The family of Hop Lin Jong (who is pictured on the far left) at the wedding of her daughter, Ruby (third from right) in 1924. Ruby was murdered by her husband the following year.

Hidden women

Hidden women of history: Hop Lin Jong, a Chinese immigrant in the early days of White Australia

Hop Lin Jong's arrival in Western Australia in 1901 was remarkable only because she was Chinese. Her life might have passed in obscurity if not for the murder of her daughter in 1925.
One important reason for the Spartans’ obsession with fighting was the constant possibility they would need these skills in war and also at home, in Sparta itself. Shutterstock

Ancient history

Curious Kids: who were the Spartans?

From about age seven, Spartan children learned to fight and practise obeying orders. They also staged pretend battles. Boys and girls were trained separately.
A plaque on a house in St Petersburg that says: ‘Here the writer Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya wrote Sophia Petrovna, a story about the Great Terror 1936-1938’. Wikimedia Commons

Hidden women

Hidden women of history: Lydia Chukovskaya, editor, writer, heroic friend

Persecuted by Stalin, writers Lydia Chukovskaya and Anna Akhmatova endured threats, cold and starvation. And in an epic feat, Lydia memorised the poems of her friend that were too dangerous to commit to paper.
A scene from the 1961 film West Side Story. The casting of an Australian performer as Maria in a local production of the musical was recently criticised for ‘white washing’ a story about a Puerto Rican immigrant. The Mirisch Corporation,Seven Arts Productions

Friday essay

Friday essay: identity politics and the case for shared values

Our identity unquestionably shapes (and can limit) how we interact with the world. But it should not become the only foundation upon which we build our understanding of it.
Poster for the 23rd National Folk Festival in Maleny, Qld, 1989. Since 1994, the Festival has been held in Canberra. Courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive and Kim Brown, 462585.

Valuing our culture

What the folk? Whatever happened to Australia’s national folklife centre?

Folklore is everywhere and a valuable part of our national heritage. But it is undervalued by our government.
The beach is a common setting for Australian novels, which often capture its darker side. boxer_bob/flickr

Holiday reading

Ten great Australian beach reads set at the beach

While tourism campaigns often portray the beach as an idyllic, isolated haven, many of our beach stories depict it as a darker, more complex place. Here are ten worth reading.
Cover of the menu for the AIF Christmas Dinner, Hotel Cecil, London, in 1916. Illustration by Fred Leist. Museums Victoria collection, donated by Jean Bourke

Christmas

What Australian soldiers ate for Christmas in WWI

For Australians serving overseas in WWI, Christmas was particularly difficult. Menus reveal how soldiers tried to maintain the traditions of home.
Still from Back to the Future, 1985.

Close Up

The great movie scenes: Back to the Future

Back to the Future is one of the most loved films from the 1980s, and galvanised audiences across every demographic. In this episode of Close-Up, Bruce Isaacs looks at the politics underpinning the film.
Elsa Pataky and Marco Pigossi in Tidelands (2018) IMDb

TV

Tidelands struggles to stay afloat in its first series

Tidelands, is a speculative story about half-human/half-siren beings who live in the coastal Queensland town of Orphelin Bay. Unfortunately, it is not always a success.

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