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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…
Thousands of Brits moved to Australia for the thrill of a more glamorous life. But many struggled. Flickr/MarkFaviellPhotos

A moving history: how personal stories illuminate the past

Published biographies, and indeed many histories, are often about the famous, rich or powerful. And most often, they’re about men. I’ve preferred to research and write about so-called “ordinary” men and…
Did music precede language for Homo sapiens? Spuz/Flickr

Evolution: please don’t stop the music

All human cultures and social groups that we know of respond to music and dance. The type of music may vary but the underlying, fundamental principles of making music are the same. Our recognition of…

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