Our features

This category shows feature articles published by Honest History from our team and contributors. To explore by individual themes, use the Themes menu. To trace items by author, use the References by author: A-Z menu.

The bombing of Darwin, 75 years on: some alternative views

Honest History has been interested in the bombing of Darwin almost since we began the website, though our interest has extended to aspects that are not likely to be front and centre this week during the 75th anniversary events. Obviously,

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The Fall of Singapore, 75 years on: some alternative views

On Wednesday in Ballarat, Minister Tehan will attend a national service in Ballarat to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore (15 February 1942) and all Australian prisoners of war. This should be an occasion also to take

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In their footsteps? Anzac fun runs and the consumption of the past

Martin Crotty* ‘In their footsteps? Anzac fun runs and the consumption of the past’, Honest History, 7 February 2017 Running for fun and Anzac I am an historian of Australia at war, a frequent commentator on the way Australia commemorates

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Stephens, David: Opposition Leader HV Evatt receives certain assurances from Comrade Molotov: another case of “They would say that, wouldn’t they”?

David Stephens ‘Opposition Leader HV Evatt receives certain assurances from Comrade Molotov: another case of “They would say that, wouldn’t they”?’, Honest History, 7 February 2017 ‘Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE

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Cooking the (visitors) books: the Australian War Memorial struggles with statistics – again

David Stephens ‘Cooking the (visitors) books: the Australian War Memorial struggles with statistics – again’, Honest History, 7 February 2017 ‘There has always been an element of myth-making and myth-peddling in the Memorial’s work; it should not extend to its

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26 January – or thereabouts: thoughts on Australia Day

Humphrey McQueen ‘26 January – or thereabouts: thoughts on Australia Day’, Honest History, 23 January 2017 Vox Pop illustrates that the most enthusiastic celebrants of Australia Day do not always know what happened on January 26, 1788 in Sydney Cove.

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An offering for the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States: Professor Harry Frankfurt on the nature of bullshit

Update 27 January 2017: Norman Abjorensen in Inside Story looks at the long history of post-truth politics. This is good also, from Rod Tiffen in Inside Story. And US academic Lauren Griffin (The Conversation US) applies Frankfurt to today’s reality.

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Faber, David: An activist sense of history: indications for users

David Faber* ‘An activist sense of history: indications for users’, Honest History, 20 December 2016 ‘Never underestimate the power of dogma when propagandistically spread about among people who do not know much history.’ (Lawrence Davidson) We all know that those

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Edgar, Bill: Where’s the 19th century in the National History Curriculum?

Bill Edgar ‘The Australian National History Curriculum: A note of concern: whither the 19th century?‘ Honest History, 16 December 2016 We have received the attached brief document from Dr Bill Edgar of Perth. He asks: Have the “movers and shakers”

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Honest History document: the primary schools – the teaching of history

‘Honest History document: the primary schools – the teaching of history’, Honest History, 13 December 2016 From The Catholic Press (Sydney), 31 January 1918, p. 14 From all sides we hear the complaint that history is a difficult subject both

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (19) The 1916 coal strike

The Divided Sunburnt Country series ‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (19): The 1916 coal strike’, Honest History, 13 December 2016 ‘The strikes and upheavals, political and industrial, we see around us are the manifestations of a deliberate policy which aims at destroying

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Catching up with The Conversation: three very worthwhile days (and no pay-wall)

Queensland University of Technology academic, Axel Bruns, set out earlier this year a cogent argument for preserving social media as ‘a first draft of the present’ in a similar way to how journalism has traditionally been described as ‘the first

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While we are on the subject: four articles on aspects of democracy – and its possible future currency

Last Sunday we put up a post riffing off four articles which said something about the nature of politics. Without exactly saying so, we were talking about democratic politics and about how it can be a long, hard slog. We

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Eureka 162 years on: resources on the Honest History site

Tomorrow, 3 December, is the 162nd anniversary of the attack on the Eureka Stockade at Ballarat. Honest History has a number of resources on the site, links to lectures by Andrew Leigh MP and historian Humphrey McQueen, a post about

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Stephens, David: These four articles on politics reinforce each other in unexpected ways

David Stephens ‘These four articles on politics reinforce each other in unexpected ways’, Honest History, 27 November 2016 Fifty years on In 1966, 50 years ago, Lyndon Baines Johnson was in the White House, Australia’s new prime minister, Harold Holt,

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (18): The Prime Minister is determined to carry on

The Divided Sunburnt Country series ‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (18): The Prime Minister is determined to carry on’, Honest History, 26 November 2016 The referendum (plebiscite) had been held on 28 October. Prime Minister Hughes was the guest of

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Shield, John: Top End Anzackery: an illustrated review note (featuring a mouse who flys a Spitfire)

Shield, John* ‘Top End Anzackery: an illustrated review note (featuring a mouse who flies a Spitfire)’, Honest History, 22 November 2016 Re-enactment, 74th anniversary of Darwin bombings, 2016 (Defence department) In 2012, the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

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Hamilton, Clive: What do we want? Charting the rise and fall of protest in Australia

Hamilton, Clive ‘What do we want? Charting the rise and fall of protest in Australia‘, The Conversation, 17 November 2016 updated Discusses the author’s new book, What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia, just published. Traces the

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Green, Jonathan: Why must a war define us? Honest History highlights reel

Green, Jonathan ‘Why must a war define us?‘ ABC The Drum, 24 April 2014 (Honest History highlights reel) Over the last three years Honest History has tried to collect significant pieces written about Australia’s relationship with war. We have commissioned

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‘The Call to the People of Australia’, Remembrance Day, 1951: highlights reel

‘” The Call to the People of Australia”, Remembrance Day, 1951: highlights reel’, Honest History, 11 November 2016 This Remembrance Day is the 65th anniversary of one of the stranger documents of early post-war Australia. Titled ‘The Call to the

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The Australian War Memorial is opened, 11 November 1941

The Australian War Memorial was opened 75 years ago today. The Australian War Memorial at Canberra, symbol of a young nation’s courage and sacrifice, was officially opened yesterday [began the report in the Canberra Times]. The impressive service of tribute

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When a motley crew of Canberra stirrers protected the War Memorial from competition

David Stephens ‘When a motley crew of Canberra stirrers protected the War Memorial from competition’, Honest History, 11 November 2016 Twelve years ago, some Canberra citizens conceived the idea of building in the city new war memorials, one for World

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Two years of commentary on the Australian War Memorial: from the Honest History archives

Rationale Critiquing the Anzac-centred received view of Australian history necessarily involves forensic examination of the work of our premier commemorative institution, the Australian War Memorial. The Memorial – rather surprisingly, in view of its interest in warlike matters – has

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‘That famous army of generous men’: some stories and reflections for Remembrance Day

Richard Reid* ‘”That famous army of generous men”: some stories and reflections for Remembrance Day’, Honest History, 11 November 2016 In early November 1993 I stood at 8.00 am in the misty cold of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Adelaide

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (17): Three post-mortems on the first conscription referendum

The Divided Sunburnt Country series Note: No. 16 in the series was updated on 7 November to include a short speech by Michael McKernan on the impact of conscription in Jugiong, NSW, and a paper by Frank Bongiorno on why

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (16): Conscription miscellany – and mainstream avoidance

The Divided Sunburnt Country series ‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (16): Conscription miscellany – and mainstream avoidance’, Honest History, 4 November 2016 updated Update 16 November 2016: review of Archer, et al, ed., The Conscription Conflict and the Great War.

