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.
The Australian Border Force’s creation was no simple re-shuffling of departmental units.
The Australian Border Force represents a significant departure from earlier ways of managing the border.
In our era – like others – outrage and hyperbole seem to be par for the course.
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.
The Constitution has been very successful in setting out how Australian federalism will work.
Museum of Australian Democracy
The problem with constitutional recognition lies in the way in which it changes the nature of the constitution away from a procedural document by introducing issues of identity into it.
Martha Rendell was the last woman to be hanged in Western Australia, in 1909. Depicted here as imagined by newspapers in the 1980s.
Iconic murderers such as Martha Rendell electrify our imaginations and passions. The turn of the century case demonstrates why fiction can be such an effective vessel for history.
Kate Grenville, with The Secret River, found herself in the middle of a debate at the heart of history.
'History and fiction journey together and separately into the past; they are a tag team, sometimes taking turns, sometimes working in tandem.' Enjoy the second part of our series, Writing History.
A century after governments wished to erase the convict past, their place in Australian history was being celebrated in programs such as The Colony on SBS.
AAP/Hilton Cordell Productions/Simon Cardwell
Today, a convict ancestor is a matter of pride. But for past generations, including some convicts themselves, it was a shame that had to be hidden at all costs.
Norfolk Island has always had a strained relationship with mainland Australia – and the repeal of self-governance may intensify that strain.
AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Federal parliament has passed legislation that removes Norfolk Island's self-government but strong local views about the tiny island's independence have deep historical roots.
Drape ‘Anzac’ over an argument and, like a magic cloak, the argument is sacrosanct – even though it shouldn’t be.
AAP/Alexander Turnbull Library
Never has the Anzac tradition been more popular and yet never have its defenders been more chauvinistic, bellicose and intolerant of other viewpoints.
Activists trying to bring attention to the issue of rape in war were arrested for protesting at Anzac Day services in the 1980s.
ACT Heritage Library
Protests on Anzac Day, rather than being 'utterly alien to Australians', have a long tradition and embody the democratic right to dissent for which the troops fought.
What is obscured in our understanding of returned servicemen’s problems is the private pain of families who bear the brunt of these psychological strains.
Australia has continually faced a returned soldier crisis. This is something that marked men returning from all the wars of modern memory – from the Great War to Afghanistan and Iraq.
A ‘view from tower’ reveals the long rows of huts at Holsworthy internment camp, where Germans were interned during the First World War.
Paul Dubotzki/Dubotzki Collection
The story of the German–Australian community offers an alternative view of Australia’s history as a nation.
Labor has long had leaders, such as former prime minister Paul Keating, capable of speaking the language of Anzac.
There is a complicated story involving the Anzac legend and the left between the 1920s and the 1960s which historians have barely begun to untangle.
Protesters attend a huge anti-conscription rally at Yarra Bank in Melbourne, 1916.
National Library of Australia, n6487142
The democratic freedoms Australians hold dear today – freedom of the press, assembly and speech – were won on home soil by courageous women and men who sacrificed much, but rarely recognised for it.
The recent concentration on Victoria Cross heroes as major ‘carriers’ of the Anzac legend has skewed Australian military history.
Australians now seem so fascinated by the Victoria Cross that such attention has begun to get in the way of a balanced perspective on its place in military history.
The Whitlam government had a reformist vision whose origins lay in the future prime minister’s own wartime experience.
While serving in the RAAF, future prime minister Gough Whitlam led his first political campaign, agitating among his own squadron in support of the 1944 referendum.