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Articles on Australian history

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Activist and actor Bob Maza addresses a protest at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in front of Parliament House on July 30, 1972. Wikimedia Commons

A short history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – an indelible reminder of unceded sovereignty

This year, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is set to celebrate its 50th year of continuous occupation. Its presence is an ongoing call for land rights, sovereignty and self-determination.
R. Cleveley. View in Port Jackson. Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales. Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales

How the kidnapping of a First Nations man on New Year’s Eve in 1788 may have led to a smallpox epidemic

New Year’s Eve is the anniversary of the British invaders’ first kidnapping of a First Nations person in Australia. This kidnapping led to a devastating smallpox outbreak.
Jeffrey Smart, Margaret Olley in the Louvre Museum. 1994–95 Tuscany, Italy. Oil on canvas 67 x 110 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Bequest of Ian Whalland 1997. 85.1997

On the elegance and wry observations of Jeffrey Smart, one of Australia’s favourite painters

Jeffrey Smart is admired for his carefully structured paintings of Tuscany and Rome. This National Gallery of Australia’s centenary celebration of his birth takes the viewer back to Adelaide.
Frederic Eggleston presented his credentials to Chinese President Lin Sen (林森) at an official reception in Chungking on 28 October 1941. Sydney Morning Herald, November 12 1941

The Chungking Legation: Australia’s first diplomatic mission to China, 80 years ago

Under the shadow of World War II, Australia began to form its own foreign policy, separate from the British Empire. A legation in China was Australia’s third foreign outpost.
Lukas Coch/AAP

10 things every politician should know about history

Education Minister Alan Tudge has rejected the draft history curriculum. He wants students to learn that ‘we live in the greatest country on Earth’. That’s not history. It’s jingoistic nationalism.
Missionary Annie Lock with Enbarda (Betsy) left, and Dolly Cumming, both children from the Alice Springs area in Central Australia. Photo taken in Darwin. National Archives of Australia

Hidden women of history: Annie Lock was a bolshie, outspoken Australian missionary, full of contradictions

I thought I had uncovered a feminist heroine, but for all her intrepid and gutsy behaviour, Lock held intensely socially conservative views in line with her religious conviction.
Aboriginal elder Joy Murphy attending the unveiling of a mural painted by Indigenous people in prison, aiming to communicate a message of unity. JULIAN SMITH/AAP Image

The role of ‘re-storying’ in addressing over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Opportunities to give voice to Aboriginal people in prison have the potential to address the growing impacts of racism in the justice system in Australia.
A slide by Gordon H. Woodhouse to accompany a 1901 lecture by his father Clarence entitled ‘exploration and development of Australia’. State Library of Victoria

Friday essay: Our utopia … careful what you wish for

Exclusion has been central to utopian ideas of Australia since before Federation. It still lingers. To progress in this climate-challenged century, Australia’s foundational wrongs must be righted.

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