Broadcaster Genevieve Jacobs – a great friend of Honest History – reluctantly leaves ABC Canberra

Honest History notes with sadness the departure of presenter Genevieve Jacobs from the ABC’s Canberra bureau. Genevieve worked closely with Honest History to present a regular fortnightly ‘Honest History spot’ on ABC Canberra Local Radio 666. This spot ran for three years and gave a platform to around 50 historians, established and early career, from Canberra and all around Australia, to talk about their work.

Genevieve also gave a great speech at Wallendbeen (in her home district) to mark Anzac Day 2014 and we were pleased to reprint it.

I think, in fact, the greatest act of patriotism we can undertake [she said in the speech] is to keep watch on where we are going as a nation, not to betray ourselves and the memory of our fallen soldiers with cheap jingoism and easy commercialisation.

There is so much that is decent and honourable and proud and good about this great Anzac tradition of ours. It is knitted into all our hearts as we stand here in Wallendbeen, as people are standing at war memorials in communities big and small all round Australia without fanfare, without drama, many of us with our private memories and our private grief.

And perhaps we need to pause sometimes for less fanfare – and more silence. For less noise and more space. For the small and quiet moments of reflection about the price we all pay and what it is for.

Genevieve doesn’t want to leave the ABC and we don’t reckon she should either. She was not afraid to ask difficult questions and take the fight to people and institutions who deserved to be confronted. We will keep in touch with her and we wish her well.

Genevieve’s final broadcast is on 15 December. The famous aphorism attributed to HL Mencken comes to mind as a farewell blast: ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’.

David Stephens

6 December 2017

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