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (15): Final thunderous appeals, pro and con, on the eve of the conscription plebiscite

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (15): Final thunderous appeals, pro and con, on the eve of the conscription plebiscite 100 years ago’, Honest History, 27 October 2016 The Divided Sunburnt Country series Pro Prime Minister Hughes’s final appeal appeared in

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Stephens, David: Turks did the heavy lifting: a longer look at the building of the Atatürk Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, 1984-85: Part II

David Stephens ‘Turks did the heavy lifting: a longer look at the building of the Atatürk Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, 1984-85: Part II’, Honest History, 25 October 2016 updated This is a revised and extended version of an article

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Stephens, David: ‘Awkward humility’: The speeches of the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson AO: Part II: Long bows, Holly Golightly and political baseball bats

Stephens, David ‘“Awkward humility”: The speeches of the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson AO: Part II: Long bows, Holly Golightly and political baseball bats‘, Honest History, 20 October 2016 This article continues our analysis of ten of Dr Nelson’s speeches from

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‘Awkward humility’: The speeches of the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson AO: Part II: Long bows, Holly Golightly and political baseball bats

David Stephens ‘“Awkward humility”: The speeches of the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson AO: Part II: Long bows, Holly Golightly and political baseball bats’, Honest History, 20 October 2016 In our previous article we looked at the structure, themes and content

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Aileen Palmer and Maralinga: Honest History highlights reel

‘Aileen Palmer and Maralinga: Honest History highlights reel’, Honest History, 18 October 2016 This material has been made available by Sylvia Martin, author of Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer, published earlier this year by University

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (14): No conscription! Facts for doubting boneheads

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (14): No conscription! Facts for doubting boneheads’, Honest History, 16 October 2016 The Divided Sunburnt Country series Here are some extracts from a piece in Direct Action for 14 October 1916 (just two weeks before

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‘Awkward humility’: The speeches of the Hon Brendan Nelson AO: Part I: Thrice more with feeling

David Stephens ‘“Awkward humility”: The speeches of the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson AO: Part I: Thrice more with feeling’, Honest History, 11 October 2016 The received Australian view of war can be encapsulated in phrases like ‘Lest we forget’, ‘the

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Stephens, David: Turks did the heavy lifting: a longer look at the story of the Ataturk Memorial, Canberra, 1984-85: Part I

David Stephens ‘Turks did the heavy lifting: a longer look at the story of the Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, 1984-85: Part I’, Honest History, 11 October 2016 updated This material revises and extends an article published in April 2016 and based

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Stephens, David: ‘Awkward humility’: The speeches of the Hon Brendan Nelson, AO: Part I: Thrice more with feeling

Stephens, David ‘” Awkward humility”: The speeches of the Hon Brendan Nelson AO: Part I: Thrice more with feeling‘, Honest History, 11 October 2016 The article analyses ten speeches from 2007 to 2016 regarding their structure, recurring themes and sets

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Honest History highlights reel: Nick Dyrenfurth’s Mateship: A Very Australian History

‘Honest History highlights reel: Nick Dyrenfurth’s Mateship: A Very Australian History’, Honest History, 11 October 2016  Nick Dyrenfurth’s book Mateship: A Very Australian History, was published by Scribe in 2015. This highlights reel picks out some key paragraphs. We used

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‘A material triumph and an aesthetic calamity’: the work of Australian architect Robin Boyd

Humphrey McQueen ‘“A material triumph and an aesthetic calamity”: the work of Australian architect Robin Boyd’, Honest History, 11 October 2016 ‘A material triumph and an aesthetic calamity’ was how architect and cultural critic Robin Boyd summed up our domestic

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (13): DVA materials help children today debate conscription then

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (13): DVA materials help children today debate conscription then’, Honest History, 11 October 2016 updated Update 21 October 2016:  Queensland Government Anzac Centenary website has a useful summary on conscription in 1916. The Divided Sunburnt

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Honest History goes to the pictures: movie and TV reviews from the Honest History archives

Quite early in the Honest History project we realised that it was important to review movies and television series that came within our areas of interest. (We even explained why we were doing it.) Practically (due to resource limitations), this

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (12): The conscription battle hots up

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (12): The conscription battle hots up – 100 years ago’, Honest History, 30 September 2016 The Divided Sunburnt Country series Our intrepid researcher, Steve Flora, has worked his way through the National Library’s excellent Trove

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Aspects of foreign and defence policy: eight blogged Pearls that are likely to Irritate

Pearls and Irritations, the blog run by John Menadue, one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters and former senior public servant and businessman, regularly serves up pithy and thought-provoking pieces from experts with strong backgrounds in their fields. The blog’s masthead

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Port of Melbourne pictures just the tip of the photographic iceberg

Photo credit for home page, 23 September. The port of Melbourne has been leased for a lot of money. This provoked the Melbourne Age to run a set of photographs of the port, dating back well into the 19th century.

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Online Gem No. 12: David Scott Mitchell and his library, a Sydney icon

Online Gem No. 12: David Scott Mitchell and his library, a Sydney icon, Honest History, 13 September 2016 David Scott Mitchell, born in Sydney in 1836, has been described as Australia’s greatest book collector. He was an early undergraduate of

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Life and work in the city and suburbs adds up to lots of Australian stories: Honest History miscellany

The Australian story has always had a gumleaves and distance tone to it even though most of us for most of our history have lived in cities. Yet our cities have grown so big and spread so far – as

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (11): The Case for Universal Service

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (11): The Case for Universal Service‘, Honest History, 8 September 2016 The Divided Sunburnt Country series   When Prime Minister WM Hughes announced the first conscription referendum there was already plenty of literature in circulation

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Concerning the proposed foreign policy White Paper: Alison Broinowski, Richard Woolcott, John Menadue, James Cogan

Australia has not had many foreign policy White Papers, though we have had a lot of Defence White Papers. There may be some significance in this. The recent announcement from the Foreign Minister  provoked some responses to add to the

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Six of the best: recent posts on the future of history

Earlier this week we posted Neville Buch’s piece, ‘Do professional historians have a future?’ It has been very popular, with hundreds of views already. Serendipitously, blogs and online sources have thrown up lots of related material. Swansea University historian of

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Turnbull, Noel: Leadership in the face of Anzackery

Turnbull, Noel ‘Leadership in the face of Anzackery’, Noel Turnbull (blog) 29 August 2016 Another to add to our series ‘Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context‘. The author has been a journalist, academic, public relations consultant, and

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Friendships are based on truths: looking again at the crime of crimes (Hellenic genocides 1914-22)

Panayiotis Diamadis ‘Friendships are based on truths: looking again at the crime of crimes’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 In recent weeks, there have been three major pieces published in The Australian and the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) on the genocides

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Lord Northcliffe (egged on by Keith Murdoch) talks up the Anzacs after Pozieres: Honest History document

‘“These young giants from the furthest corner of the earth”: Lord Northcliffe (egged on by Keith Murdoch) talks up the Anzacs after Pozières: Honest History document’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 The document below is taken from The Sun (Sydney)

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From the Honest History archives: ‘Defining Moments’ at the National Museum of Australia (September 2014 and since)

Honest History has tracked the ‘Defining Moments’ project at the National Museum of Australia pretty much since it began. The project was an expression of the NMA’s claim to be ‘Where our stories live’ – ‘stories’ plural – which we

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Anzackery and other Australianisms: Australian National Dictionary second edition

Bruce Moore ‘Anzackery and other Australianisms: Australian National Dictionary second edition’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 The new edition of the Australian National Dictionary has been published. The first edition, published in 1988, was a one-volume work of 814 pages.

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Do professional historians have a future?

Neville Buch ‘Do professional historians have a future?’ Honest History, 30 August 2016 Peter Mandler argued in his 2015 Aeon essay that the ‘crisis in the humanities’ since the 1950s has never existed except in the minds of humanities professors.[1]

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (10): Prime Minister Hughes announces the first conscription referendum, 100 years ago today

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (10): Prime Minister Hughes announces the first conscription referendum, 100 years ago today’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series Just after 3.53 pm on Wednesday, 30 August 1916, on a cold

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Time and Bob Menzies’ essence: lifting the cover on Australia 1960

Humphrey McQueen ‘Time and Bob Menzies’ essence: lifting the cover on Australia 1960’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 Note: this article includes a photograph of an Indigenous Australian who has died Time magazine ‘Indignation’ and ‘hilarity’ jostled each other through

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Bach, Willy: A “kick in the guts”? A final look at Long Tan

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series Willy Bach ‘A “kick in the guts”? A final look at Long Tan’, Honest History, 30 August 2016 I am happy to say there were others who

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Many facets of inequality revealed in online sources: Honest History miscellany

A current article in Guardian Weekly wonders if the abundance of online sources is killing memory. We don’t need to remember anything because we can look it up. Maybe. The upside is the ease of finding information online – information

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (9): Billy Hughes girds his loins for the conscription battle

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series On 31 July 1916, Prime Minister WM Hughes returned to Australia (Fremantle) after six months in Britain and Europe, where he had raised Australia’s profile in Allied war councils. He spoke at the Melbourne Town

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From the Honest History archives: People who turn up – nurses in Vietnam (June 2016)

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series ________________________ This week’s commemoration of Australia’s Vietnam War (hanging off the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan) underlines that history is made by those who

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Stephens, David: We need to talk about how we commemorate our wars in other people’s countries – and our own

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series _______________________________ David Stephens ‘We need to talk about how we commemorate our wars in other people’s countries – and our own’, Honest History, 18 August 2016 updated

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Broinowski, Richard: The Battle of Long Tan turns fifty – but not without a hitch

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series Richard Broinowski ‘The Battle of Long Tan turns fifty – but not without a hitch’, Honest History, 18 August 2016 updated An article by Mark Schliebs in

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From the Honest History archives: What happened to Australians after the Vietnam War (June 2015)?

