, some had…
Indigenous Australians systematically burnt grasslands to reduce fuel and stop fires raging out of control. Flickr/pietroizzo

The biggest estate on earth: how Aborigines made Australia

Aboriginal people worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable. By distributing plants and associating them in mosaics, then using these to lure and locate animals, Aborigines…
Italian-Australians deserve an apology for their mistreatment in internment camps in World War II. Australian War Memorial Collection

Why Australia must apologise to Italians interned during World War II

Last month, the South Australian parliament unanimously accepted a bi-partisan motion moved by Labor member, Tony Piccolo, to acknowledge the wrongful internment of Italian civilians living in Australia…
Mussolini made the trains run on time. But having a strong leader is risky. Flickr/Galaxy FM

Forget politicians - be a dictator for a day and get the job done

“If I Ruled The World” was a tune made famous decades ago by English comedian and singer Harry Secombe who sang of making every day the first day of spring as well as other miraculous improvements. It…
We are still learning about the Mongolian invasions, 750 years after they happened. Hanoi History Museum, James Delgado

The original kamikaze: Kublai Khan’s invasion shipwreck found?

Archaeologists from the University of the Ryukyus in Japan have discovered part of a 13th century ship that apparently belonged to Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan. The ship is believed to be a remnant of…
It’s wrong to assume that China makes no effort to reform its political system because its culture does not support such change. Flickr/Katherina

The seeds of democratic culture in China

The skepticism of contemporary China’s multilayered and painful efforts to achieve legal and political reform makes many wonder if democracy can really grow in the Chinese soil. This is such a haunting…
aapone libya unrest sirte gaddafi original.

Expert reactions to Gaddafi’s killing

Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year-rule of Libya has come to an violent end in a manner reminiscent of the dispatch of Fascist Italy’s…
The velocipede created one of several cycling booms in Australia. Harpers Weekly (Dec 18, 1868)

Bigger than Cadel: Australia’s century-old love affair with cycling

CYCLING IN AUSTRALIA: Forget about the wild scenes of public adulation for Cadel Evans following his Tour de France triumph. Forget about the widespread admiration for champion cyclist Anna Meares following…
aapone italy world politics economy protest europe original.

Expert views of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests that started in New York have proved contagious. Sit-ins and attempted occupations have spread…
Francis Galton pioneered the concept of eugenics in this lab in London in the late 19th century. Flickr/Science Museum London

Eugenics in Australia: The secret of Melbourne’s elite

Eugenics — the science of improving the race —was a powerful influence on the development of Western civilisation in the first half of the twentieth century. And Melbourne’s elite were among its chief…
Do we take the sophistication of numbers one to ten for granted? duncan

Magic numbers: the beauty of decimal notation

While adding up your grocery bill in the supermarket, you’re probably not thinking how important or sophisticated our number system is. But the discovery of the present system, by unknown mathematicians…
Australian veterans of the Pacific theatre in WWII attend a VJ Day memorial. AAP

The war in the Pacific: fighting the good fight, or something else

Sometimes an historian will challenge one of the key ideological myths of Australian capitalism. Henry Reynolds does it in his work on the colonial treatment of Aborigines, a treatment some go so far as…
Refugees fled the Crusades. This is a detail from St Dominic and the Albigenses by Pedro Berruguete. Flickr/derechoaleer

Why lessons from the past can help us understand the refugee debate

Given the often hysterical media coverage of the refugee debate you could be forgiven for thinking that people seeking refuge in other countries is a new phenomenon. Not so. Refugees have been around since…

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