Our news pages

Here you will find general news items, Honest History making news, advice of forthcoming events relevant to Honest History or of general interest to Honest History supporters, Centenary Watch (monitoring events associated with the centenary of World War I) and

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Minister Keogh provides details on how to lodge Expression of Interest in War Memorial Council

Minister Keogh has provided details of how to lodge an Expression of Interest in becoming a member of the governing Council of the Australian War Memorial. Application material is rather buried on the standard Department of Veterans’ Affairs website. Scroll down

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Waterford, Jack: Our glorious tradition of being not very good at fighting wars

Jack Waterford ‘Our glorious tradition of being not very good at fighting wars‘, Canberra Times, 26 January 2024; pdf from our subscription; also in Pearls and Irritations (no paywall). Update 29 January 2024: two articles taking a wide view of Australia

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Honest History website: ten years on and we are winding back a bit

The Honest History website has been running now for ten years. Author and journalist Paul Daley well and truly launched us at Manning Clark House in Canberra in November 2013 and he has been a great supporter ever since –

Opinion piece in Sydney Morning Herald: Stokes’ Seven West Media has fallen into a dark hollow

We haven’t tried to keep up with the fag end of the Ben Roberts-Smith defamation trial, apart from noting that there will be an appeal. There’s an online file where you can keep track of it. We couldn’t help noticing,

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Defending Country website launches to keep the War Memorial honest about Frontier Wars

This media release has gone out today. It advises of the launch of our associate website defendingcountry.au. Honest History’s long time interest in the War Memorial and the Frontier Wars will continue on the new site. *** 15 November 2023

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Thirty years on since interment of the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial

This event was reported in the media and the video (part at the time and part interviews 2022-23) featured on YouTube. Prime Minister Keating made a memorable speech at the time. Honest History notes the important role played by the

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Stephens, David: Remembrance Day mysteries at the War Memorial: answers to Senate Questions on Notice

David Stephens* ‘Remembrance Day mysteries at the War Memorial: answers to Senate Questions on Notice’, Honest History, 11 November 2023 updated Accountability via Senate Estimates Committees is a slow process. The difficult or embarrassing questions often get ‘taken on notice’,

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Stephens, David: Nine embarrassing minutes: the Australian War Memorial at Senate Estimates

David Stephens* ‘Nine embarrassing minutes: the Australian War Memorial at Senate Estimates’, Honest History, 5 November 2023 updated When the government changed it looked, just for a moment, as if some of our less accountable institutions, like the Australian War

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Stephens, David: After the Voice: Kim Beazley’s opportunity to give Truth-telling a big boost at the War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘After the Voice: Kim Beazley’s opportunity to give Truth-telling a big boost at the War Memorial’, Honest History, 19 October 2023 updated Update 23 October 2023: a version of this piece appeared on Pearls and Irritations. *** Michelle

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From the Honest History vault: Australian War Memorial has a role in Truth-telling about Frontier Wars

Fourteen months ago, we posted this below (originally in Pearls and Irritations) on the need for the War Memorial to step up and do a proper job on the Australian Frontier Wars. Since then, the Memorial’s stepping has been forward,

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From the Honest History vault: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (a review)

We first posted this in 2018 and have re-run it a couple of times since. Again, it seems apposite in the week before the Voice vote, when whitefeller attitudes to blackfellers (and vice versa) seem to be front and centre.

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From the Honest History vault: Frontier Wars arguments were clear in 2014 – and long before that

There’s a repost below of something that first appeared on the Honest History site more than nine years ago (Updates July-November 2014) during NAIDOC Week 2014. It shows Honest History’s early engagement with the need to properly remember the Australian

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Stephens, David: Frontier Wars retreat at the Australian War Memorial: September 2022-September 2023

David Stephens* ‘Frontier Wars retreat at the Australian War Memorial: September 2022-September 2023’, Honest History, 27 September 2023 updated Friday this week, 29 September, is the first anniversary of a remark by the then Chair of the Australian War Memorial

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From the Honest History vault: how far from the tree does Murdoch fruit fall?

We first posted this in 2016 and have reposted it since but it is very apt again, speaking as it does to how characteristics are nurtured and passed on, mentors and governments brown-nosed and seduced – and sometimes perhaps controlled

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War Memorial dithers and dissembles its way to a definitive position on Ben Roberts-Smith – or does it?

