William Westall’s drawing of the body of an Indigenous man shot at Blue Mud Bay (1803).
National Library of Australia
The English navigator had a habit of fair-mindedness. But did it affect the way he related to local Aboriginal people as he circumnavigated Australia?
Rose and Groote Eylandters Nertichunga, Machana and Nabia, Groote Eylandt, 1941.
Courtesy of SLNSW, Frederick Rose papers, Box 5
The book Red Professor: the Cold War Life of Fred Rose tells of a progressive anthropologist who was stymied by non-Indigenous people in powerful positions. Sadly, it's a narrative that still resonates today.
Clare Wright: one of many women historians carving a role as a public intellectual.
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?
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
An unknown portrait of Lola Montez as a young woman.
Private Collection Print
The early goldrush was a topsy-turvy time for rebellious women, such as the globetrotting dancer Lola Montez. An exhibition showcasing goldfields jewellery spotlights this era when penniless immigrants could dress like queens.
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
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
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
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.
Australians are some of the worst wasters in the developed world.
Waste image from www.shutterstock.com
Australia still rests too heavily on its luck, and not enough on its brains.
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.
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.
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.
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 visited Australia 180 years ago, and while here, he had a revelation that helped spark his insight into evolution by natural selection.
Keith Murdoch (right) with Prime Minister Billy Hughes during the first world war.
Tom D.C. Roberts has crafted a book full of remarkable insights into a central figure in Australian corporate and political history, a figure hitherto enveloped in family mythology: Keith Murdoch.
Gough Whitlam, pictured here in 2008, looks at the original letter that dismissed him from office in 1975.
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.
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.