Curran, James & Stuart Ward: Unknown Nation

Curran, James & Stuart Ward

The Unknown Nation: Australia after Empire, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic., 2010

The book considers Australia’s search for national identity as ‘the receding ties of empire and Britishness posed an unprecedented dilemma as Australians lost their traditional ways of defining themselves as a people’.

The task of remodelling the national image touched every aspect of Australian life where identifiably British ideas, habits and symbols – from foreign relations to the national anthem – had grown obsolete. But how to celebrate Australia’s past achievements and present aspirations became a source of public controversy as community leaders struggled to find the appropriate language and rhetoric to invoke a new era. (blurb)

The book is reviewed by Bongiorno and Blainey and Waters. Curran made a speech in 2004 about Australian national identity, including the genesis of the term ‘Anzackery’; his interpretation has been disputed.

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