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series _____________________________ Parades, recognition and misremembering Part of the narrative of Australia’s Vietnam War in the more than 40 years since our commitment ended has been that Australian

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (8): Jennie Scott Griffiths: ‘She Fought Where She Stood’

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series Victoria Haskins writes in her Anzac Her Story blog about Jennie Scott Griffiths, born in Texas in 1875, mother of ten children, newspaper editor, and anti-war campaigner in World War I Australia and just after

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From the Honest History archives: Agent Orange – Vietnam scourge of soldiers and civilians alike (March 2015, March 2016)

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series   Honest History has published a number of posts on the effects of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used by United States forces during the Vietnam War.

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Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: Honest History series

‘Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: an Honest History series’, Honest History, 15 August 2016 updated UPDATE 11.45 am FRIDAY: Still difficulties with access. UPDATE 6.00 AM THURSDAY: Restricted access to be allowed. STOP PRESS: Cancellation of

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From the Honest History archives: 1965-75 another Vietnam: unseen images of the war from the winning side (February 2016)

Australia’s Vietnam War – and keeping it in context: others in the series   This post shows the Vietnam War from the other side, with pictures (curated by Alex Q. Arbuckle for Mashable) by Vietnamese photographers of civilians, militia and

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Online Gem No. 11: The Airlines of Australia Stinson plane crash, 1937

Online Gem No. 11: The Airlines of Australia Stinson plane crash, 1937, Honest History, 12 August 2016 On 19 February 1937, an Airlines of Australia Stinson aircraft carrying five passengers and two pilots disappeared during a scheduled trip from Brisbane

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Memories of war: A film and research project in Ballarat

Lucinda Horrocks ‘Memories of war: A film and research project in Ballarat’, Honest History, 8 August 2016 In 2014 I embarked on a collaborative film and research project to explore the history and impact of World War I in the

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From the Honest History archives: Hiroshima 1945; Managing Hiroshima

Update 31 August 2016: an article on The Millions website commemorating the 70th anniversary of the publication in The New Yorker of John Hersey’s long article Hiroshima. The anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings tends to creep up on

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (7): An overview of the 1916-17 conscription referenda

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series Michael Hamel-Green wrote in Green Left Weekly earlier this year an article called ‘When Australia voted no to war: the 1916-17 conscription referenda‘. The article is a useful brief introduction to the conscription struggle, an

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From the Honest History archives: Wounded and damaged soldiers then and now (November 2014)

Between the centenary of Fromelles and Pozières it seems appropriate to re-run a small collection Honest History put together late in 2014 on the physical effects of war on the men and women who fight it. The collection was provoked

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Is Julia Gillard’s speech to the US Congress the most sycophantic speech by an Australian PM?

David Stephens ‘Is this the most sycophantic speech by an Australian prime minister? Julia Gillard’s address to the United States Congress, March 2011’, Honest History, 19 July 2016 Former Prime Minister Rudd gets Anzac biscuit, 2012 (Courier-Mail/Brad Cooper) Anzackery precedents:

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Stephens, David: How some Turks would rather that Johnnies and Mehmets were not equal

David Stephens ‘How some Turks would rather that Johnnies and Mehmets were not equal: research report’, Honest History, 19 July 2016 updated The equality of death ‘There is no difference’, we are told every Anzac Day, ‘between the Johnnies and

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Stanley, Peter: Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (6): ‘I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier’: pacifists

Stanley, Peter ‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (6): “I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier”: pacifists’, Honest History, 19 July 2016 This is an extract from Chapter 23 of John Connor, Peter Stanley & Peter Yule, The War

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From the Honest History archives: Alison Broinowski from October 2013 on Iraq 2003 and war powers reform

In the wake of the Chilcot report and recognising its relevance for Australia, we are re-running a perspicacious October 2013 piece from Alison Broinowski (vice president of both Honest History and Australians for War Powers Reform). Called ‘The streaker’s defence:

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From the Honest History archives: Doug Hynd from January 2015 on aspects of the Martin Place siege of 2014

Doug Hynd has lectured in Christian ethics at Charles Sturt University and is now in the final stages of a PhD at the Australian Catholic University. In this short piece written just after the Martin Place (Lindt) siege, he considers

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (5): Catholic and Protestant schooling in Gippsland

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series This series focuses on the home front and asks whether issues at home were actually the big stories of the Great War, especially of the years 1916-18. We have seen already how national issues like

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From the Honest History archives: Gough Whitlam centenary, 11 July 2016

Monday, 11 July 2016, is 100 years since the birth of Edward Gough Whitlam, prime minister of Australia 1972-75. Gough Whitlam died in October 2014 and at that time, Honest History collected a lot of resources, obituaries, reminiscences, commentaries, extracts,

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Chilcot lessons for Australia as well as for powerful friends: Honest History miscellany

After seven years, Sir John Chilcot has reported on how the United Kingdom found itself in Iraq in 2003 and what it all meant. Chilcot’s report considers the actions and words of British Prime Minister Blair, United States President George

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Five uneasy pieces on the mainstream media and the election

Update 3 August 2016: Richard Denniss in The Monthly on Brexit, election, perceptions, the media and the whole damn thing. Update 22 July 2016: Sean Kelly in The Monthly Today on some of the issues below. ____________ The founder of

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From the Honest History archives: An old Queen and a new nation (Constitution Day, 9 July)

‘From the Honest History archives: An old Queen and a new nation (Constitution Day, 9 July)’, Honest History, 6 July 2016 Victoria by Charles Léandre, Le Rire, 12 June 1897 (Wikimedia Commons) Update: National Archives of Australia events on Constitution

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Online Gem No. 10: Official histories of Australia at war

‘Online Gem No. 10: Official histories of Australia at war’, Honest History, 29 June 2016 Over the past century Australian governments have commissioned six separate series of official war histories, one for each of the major conflicts in which Australia

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Important First Australians material on election eve

Honest History tries to keep up with links, both brief and wordy, relevant to First Australians, with particular reference to dispossession, invasion and policy backtracks, cover-ups and Closing the Gap. (Perhaps the last could be dubbed ‘Polyfilla Policy’.) We put

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Review note: Irish Easter Rising commemoration has lessons for Australia

‘Review note: Irish Easter Rising commemoration has lessons for Australia’, Honest History, 23 June 2016 I am just one-eighth Irish and by no means an expert in being Irish or in Irish history. But Honest History’s recent collecting of material

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Land rights, Treaty, not hearing and family violence: First Australians miscellany

Five mid-week items: NITV has an explainer on Treaty: What is it? What do other countries have? What kind could we have? Sovereignty; Treaty and recognition; Where to from here? Timeline. Guardian Australia has a rundown on the successful culmination

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (4): AIF enlistment starts to fall

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series One hundred years ago this month, as Anzac troops settled in on the Western Front – 600 had been killed by the end of June, enlistments in the AIF dropped to their lowest monthly total

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Midwinter (almost) Miscellany from Honest History (info-brokers to the gentry)

Illness has cut a swathe through the Honest History engine-room this week so the remaining HH elves have been forced to bundle some useful links together below. The bundling exercise also warmed us up in an unusually cold Canberra early

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Honest History Miscellany of the June Long Weekend

Some of our Honest History software fell over late on Thursday last week. Thanks to some sleuthing by our indefatigable Webmaster we got it back on track by late Saturday but it meant there was a buildup of new posts

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Keepers of the flame: making war memorial councils more representative

David Stephens ‘Keepers of the flame: why do the people who control our war memorials look so different from the rest of us and why does this matter?’ Honest History, 7 June 2016 Contents The Australian War Memorial Act 1980

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18: a new series from Honest History

‘Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18: a new series from Honest History’, Honest History, 7 June 2016 updated   Dorothea Mackellar in theatrical costume, 1918 (Wikimedia Commons/SLNSW) In 1904, Dorothea Mackellar, then aged 19, wrote her poem ‘My country’, which included