Media reports late last week (ABC; Canberra Times; Guardian Australia) noted that the Australian War Memorial has added a carefully-worded, not to say mealy-mouthed, explanatory panel next to some exhibits on Ben Roberts-Smith VC. It has also removed from display

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Book note: Time to Listen: an Indigenous Voice to Parliament by Melissa Castan and Lynette Russell

This thin (96 pp) but very useful book is notable for three things: ease of reading; reminding us that WEH Stanner’s famous ‘great Australian silence’ was not just accidental but deliberate; more importantly, stressing that the point of having a

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‘History is calling’: add your name to the historians’ open letter supporting the Uluru Statement and the Voice

This has been received from the University of New South Wales Indigenous Law Centre over the signatures of Professor Megan Davis, Aunty Pat Anderson AO and Professor Clare Wright OAM. We pass it on with our full support. HH ***

Destroying ‘our most sacred place’: recent pictures of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

The $550m (and counting) redevelopment project at the Australian War Memorial is unstoppable, regardless of how ill-advised and unnecessary it has always been and how much opposition it has generated. That history has been chronicled. The main question now is

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What First Nations people said about invasion, the Frontier Wars and sovereignty: extracts from the Referendum Council report 2017

What First Nations people said about invasion, the Frontier Wars and sovereignty: extracts from the Referendum Council report 2017 Recent controversy about what was or was not included in the Uluru Statement somewhat missed an important point: the strength and

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Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.: Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 5 in a series

Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.[1] ‘Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 5 in a series’, Honest History, 23 August 2023 updated The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an

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Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.: Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 4 in a series

Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.[1] ‘Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 4 in a series’, Honest History, 20 August 2023 updated The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an

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Game changer: defence industry ‘revolving door’ database to be created

Long-time journalist and peace campaigner Michelle Fahy has been awarded a $60 000 grant from the Jan de Voogd Peace Fund to build a database of the notorious revolving door between government and the arms industry in Australia. More on

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Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.: Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 3 in a series

Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.[1] ‘Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 3 in a series’, Honest History, 16 August 2023 updated The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an

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Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.: Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 2 in a series

Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.[1] ‘Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 2 in a series’, Honest History, 13 August 2023 updated The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an

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Stephens, David: Three important markers on the way to a New Australia – maybe

David Stephens* ‘Three important markers on the way to a New Australia – maybe’, Honest History, 11 August 2023 All of the many voices on and around the Voice need to be listened to, some with more respect than others,

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Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.: Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 1 in a series

Defending Country Memorial Project Inc.[1] ‘Time to be honest about the Australian Frontier Wars: No. 1 in a series’, Honest History, 9 August 2023 updated The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an

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War and peace and maybe a future: early August round-up

Bullwinkel A huge statue of Matron Vivian Bullwinkel, survivor of the Bangka island massacre and formidable post-war presence, was unveiled in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial. The main theme of reports, like this one, was that the statue

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Stephens, David: Making the best of the Ben Roberts-Smith fiasco

David Stephens* ‘Making the best of the Ben Roberts-Smith fiasco‘, Pearls and Irritations, 2 August 2023 updated There may be an upside to the Ben Roberts-Smith case. Not for the family of Ali Jan or the people of Afghanistan. Not

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Hurren, Steven: James Brack MC

Steven Hurren ‘James Brack MC‘, Honest History, 21 July 2023 James Brack of the 47th Battalion, AIF, received the Military Cross in March 1918 for service in France. He died in 1979 at the age of 90. During and after

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Stephens, David: What happens if the War Memorial Council goes in 13 different directions?

David Stephens* ‘What happens if the War Memorial Council goes in 13 different directions?’, Honest History, 20 July 2023 updated Honest History recently received an unsigned letter from the Hon. Kim Beazley AC, Chair of the Council of the Australian

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Wareham, Sue: Australian War Memorial must better educate kids on seriousness of war

Sue Wareham ‘Australian War Memorial must better educate kids on seriousness of war‘, Canberra Times, 15 July 2023 updated; pdf from our subscription Update 24 July 2023: Richard Llewellyn, ex War Memorial staff, writes in Pearls and Irritations: So often

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War Memorial Council Chair Kim Beazley explains how the Council works

Recently, it became clear that there were differences of view on the Council of the Australian War Memorial about how the Memorial should in future recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars. The letter below to Council Chair Kim Beazley

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Stephens, David: Frontier Wars: fig leaf and credibility gap at the Australian War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Frontier Wars: fig leaf and credibility gap at the Australian War Memorial, Honest History, 10 July 2023 updated Update 19 July 2023: Peter Stanley in Pearls and Irritations (‘The Native Mounted Police: extermination on the Australian frontier’) asks

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Stephens, David: Dam Busters and ‘Anzackery’ at the War Memorial

David Stephens ‘Dam Busters and “Anzackery” at the War Memorial‘, Pearls and Irritations, 6 July 2023 updated The old phrase ‘once more with feeling’ could apply to much of what the Australian War Memorial does. Or perhaps not 80 years

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Turnbull, Noel: How were Indigenous warriors who did wear ‘the uniform’ treated?

