This address was delivered to History Extension students from Pymble and other schools. (Honest History representatives do these engagements frequently: contact email@example.com to discuss possibilities.)
All documents, to some extent, embody the values of their creators [says Bongiorno]. That is because the creators of documents, when they describe an event or person, are influenced in what they see by their own ideals, values and circumstances. You and I might see and describe the same event — say, a football or hockey match — but the stories we tell about it can be quite different in their emphases and themes. We’ll probably be able to agree on the final score, but not on its significance, nor necessarily on who were the best players and whether or not the referee favoured one team or the other!
Frank Bongiorno is President of the Honest History association and of the Canberra group of the Labour History Society. He is Professor of History at the Australian National University and the author of, among other books, The Eighties: The Decade that Transformed Australia and The Sex Lives of Australians: A History. He commented recently on the outcome of the marriage equality postal survey.