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (3): trade unions and Irish Australians

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series ___________________ By 1916 trade unions were pretty well established in Australia and so, for that matter, were people whose families came from Ireland. Catholics from Ireland probably tended to support the labour side in politics

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Churchill and Gallipoli: a personal commentary

Ann Moyal ‘Churchill and Gallipoli: a personal commentary’, Honest History, 7 June 2016 I have long enjoyed a personal and historical interest in Sir Winston Churchill. As a highly privileged young research assistant to Lord Beaverbrook, I spent a month

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From the Honest History Archives: Tangled up in red, white and blue

‘From the Honest History archives: Tangled up in red, white and blue (September 2013)’, Honest History, 7 June 2016 The Honest History website now includes more than 2000 posts and pages, many of them containing original writing. Readers can find

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Which bank do you know? Some notes from Humphrey McQueen on Australian banking history

‘Which bank do you know? Some notes from Humphrey McQueen on Australian banking history’, Honest History, 7 June 2016 and updated [*] The distinguished Australian historian, Humphrey McQueen, has sent Honest History extensive notes distilling his recent research on the

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Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (2): the War Census

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series ________________ In 1915 Australians took part in a special census, called the War Census, ostensibly to help organise the country’s resources for total war but effectively to prepare for the introduction of conscription for war

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Divided sunburnt country (1): Australia 1916-18: recruiting in Gippsland

This post is by way of being a ‘soft launch’ for a new Honest History series. We are using the series to explore a crucial question: whether what happened at home in Australia during the Great War was actually more

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Babkenian, Vicken & Peter Stanley: ‘Armenian propaganda uses the ANZAC’ [sic]: A response

Babkenian, Vicken & Peter Stanley ‘”Armenian propaganda uses the ANZAC [sic]”: A response’, Honest History, 19 May 2016 The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATA-A) website has published a review of Armenia, Australia and the Great War, by Vicken Babkenian and

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Online Gem No. 9: Peter Norman: Australia’s greatest male sprinter (17 May 2016)

‘Online Gem No. 9: Peter Norman: Australia’s greatest male sprinter’, Honest History, 17 May 2016 Peter Norman (born 1942) was a remarkable Australian athlete. Through his achievement at the Mexico Olympic Games and his response to that achievement he became

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The dogs of war at home and abroad: miscellany

(Australian Electoral Commission) As the election is announced, complete with warlike metaphors, it is timely to look at some other slices of our history, past and present, where war is rather more real or more possible. (Honest History will probably

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Anzac Day miscellany 2016

Update 30 August 2016: Mick Cook (The Dead Prussian Podcast) talked to Sharon Mascall-Dare about Indigenous and non-Anglo Celtic Anzacs. Thirty minutes but no transcript. Update 27 May 2016: we found this one much later, paragraphs lurking at the beginning

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Honest History: Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial

Honest History ‘Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial‘, Honest History, 26 April 2016 updated Update 1 November 2016: the Alternative Guide has been downloaded 1672 times since Anzac Day although the War Memorial Council has said it

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Ankara calling: the rush to build the Ataturk Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, 1984-85

‘Ankara calling: the rush to build the Atatürk Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, 1984-85’, Honest History, 26 April 2016 (Note: a summary version of this article appeared in Pearls and Irritations.) The Atatürk Memorial has stood at the top of

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More on the Australian pilgrimages to Gallipoli, 1960 and 1965

‘More on the Australian pilgrimages to Gallipoli, 1960 and 1965’, Honest History, 26 April 2016 In Honest History’s work on the provenance of the alleged ‘Atatürk words’ of 1934 (‘Those heroes that shed their blood …’), we have found isolated

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Across the sea to Ireland: Australians and the Easter Rising 1916 – highlights reel

‘Across the sea to Ireland: Australians and the Easter Rising 1916 – highlights reel’, Honest History, 26 April 2016 updated Update 16 June 2016: David Hayes in Inside Story writes about the 2016 commemoration in Ireland and the links to

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A quieter year this year? Anzac Week news and reflections

These few links are taken at random from media coverage of what looks like being a quieter Anzac Day. Perhaps we are wrong. We’ll see. In any case, the quieter build-up has given some observers a chance to make some

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Twenty-five years since Deaths in Custody Royal Commission: Honest History miscellany

‘Twenty-five years since Deaths in Custody Royal Commission: Honest History miscellany’, Honest History, 15 April 2016 Taking a line through the dozen or so news reports and pieces of commentary below, we do not attempt any summing up other than

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Is Australia spending too much on the “Anzac centenary”? A comparison with France

Romain Fathi ‘Is Australia spending too much on the “Anzac centenary”? A comparison with France’, Honest History, 14 April 2016 How much exactly does the commemoration of the ‘Anzac centenary’ cost the Australian taxpayer? The group Honest History documents that,

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Keeping up with the Anzac centenary: have we passed ‘Peak Anzac’?

‘Keeping up with the Anzac centenary: have we passed “Peak Anzac”? Honest History, 13 April 2016 The PHA seminar of 5 April The Professional Historians Association (Victoria) held a seminar on 5 April ‘reflecting on the Anzac centenary and memorialisation’.

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Holbrook, Carolyn: Anzac centenary and memorialisation: speech to PHA (Vic)

Carolyn Holbrook ‘Professional Historians Association Historically Speaking: Reflecting on the Anzac centenary and memorialisation (Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Centre, South Melbourne, 5 April 2016)’, Honest History, 13 April 2016 My work has centred on the history of how Australians

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Tout-Smith, Deborah: Anzac centenary and memorialisation: speech to PHA (Vic)

Deborah Tout-Smith ‘Professional Historians Association Historically Speaking series, 5 April 2016: Reflecting on the Anzac centenary and memorialisation’, Honest History, 13 April 2016 I’d like to begin my reflections by acknowledging the size of the audience for the World War

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Online gem No. 8: Betty Cuthbert, champion athlete (12 April 2016)

‘Online gem No. 8: Betty Cuthbert, champion athlete (12 April 2016)’, Honest History, 12 April 2016 Update 25 July 2016: one aspect of the 1956 Olympics was the TV coverage, which created its own issues but set the early parameters

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101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: Honest History miscellany

‘101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: another April date that today’s Australians overlook’, Honest History, 6 April 2016 updated Update 5 November 2016: new material is in this book about killings at Izmit; a movie about the Genocide. _________________ The

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Wading deeper into the South China Sea: three thoughtful pieces

Update 22 July 2016: The international arbitration between China and the Philippines has been completed. Marion Diamond looks at the deep background, viz. Grotius and freedom of the seas. _________________________ Honest History has followed developments in the South China Sea

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Five Inside Stories and four Conversations: Honest History miscellany

‘Five Inside Stories and four Conversations: Honest History miscellany’, Honest History, 22 March 2016 updated Recent update on the Reef 20 April 2016: ABC report on the extent of bleaching, including map, showing particularly the extreme position in the northern

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Martyrs’ Day in Turkey and what probably did not happen on 18 March 1934

‘Martyrs’ Day in Turkey and what probably did not happen on 18 March 1934: recent research from Cengiz Özakinci’, Honest History, 15 March 2016 updated Background The date 18 March marks the anniversary of the Ottoman naval victory in 1915,

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In the matter of Agent Orange: Vietnam veterans versus the Australian War Memorial

Jacqueline Bird ‘In the matter of Agent Orange: Vietnam veterans versus the Australian War Memorial’, Honest History, 15 March 2016 * CONTENTS Opening comments Initial reaction to FB Smith’s work The 2008 trigger at the War Memorial The case against

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Constructing nationalism: telling us how it is on Anzac

John Brookes* ‘Constructing nationalism: telling us how it is on Anzac’, Honest History, 15 March 2015 Nationalism is a politically constructed discourse intended to delineate and reveal a community to itself. The rise of Anzac in Australia in the last

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David Rieff: when history does more harm than good: highlights reel

‘When history does more harm than good: highlights reel’, Honest History, 15 March 2016 David Rieff is about to publish a new book In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies. His short work, Against Remembrance, published in 2011,

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Defending the national tuckshop (again): Defence White Paper miscellany

Update 1 April 2016: four pieces on the South China Sea from former diplomats Broinowski, Miller and Woodward, published in Pearls and Irritations. ____________________   The title of this piece is pinched shamelessly from that of Michael Cathcart’s excellent book

