Articles sur Australian history

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Clare Wright: one of many women historians carving a role as a public intellectual. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

How women historians smashed the glass ceiling

Compared to the male-dominated STEM disciplines and social sciences like philosophy and political science, Australian history has been remarkably feminised. Indeed there may be more women historians here than in the UK or US.
Does this rock painting, featuring a long, white gun, depict first contact? Is it a work of history? Author provided

Friday essay: on listening to new national storytellers

Australian history is already a hotly contested discipline but is it time to broaden our definitions of the canon? Might an indigenous rock painting or a novel or a poem constitute a work of history?
Vincent Lingiari looks on as Prime Minister Gough Whitlam swigs champagne after the symbolic handback of the Gurindji people’s land. Rob Wesley-Smith

An historic handful of dirt: Whitlam and the legacy of the Wave Hill Walk-Off

A new book reveals the drama and comedy of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's famous "hand back" of Gurindji land in 1975, following the Wave Hill Walk-Off 50 years ago – and the bittersweet aftermath.
Gurindji ranger Ursula Chubb pays her respects to ancestors killed in the early 1900s at Blackfella Creek, where children were tied with wire and dragged by horses, and adults were shot as they fled. They were buried under rocks where they fell. Brenda L Croft, from Yijarni

Friday essay: the untold story behind the 1966 Wave Hill Walk-Off

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory made history 50 years ago by standing up for their rights to land and better pay. But a new book reveals the deeper story behind the Wave Hill Walk-Off.
What are the criteria for a Prime Minister intervening in these awards? Literary reasons? Personal reasons? ‘History war’ reasons? Michael Tapp

Why the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards need an urgent overhaul

They should be our pre-eminent national writing prizes. Instead, these awards bob on the vast sea of daily politics, occasionally getting dumped by a breaker.
No progress will be made on asylum policy until the major parties move to a positive bipartisanship. shutterstock

On asylum seekers, our history keeps repeating itself

Australia's history of dealing with asylum seekers has been a long and chequered one, paving the way for the hardline bipartisanship we see today.
The regulation of drinking has helped create precisely the violent, misogynistic and law-breaking culture that it was intended to control. John Brack/Wikimedia Commons

Curfews and lockouts: battles over drinking time have a long history in NSW

Since the earliest days of British colonisation, authorities have sought to limit the problems associated with alcohol by licensing its sale and limiting the times and places where it is drunk.
Printer George Howe shows the first edition of the Sydney Gazette to Governor Philip Gidley King, in a feature window at the Mitchell Library. Reproduced with permission of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Digital Order Number: a6509002

The science issues this election are as old as the Australian media

What science issues did Australia's first newspaper - edited by a convict - discuss in its letter pages? The same ones we talk about today: the environment, education and health.
A picture of strength: lifelong activist Bonita Mabo OA in front of her portrait as a young woman, which features in her granddaughter Boneta-Marie Mabo’s first solo exhibition. Josef Ruckli, courtesy of the State Library of Queensland

Black Velvet: redefining and celebrating Indigenous Australian women in art

Boneta-Marie Mabo's art responds to a colonial past in which Aboriginal women were fetishised as "black velvet". But it also celebrates strong women, including her activist grandmother Bonita Mabo.
Australia’s Aboriginal welfare problem of the 60s enabled widespread theft from Indigenous artists – including designs for the one dollar note. Reserve Bank of Australia.

‘Dollar Dave’ and the Reserve Bank: a tale of art, theft and human rights

Australia's original $1 note featured artwork taken without permission from Aboriginal artist, David Malangi. He was later given $1000, a medallion and a fishing kit, but archival evidence sheds new light on the affair.
Australia’s beauty is haunted by the unmarked sites of massacres and battles. Ben Quilty, Fairy Bower Rorschach, 2012. Image courtesy of AGNSW, © Ben Quilty.

Breaking the silence: Australia must acknowledge a violent past

Australia has a lesson to learn from Germany when it comes to reconciling with a shameful past. Artists are taking the lead in 'When silence falls', a formidable exhibition.
John Curtin and Ben Chifley were successful in expanding the power of the Commonwealth – and thus that of the prime minister. AAP/Alan Porritt

Lacking a script, individuals drove the evolution of prime ministerial power

Alfred Deakin and his contemporaries invented the Australian prime ministership. But it was not settled as a platform for national leadership until John Curtin and Ben Chifley's time.
View of Port Jackson, Fort Macquarie and part of Sydney Cove, in 1836. Govett, William Romaine/National Library

Charles Darwin’s evolutionary revelation in Australia

Charles Darwin visited Australia 180 years ago, and while here, he had a revelation that helped spark his insight into evolution by natural selection.
Gough Whitlam, pictured here in 2008, looks at the original letter that dismissed him from office in 1975. AAP/Alan Porritt

Archive records shed new light on UK role in Whitlam’s dismissal

Sir John Kerr probably made his own decision to dismiss the Whitlam government much earlier than he acknowledged publicly while alive – but he came to this conclusion in discussion with others.
Circus posters. flickr

Circus and politics: a very Australian mix

Contemporary circus and circus-infused physical theatre are amongst Australia’s most innovative and in-demand cultural exports. It's a performance craft with a proud history behind it.
In our era – like others – outrage and hyperbole seem to be par for the course. jenny downing

Moral panic is sown to make us scaredy-cats – that’s nothing new

In our era of 24-hour news, outrage and hyperbole seem to be par for the course. But as Sr John Madden's 1909 "gravest peril" speech illustrates, overblown moral panic, to fit an agenda, is nothing new.

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