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Online gem No. 7: Antarctica frozen in Canberra street names

Online gem No.7: Antarctica frozen in Canberra street names (26 February 2016) Suburbs and streets in the Australian Capital Territory acknowledge and commemorate the role of individuals or reflect the diverse nature of Australian culture. Mawson as a suburb is

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Choices for First Australians: Honest History miscellany

This is our fourth miscellany this month on matters affecting First Australians and the relationship with them of settler Australian-based governments. Some of the items repeat familiar themes. One could ask who has most control over why these themes do

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Linking 40 000 Australian years: Honest History miscellany

Wiradjuri heritage journalist, Stan Grant, launched his book, Talking to My Country, at the National Press Club. Details about the book are here. Guardian Australia carried extracts from the book. We know this history, my people. This is a living

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‘The Australian War Memorial is happy to let your opinion stand as it is’: AWM response to recent Honest History posts

David Stephens ‘“The Australian War Memorial is happy to let your opinion stand as it is”: the Memorial’s response to recent posts on the Honest History website’, Honest History, 22 February 2016 Honest History readers will recall our articles remarking

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Closing the Gap follow-up articles: Honest History miscellany

Honest History put together a small collection of articles around the prime minister’s Closing the Gap statement of earlier this month. Since the statement there have been more articles on Indigenous Australia, some of them taking a historical perspective. Here

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A man of the mind: John Hirst 1942-2016

Michael Piggott ‘A man of the mind: John Hirst 1942-2016’, Honest History, 16 February 2016 Honest History has, over the past two years, praised and criticised various institutions’ and authors’ representations of the past, but rarely looked at an historian

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Einstein, gravitation and the scientists of the Empire c. 1919: highlights reel

‘Einstein, gravitation and the scientists of the Empire c. 1919: highlights reel’, Honest History, 16 February 2016 The recent announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves (described as the scientific discovery of the century) set Honest History in search of

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Online gem No. 6: Selected political records of the Commonwealth Parliament

Online gem No. 6: Selected political records of the Commonwealth Parliament (11 February 2016) Any week when the Australian Parliament is sitting brings a sharpened focus on the House on the Hill, even for those Australians who do not live

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Getting right and Closing the Gap: Honest History miscellany

How settler Australia gets right with Indigenous Australia is a nation-shaping issue connected intricately to our shared history. The prime minister’s Closing the Gap report today will be scanned closely and judgements made as to ‘how far’ and ‘what next’.

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Singing country: the importance of the song On every Anzac Day

David Stephens ‘Singing country: the musical legacy of David Morrison, Australian of the Year – and a straw in the wind at the Australian War Memorial?’, Honest History, 2 February 2016 Before David Morrison became Australian of the Year he

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‘Visitation’ numbers at the Australian War Memorial since 1991: is this joint really jumpin’?

David Stephens ‘“Visitation” numbers at the Australian War Memorial since 1991: is this joint really jumpin’?’ Honest History, 2 February 2016 The title of this piece needs some explanation. First, ‘visitation’. The author thought this word meant the visit of

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High Commissioner Fisher talks up the war, January 1916: highlights reel

‘High Commissioner Fisher talks up the war, January 1916: Honest History highlights reel’, Honest History, 2 February 2016 Andrew Fisher left the Australian prime ministership on 30 October 1915 and, with his family, travelled to London to take up the

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A century since we stole quietly away

David Stephens ‘A century since we stole quietly away’, Honest History, 23 December 2015 To judge from Trove (the National Library’s newspaper database) the first news of the successful evacuation from Gallipoli arrived in time for the evening editions of

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Three essays on the Cronulla riots 10 years on

Update 14 December 2015: the World Socialist Web Site weighs in with some detailed analysis of the court decision on the proposed Cronulla commemorative barbecue by the Party for Freedom. WSWS has also sent us a link to its 2006

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Eureka 161 years on: Honest History miscellany

‘Eureka 161 years on: Honest History miscellany’, Honest History, 1 December 2015 Thursday this week, 3 December, is the 161st anniversary of Eureka. Honest History has collected resources on Eureka over the last couple of years and here are links

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Will the new Anzac centenary minister be too busy to bother?

David Stephens ‘Will the new Anzac centenary minister be too busy to bother? Honest History, 1 December 2015 [Note: earlier, edited versions of this article appear in the Public Servant Informant supplement of the Canberra Times for 1 December 2015,

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No sign of Ataturk’s minister at Anzac, April-May 1934

‘Gold, rum but no sign of Ataturk’s minister at Anzac, April-May 1934’, Honest History, 1 December 2015 We return to the provenance of the famous ‘Ataturk words’ of 1934 – the ones commencing ‘Those heroes that shed their blood and

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Going to the Flicks, Brisbane, November 1915

‘Going to the Flicks, Brisbane, November 1915: highlights reel’, Honest History, 1 December 2015 Brisbane Courier 26 November 1915 26 November 1915 was a Friday and it was the final night of the ‘stirring military program’ at the Strand Theatre

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Online gem No. 5: Medico-Legal Society of Victoria: experience of war

Online gem No. 5: Medico-Legal Society of Victoria: the experience of war (26 November 2015) Here are some more items from the extensive holdings of the Medico-Legal Society of Victoria (MLSV). Online gem No. 4 also included papers from the

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Online gem No. 4: Medico-Legal Society of Victoria

Online gem No. 4: Medico-Legal Society of Victoria (26 October 2015) The Medico-Legal Society of Victoria, founded in Melbourne in 1931, was intended as a common meeting ground for the legal and medical professions and to promote discussion and understanding

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The first Anzac Day? Adelaide 1915: highlights reel

‘The first Anzac Day? Adelaide 1915: highlights reel’, Honest History, 13 October 2015 This year, 2015, as surely everyone knows now, is one hundred years since the Gallipoli landing/invasion, 25 April 1915, popularised as ‘Anzac’. But when was the first

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Anonymous (Frank Morton?): new use for Central Australia? (highlights reel)

Anonymous (Frank Morton?) ‘A new use for Central Australia: it’s “potentialities” as a scrapping ground‘, The Triad, 10 March 1917 This semi-humorous piece, apparently just the single page, suggests that Central Australia would provide a more spacious, less cluttered battleground

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Finding Australian history resources

‘What’s the best way into Australian history resources?’ Honest History, 13 October 2015 First, there’s the Honest History website. There’s a guide to the site and we recommend browsing. You will see that, while we target issues of current relevance,

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Online gem No.3: Canberra’s 1940 air crash

Online gem No. 3: Canberra’s 1940 air crash (13 October 2015) On the morning of 13 August 1940 a Hudson A16-97 aircraft flying from Melbourne to Canberra crashed on the eastern approaches to Canberra’s airport. All ten people on board

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Online gem No. 2: Royalty in the Australian Women’s Weekly

Online gem No. 2: Royalty in the Australian Women’s Weekly (13 October 2015) In September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in British history. During the Queen’s long reign many Australians have maintained a particular fascination with her

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Online gem No. 1: Myall Creek Massacre

The Myall Creek massacre of June 1838 led to the death of 28 Aboriginal men, women and children and to the trial of 11 of their white assailants. Seven were found guilty and were executed in December 1838. The first

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Fifty years since Indonesia coup: Honest History miscellany

‘Fifty years since Indonesia coup: Honest History miscellany’, Honest History, 1 October 2015(updated) On the night of 30 September-1 October 1965 anti-communist forces in Indonesia quelled an alleged nascent coup attributed to the Indonesian communist party, the PKI. The coup

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Wilfred Burchett recalled by Rupert Lockwood: highlights reel (II)

‘Wilfred Burchett recalled by Rupert Lockwood: highlights reel (II)’, Honest History, 30 September 2015 This post follows on from our earlier extracts from a long, undated (but circa 1994) essay by Rupert Lockwood (1908-97), another Australian internationalist, in which he

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Freedom and the Australian War Memorial: is Honest History not a force for good?

David Stephens ‘Freedom and the Australian War Memorial: is Honest History not a force for good?’, Honest History, 1 September 2015 Communication has always been central to warfare. Carrier pigeons, flags, field telephones, Mel Gibson rushing through the trenches in

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Wilfred Burchett recalled by Rupert Lockwood: highlights reel (I)

‘Wilfred Burchett recalled by Rupert Lockwood: highlights reel (I)’, Honest History, 1 September 2015 Recently we ran Wilfred Burchett’s famous report of the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima. That post included some links to material on this enigmatic

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Inequality – six of the best from Andrew Leigh MP: highlights reel

‘Inequality – six of the best from Andrew Leigh, MP: highlights reel’, Honest History, 1 September 2015 Inequality has been a special interest of Honest History, as we have noted the procession of reporting organisations confirming Australia’s growing reputation in

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Talking about Turkey in the 1960s: highlights reel

‘Talking about Turkey in the 1960s: highlights reel’, Honest History, 22 August 2015 The Returned and Services League (RSL) papers in the National Library of Australia constitute about the largest of that cultural institution’s massive collection of manuscripts. And about

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Public Works Committee’s paddle in Monash museum

David Stephens ‘Public Works Committee’s paddle in the Monash museum’, Honest History, 19 August 2015 This is the third in our series considering the Monash project at Villers-Bretonneux, France. Earlier articles looked at the submission from the Department of Veterans’

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VP Day 70th anniversary: miscellany

‘VP Day 70th anniversary: Honest History miscellany’, Honest History, 16 August 2015 Anniversary Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan in 1945, commemorated as Victory in the Pacific Day. ABC News provided a comprehensive round-up. Geraldine Doogue

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Comment on Salahi Sonyel’s 1989 Ataturk biography

David Stephens ‘Comments on Salahi Sonyel’s 1989 Ataturk biography’, Honest History, 14 August 2015 Thank you to Turkish correspondents on Twitter for passing on details of the book by Salahi R. Sonyel, Ataturk: the Father of Modern Turkey, Turkish Historical

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Wilfred Burchett in Hiroshima: highlights reel

‘Wilfred Burchett in Hiroshima: highlights reel’, Honest History, 9 August 2015 Today is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. By the end of 1945 up to 80 000 people in Nagasaki had died

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Hiroshima-Nagasaki and Lone Pine: miscellany

‘Hiroshima-Nagasaki and Lone Pine: miscellany’, Honest History, 4 August 2015 Battle of Lone Pine (Battle of Kanlı Sırt), 6-10 August 1915 Bombing of Hiroshima, 6 August 1945 Bombing of Nagasaki, 9 August 1945 (Images warning) Update 12 August 2015: a

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Monash interpretive centre, Villers-Bretonneux (II)

David Stephens ‘Monash interpretive centre (Immersion II of II): Public Works Committee dips toe in water’, Honest History, 4 August 2015 We find it difficult to treat this project as anything other than a massively self-indulgent and boastful boondoggle*, replete

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And the children went: Hands on History at the War Memorial

David Stephens ‘”And the children went”: Hands on History at the Australian War Memorial in the school holidays’, Honest History, 4 August 2015 During the last school holidays, the Australian War Memorial ran some ‘Hands on History’ sessions for children.

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Coal miners during World War II

Barbara Carol Heaton* ‘A history of unrest and turmoil: coal miners during World War II’, Honest History, 4 August 2015 Controversy continues over the role of militant unions in Australia during World War II. While the sharpest focus has been

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Two Australians of the Year: highlights reel

‘Two Australians of the Year: highlights reel’, Honest History, 1 August 2015 Adam Goodes, AFL footballer and Indigenous activist, was Australian of the Year 2013. Rosie Batty, mother and domestic violence activist, was Australian of the Year 2014. Both have

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Toxic warfare: revisiting Agent Orange

Alison Broinowski ‘Toxic warfare: revisiting Agent Orange’, Honest History, 16 July 2015 Soon after the Australian War Memorial announced that three new histories of the wars in East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq (to 2014) are to be written in the

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Officially acceptable war history

Alison Broinowski ‘Officially acceptable war history’, Honest History, 11 July 2015 The government is soon to announce who will write the official history of Australia’s three latest military interventions in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs,

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Money, Monash and motive: analysing a project in France (I)

David Stephens ‘Money, Monash and motive: the Sir John Monash Centre, Villers-Bretonneux (Immersion I of II)’, Honest History, 7 July 2015 The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC) considered the Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre on 26 June and

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“Whose side are you on?” (II): Honest History Factsheet

‘”Whose side are you on?” (II): Honest History Factsheet’, Honest History, 27 June 2015 Some recent askers of the question ‘Whose side are they on?’ may not have been aware of the distinguished pedigree of these words or words very

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“Whose side are you on?”

Douglas Newton ‘”Whose side are you on?”‘ Honest History, 27 June 2015 Saluting the flag, New York 1942 (Wikimedia Commons/Marie Winn) ‘Again, I say, the issue for the ABC, our national broadcaster, is “whose side are you on?” Because all too

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Ethical journalism during the Anzac centenary

Sharon Mascall-Dare ‘All is not lost: the case for ethical journalism during the Anzac centenary’, Honest History, 18 June 2015 The following is an extract from a presentation at the Canakkale-Gallipoli Wars Conference held in Canakkale, Turkey, 21-24 May 2015.

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Urban myth or surfing history?

Pauline Curby ‘An urban myth or surfing history?’ Honest History, 17 June 2015 The Australian Dictionary of Biography is a marvellous resource, especially since it has been available online. Written by a wide range of authors, its entries sometimes require

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Magna Carta miscellany

‘Magna Carta miscellany’, Honest History, 9 June 2015 Update 8 July 2015: Malcolm Turnbull on Magna Carta and related issues. Update 15 June 2015: leader from the Guardian with the interesting title of ‘the magic of myth’. _________________________ Next Monday,

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Ataturk in the City of Hume, Victoria: Honest History Factsheet

‘Ataturk in the City of Hume, Victoria: Honest History Factsheet’, Honest History, 9 June 2015 Update 19 June 2015: media coverage in Hume Leader. _______________ Honest History’s research on the ‘Ataturk words’ of 1934 is here, summarised in a media

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Jeune Barbarine: sexual slavery and prostitution in Egypt circa 1914

Raden Dunbar ‘”Jeune Barbarine”: sexual slavery and prostitution in Egypt circa 1914′, Honest History, 9 June 2015 This photograph, ‘Jeune Barbarine’, is of a Berber girl from the Barbary Coast of North Africa. It was made in Egypt shortly before

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The ‘Great’ War

Richard Keys* ‘The “Great” War’, Honest History, 2 June 2015 Brendan Nelson shamefully described the Australian War Memorial as holding the soul of Australia. Julia Gillard said Gallipoli defined us as a nation. With the government spending millions on Anzac

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Militarism, fascism, Anzacism: Australian progress report 2015

David Stephens ‘Militarism, fascism, Anzacism: an Australian progress report 2015: speech to Solidarity Forum, University of Technology, Sydney, 9 May 2015’, Honest History, 23 May 2015 (For an associated speech.) I acknowledge the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, the

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Anzac and the militarisation of Australian society

David Stephens ‘Anzac and the militarisation of Australian society: Politics in the Pub, Glebe, 9 April 2015’, Honest History, 23 May 2015 (A video of the speech is on the Politics in the Pub website. Q&A. An associated speech.) I

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40 years on, reflections on the fall of Saigon: Honest History list

’40 years on, reflections on the fall of Saigon: Honest History list’, Honest History, 18 May 2015 STOP PRESS: 8.00pm, 19 May: Sam Bateman of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute asks whether the US knows what it is doing sending

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Australian military and Anzac

Don Gray* ‘The Australian military and Anzac’, Honest History, 17 May 2015 This article is intended as a supplement to the recent article by David Stephens, ‘Rebooting Anzac for the next century’. That timely article questions the hyperbole and jingoism

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China, the US and Australia: Honest History Factsheet

’18 months of China, the United States and Australia: Honest History Factsheet’, Honest History, 16 May 2015 (updated) UPDATE 22 June 2015: James Laurenceson and Hannah Bretherton discuss the ACRI poll (see below 3 June) and other aspects. ‘What does

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Budget 2015: Honest History Factsheet: centenary spending $551.8 million

Update 14 April 2016: plus another $A5 million from Suncorp. Total now $566.8 million. Update 11 January 2016: plus another $A10 million from a company whose world profits run at more than $US6 billion a year. Total now $561.8 million.

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Anzac Day talk at Crows Nest Uniting Church (Douglas Newton)

Douglas Newton ‘Anzac Day talk at Crows Nest Uniting Church, 26 April 2015, Honest History, 12 May 2015 (Note: this is one of two related speeches) 1. Respect The Great War was such a sprawling catastrophe that I am sure

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Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign Talk (Douglas Newton)

Douglas Newton ‘Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign Talk: Petersham Town Hall, 22 April 2015’, Honest History, 12 May 2015 (Note: one of two related speeches) 1. Respect At the outset I should say that I do not presume to tell anyone

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Honest History poet: Mary Gilmore

‘Honest History poet: Mary Gilmore, two wars, four poems’, Honest History, 12 May 2015 Mary Gilmore (born Cameron) was born in 1865, spent a few years in South America seeking utopia, married and had a child, was a friend of

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Anzac Day, Gallipoli and Great War: futurological retrospective

David Faber* ‘Anzac Day, Gallipoli and the Great War: a futurological retrospective’, Honest History, 7 May 2015 Why are we liable/to die for survival?/Why is our nation/fighting? Mick Hucknell, ‘Simply Red’, 2011 The end of the soldier is not, as

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Reconciliation, please, but don’t mention the war

David Reid* ‘Reconciliation, please, but don’t mention the war’, Honest History, 6 May 2015 I pen this as a descendant of a Scottish surgeon who came by ship to Terra Australis 195 years ago. His son, who arrived with him

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Anzac-ed out 2015

Willy Bach ‘Anzac-ed out 2015’, Honest History, 5 May 2015 As we know…. They shall grow not old, Lives cut short Terminated Denied parenthood Pleasure, creativity Reflection Grandchildren as we that are left grow old: Lamely, sullenly Prematurely Age shall

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Dawn, Emily Bay, Norfolk Island, Anzac Day 2015

Peter Stanley ‘Dawn, Emily Bay, Norfolk Island, Anzac Day 2015’, Honest History, 27 April 2015 What may be Australia’s first dawn service is held each Anzac Day at Emily Bay on Norfolk Island. (They may get up as early on

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Tracking Ataturk: Honest History research note

Tracking Ataturk: Honest History research note Introduction Myths often take the place of history, particularly when stories are complex, facts are lacking, and audiences need comfort. This outcome seems to have occurred, and these factors been at play, in the

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Anzac commemoration spending around $500 million – and rising: Factsheet

Update 7 May 2015: local spinoff in latest spend? (updated; later update estimating spend at $551.8 million) Minister Ronaldson (lifetime resident of Ballarat) has announced that $8.8 million of the additional $35.5 million (below) will go towards ceremonies including ‘major

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Gallipoli: a necessary mythology?

Bill Edgar ‘Gallipoli: a necessary mythology?’ Honest History, 13 April 2015 Some years ago a group of history students were discussing the proposition of a group of psychologists that it is an emotional imperative for individuals to ally themselves with

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Women’s power to stop war

Margaret Bearlin in association with Cynthia James and Mary Ziesak ‘Women’s power to stop war: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1915 to 2015’, Honest History, 14 April 2015 2015 marks not only the centenary of Anzac; it is

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Anzac’s wars: remembering and its resistances

Judy Hemming & Michael McKinley ‘Anzac’s wars: remembering and its resistances’, Honest History, 10 April 2015 A prefatory comment This paper speaks of the regional responses by Australia and New Zealand to certain major wars. This does not imply that

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Conflict endemic to the human condition?

John A. Moses ‘Conflict endemic to the human condition? A note’, Honest History, 8 April 2015 The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c. 535-475 BC) commented on war as follows: ‘We must know that war is common to all, and strife

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History curriculum uncertainty: Honest History factsheet

Education ministers (Commonwealth, state and territory) met over the telephone early last month as the Education Council. The outcome was somewhat opaque. It appeared in a media release from Commonwealth Minister Pyne, where the only reference to history as a

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ANZUS minus NZ, again?

‘ANZUS minus NZ, again?’ Honest History, 26 March 2015 Alison Broinowski keeps up with Trans-Tasman manoeuvres Tony Abbott’s visit to New Zealand on 26 February was carefully coordinated with John Key’s announcement of a Kiwi military deployment to Iraq (see

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Our national cathedral?

‘Our national cathedral?’ Honest History, 15 March 2015 Sarah Brasch* attends the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial Unlike Washington DC, Canberra does not have a National Cathedral. But since 17 April 2013 our capital has had something

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Anzac Christmas at St Paul’s

Steve Dyer ‘Anzac Christmas at St Paul’s, Melbourne’, Honest History, 3 March 2015 Just before Christmas last year, in the entrance to St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne, there sat a nativity scene by artist Jan McLellan Rizzo. It was

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Military-industrial complex has suburban reach: Honest History Factsheet

Update 20 June 2016: Canadian example of how an arms manufacturer manipulates the local employment angle. __________________ Since the days of muskets and Gatling guns Australian forces have used weapons built somewhere else. In the modern era, being locked into

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Why does Honest History review movies and TV shows?

David Stephens ‘Why does Honest History review movies and TV shows?’ Honest History, 3 March 2015 Regular browsers of our site will know we are offering reviews of movies and television shows that have a war theme. Last year we

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Anzackery: a personal view

David Reid* ‘Anzackery: a personal view’, Honest History, 3 February 2015 The author came to Honest History’s attention when he wrote on Twitter that Anzackery ‘filled today’s military platoons’. We asked him to write for us at greater length. HH

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Religion and the sacred after Martin Place

Doug Hynd ‘“Religion” and “the sacred”: a note for historians following the Martin Place siege’, Honest History, 18 January 2015 In a recent column in the Fairfax press, Crispin Hull made some comments on religion and violence in the light

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A fundamentally silly film: another perspective on The Water Diviner

‘A fundamentally silly film: another perspective on The Water Diviner’, Honest History, 13 January 2015 Honest History President, Peter Stanley, reviews Russell Crowe’s film, The Water Diviner. Other material on the film, including links to other reviews. See also our

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Back to Gelibolu: The Water Diviner reviewed

‘Back to Gelibolu’, Honest History, 22 December 2014 Honest History committee member Alison Broinowski reviews The Water Diviner, opening in theatres on Boxing Day ‘Gallipoli!’ demands Joshua Connor of a Turkish immigration clerk. ‘I want to go to Gallipoli!’ It

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Honest History dialogue: thoughts provoked by an epitaph

‘Honest History dialogue: thoughts provoked by an epitaph’, Honest History, 21 December 2014 Our monthly Honest History e-newsletters include Whizzbangs, miscellaneous thought-provoking paragraphs, sometimes with a connection to events of the day. A Whizzbang in our 2 December newsletter ran

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Keneally’s Australians Volume 3 reviewed

‘Australians: Flappers to Vietnam reviewed’, Honest History, 18 December 2014 David Stephens reviews Thomas Keneally’s Australians: Flappers to Vietnam, the third volume in the author’s history of Australia. See Volume 1 and Volume 2. This is a fascinating but flawed

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Who are the liars? Response to Colebatch

Peter Stanley ‘”Who are the liars?” A response to Hal Colebatch’s Australia’s Secret War’, Honest History, 17 December 2014 Hal Colebatch asks in Quadrant Online, ‘So, Professor Stanley, Who Are the Liars?’ Er, no one, I answer. Who says that

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First Peoples, Frontier Wars and the Queen’s uniform

This post brings together under a new heading and then updates a collection of material that we began at NAIDOC Week in July 2014. (There were some technical issues with updating the original post, anyway.) The post enables us to

Internationalism in early 20th century Australia

Aden Knaap ‘Family matters: internationalism in early 20th century Australia’, Honest History, 2 December 2014 In mid-November this year Tony Abbott convened a Joint Sitting of Federal Parliament to welcome British Prime Minister David Cameron to Australia. The Australian Prime

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Remembrance duet

David Faber and Robert Henry ‘Remembrance duet’, Honest History, 2 December 2014 ‘The Dardanelles cenotaph: our unknown war memorial’ by David Faber © A war memorial stands unobtrusively in Adelaide’s South Parklands. Life flows quietly around this cenotaph and little attention

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History is about maps

‘History is about maps’, Honest History, 2 December 2014 Steve Flora reviews Maps: their Untold Stories: Map Treasures from the National Archives, edited by Rose Mitchell and Andrew Janes, and notes some other recent cartographical arrivals It used to be

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Do spiffing war yarns persist?

David Stephens ‘Empire sun has set but do spiffing war yarns persist?’ Honest History, 2 December 2014 Some talk of Alexander And some of Hercules Of Hector and Lysander And such great names as these. But of all the world’s

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Does the banker still hold all the cards?

David Stephens ‘Does the banker still hold all the cards?’ Honest History, 24 November 2014 In the 1950s the then Bank of New South Wales, now Westpac, produced pamphlets on historical subjects for primary school children. On the back of

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Wounded and damaged soldiers then and now: Honest History Factsheet

This small collection highlights the trauma that is associated with all wars in all eras in all countries. It was provoked by an article in The Independent highlighting the photographs made by Bryan Adams of wounded British soldiers from Afghanistan.

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Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program: Honest History Factsheet No. 4

Minister Ronaldson’s media release of 24 October (as revised) included these key points: $2.46 million in new funding relating to 275 approved applications; total of 606 applications from 123 electorates approved so far; $5.8 million ‘made available to date’. Analysis

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Does arms spending lead to war?

David Stephens ‘Does arms spending lead to war?’ Honest History, 4 November 2014 The concepts of Australian defence spending as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and as a proportion of total expenditure are both well-known. The former particularly

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Honest History: possible, desirable, necessary?

Peter Stanley ‘Honest History: possible, desirable, necessary? Eldershaw Memorial Lecture to Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Hobart, 12 August 2014’, Honest History, 4 November 2014 Good evening ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends, and especially members of Peter Eldershaw’s family. I thank

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Blogging the Great War from Gippsland

Phil Cashen ‘Blogging the Great War from Gippsland’, Honest History, 4 November 2014 The genesis for the blog, Shireatwar.com, came from family history. My wife’s family came from the Shire of Alberton in Gippsland. They were dairy farmers. In World

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Donnelly-Wiltshire fire a salvo – but will Minister Pyne follow up?

Stephens, David ‘Donnelly-Wiltshire gunners fire a civilised salvo – but will Minister Pyne follow up?’ Honest History, 15 October 2014 and updated If history was as predictable as the history curriculum recommendations of the Donnelly-Wiltshire report we would have no

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That faraway experience: family history and the Western Front

Reid, Richard ‘That faraway experience: some thoughts on family history and the Western Front’, Honest History, 7 October 2014 I had an uncle, John Holmes Wherry, my mother’s eldest brother in a family of six, who fought on the Western

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Douglas Berneville-Claye: unlikely leftist

Holt, Stephen ‘An unlikely leftist: Douglas Berneville-Claye’, Honest History, 7 October 2014 Domestic opposition to Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s was a potent force. The opposition was a mass movement which attracted idiosyncratic

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Is Gallipoli burning?

Stanley, Peter ‘Is Gallipoli burning?’ Honest History, 2 October 2014 Late in the Turkish summer of 1915 Lieutenant Humphrey Gell of the 89th Punjabis, the signals officer with 29th Indian Infantry Brigade headquarters, was told to destroy some used message

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PM and President: the usual channels

Following are some statements by Prime Minister Abbott and then President George W. Bush, announcing action against terror groups and ‘jihadists’. ‘Regrettably, around the world and in this country itself, there are people who would do us harm. There are

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Anzac centenary sensitivity

Sometimes news items pass you by then return with renewed vigour. Such was the case for Honest History with the Battle of Bita Paka in September 1914, recently commemorated. Bita Paka, in the then German New Guinea, was ‘little more

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With respect to John Burton

Edwards, Clive T. ‘With respect to John Burton’, Honest History, 10 September 2014 Rob Foot’s article (‘The curious case of Dr John Burton’, Quadrant, November 2013) denigrates the character and contribution of John Burton by reference to incidents that were

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Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program: Honest History Factsheet No. 3

Minister Ronaldson’s media release of 1 September included these key points: $975 000 in new funding approved; total of 331 applications from 72 electorates approved so far, worth $3.34 million; more than 1700 applications received. Speaking in the Senate the

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The children suffer

David Stephens ‘The children suffer’, Honest History, 11 August 2014 Osbert Sitwell’s The Next War, published in 1918, depicts some plutocrats deciding what would be an appropriate war memorial. The senior plutocrat puts a suggestion which his colleagues eagerly take

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Retracing Kokoda: in defence of historical revisionism

Anthony Cooper ‘Retracing Kokoda: in defence of historical revisionism’, Honest History, 4 August 2014 Somehow, ‘revisionism’ in military history has been turned by some people into a dirty word. Since when did the self-evidently rational process of ‘revising’ or ‘reviewing’

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On being an independent scholar

Pamela Burton ‘On being an independent scholar’, Honest History, 25 July 2014 When Honest History asked me what it was like being an independent scholar, my first reaction was ‘lonely, sometimes frustrating, and very rewarding’. Traditionally, independent scholars are not

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Anzac Day Reflections

Reflections on an Anzac Day service Doug Hynd* The first Anzac Day of the millennium saw me make the substantial sacrifice of the several hours sleep required if I was to get up in time for the Dawn Service in

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Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program: Honest History Factsheet No. 2

Minister Ronaldson’s media release of 19 June included these key points: $2 369 023 million in funding approved; 212 projects from 52 electorates approved so far; more than 1650 applications received, some from each of the 150 electorates. The Minister’s

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Stephens, David: Conservative commemoration

Stephens, David ‘Anzac Centenary Local Grants: conservative commemoration’, Honest History, 30 June 2014 This note comments on the statistics set out in Honest History Factsheet No. 2 on the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program. Ken Inglis says in his book

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Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program: Honest History Factsheet No. 1

Honest History has been interested in the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program (ACLGP) since it commenced. We will update this Factsheet as often as we can. Program The ACLGP provides up to $125 000 for approved projects in each of

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Teaching children about war

Update 9 June 2015: Simpson Prize and Audacity The Simpson Prize question for 2016 continues the welcome recent trend to ask proper history questions of Year 9 and 10 students but the nomination of the war-sanitising Audacity for a Children’s

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Stephens, David: Prime ministerial exits: an interview with Norman Abjorensen

Stephens, David ‘Prime ministerial exits: an interview with Norman Abjorensen’, Honest History, 24 February 2014 (updated) Norman Abjorensen is a Visiting Fellow in the Policy and Governance Program in the Crawford School at the Australian National University. He is a

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War literature

Click here for all items related to: War literature The experiences and emotions associated with war have always inspired poetry, prose and literary musings. We begin with the literature of World War I, but welcome discussion on all artistic response

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Honest History: History in secondary schools Part I: Honest History Factsheet

  History in secondary schools Part I: Honest History Factsheet, Honest History, 8 November 2013 In this article we have matched sections of Australian Curriculum History Year 9 against sections of the Honest History website which is to be launched

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Broinowski, Alison: Streaker’s defence: history and war powers

  The streaker’s defence: history and the war powers Alison Broinowski It takes a particular kind of courage for people in public life to admit that they got something wrong, even after their error is publicly obvious. All three leaders

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Fractured nation

‘During World War 1 Australia lost its way. Its enmeshment in the European war fractured the nation’s soul.’ Marilyn Lake In the year 1913 Canberra was born as our national capital on the very eve – as we now know

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Honest History: The national history curriculum and the Coalition

The national history curriculum and the coalition: Honest History Factsheet Prime Minister Paul Keating said that when you change the government, you change the country. Do you change the curriculum as well? This article brings together some sources that may

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Anzac, Vimy Ridge, Monash and the education of children

Chris Watters* Towards the end of the 20th century there was an increase in claims that battles fought in World War I defined national identity in Australia and Canada. These claims sounded similar, despite the differences in history between the

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Tangled up in red, white and blue

David Stephens* ‘Tangled up in red, white and blue’, Honest History e-Newsletter no. 5, September 2013 War remembrance and days of commemoration bring out extremes of rhetoric, little gems of hyperbole that even the speaker might reconsider had they given

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Gallipoli – 98 years on

Gallipoli – 98 years on: Professor Peter Stanley’s speech to Gallipoli Memorial Club symposium, 7 August 2013 (posted to site, 28 October 2013) Peter Stanley On 7 August (the anniversary of the August offensive on Gallipoli) the Gallipoli Memorial Club

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Constitution Day: an old Queen and a new nation

Michael Piggott and David Stephens* ‘Constitution Day: an old Queen and a new nation’, Honest History Newsletter No. 4, August 2013 Of all the notable days in the Australian calendar Constitution Day, 9 July, is the least known but one

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