Noel Turnbull ‘How were Indigenous warriors who did wear “the uniform” treated?‘, Pearls and Irritations, 25 June 2023 Riffs off the outburst of RSL National President, MAJ GEN Greg Melick, that only those Indigenous soldiers who wore the King’s or

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Quarterly Essay 90: Voice of Reason – On Recognition and Renewal, by Megan Davis: Book Note

Update 11 July 2023: Professor Davis with Professor Mark Kenny of the ANU on an Australia Institute Webinar. Update 26 June 2023: Professor Davis on Australian Story on the ABC, including transcript. *** Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous

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Stephens, David: ‘Alice in Wonderland’: dissembling and dithering in Senate Estimates

David Stephens* ‘”Alice in Wonderland’: dissembling and dithering in Senate Estimates’, Honest History, 16 June 2023 updated Update 9 July 2023: See below under ‘And there’s this …’ for our follow-up on one of the War Memorial’s claims. *** Senate

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Audit Office to look into aspects of the War Memorial’s Big Build

Update 10 June 2023: ‘Audit is now open for contribution, with contribution expected to remain open until 1 October 2023’.  Please look closely at the Audit criteria (see below) and address them. This is not the place for a generalised

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Stephens, David: And another thing: yet more on Ben Roberts-Smith

David Stephens* ‘And another thing: yet more on Ben Roberts-Smith’, Honest History, 6 June 2023 updated 18 August 2023: Stokes/Seven resisting respondents’ access to emails. ‘As part of its application for a third-party costs order, Nine is seeking to show

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Evans, Steve: Huge Australian War Memorial building project delays fuel doubt

Steve Evans ‘Huge Australian War Memorial building project delays fuel doubt‘, Canberra Times, 26 May 2023; pdf from our subscription Notes the massive reduction in equity injection from government to the Memorial in this year’s Budget compared with the Forward

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Carroll Harris, Lauren: The Iraq War gallery

Lauren Carroll Harris ‘The Iraq War gallery’, The Saturday Paper, 20-26 May 2023; pdf from our subscription In-depth review of the proposed Iraq War section of the new, bigger, Australian War Memorial. Includes revealing quotes from a Memorial creator and

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Stephens, David: Pearls and Irritations nails it again and again: recent food for thought (but it’s not like the Main Stream Media)

David Stephens* ‘Pearls and Irritations nails it again and again: recent food for thought (but it’s not like the Main Stream Media)’, Honest History, 19 May 2023 updated Update later this day: Speaking of … there’s a nice piece in

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The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien: Book Note

Update 1 August 2023: Eight retired judges support the Yes case, led by Mary Gaudron, former High Court judge: [W]e confidently believe that, by raising the quality of our public debate, the proposed Voice will both enrich our democracy and

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Closing the Frontier Wars Credibility Gap at the War Memorial: Honest History’s David Stephens talks to 3CR’s Jan Bartlett

David Stephens sat down with 3CR Community Radio’s Jan Bartlett and their 30 minute chat was broadcast on 3CR’s Tuesday Hometime on 2 May. Start from about mark 32.40. Runs for about ten minutes. (Earlier part of the broadcast from

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Stephens, David: Is this ‘substantial’? War Memorial finds another two square metres for the Frontier Wars (and four other Pre-1914 conflicts)

David Stephens* ‘Is this “substantial”? War Memorial finds another two square metres for the Frontier Wars (and four other Pre-1914 conflicts)’, Honest History, 5 May 2023 For some time now, Australian War Memorial Council Chair, Kim Beazley, has been making

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Smith, Aaron: Calls grow for Australia’s frontier wars to be remembered on Anzac Day

Aaron Smith ‘Calls grow for Australia’s frontier wars to be remembered on Anzac Day‘, Guardian Australia, 25 April 2023 updated Update 26 April 2023: Anzac Day and the Frontier Wars discussed in other articles: ‘Should Frontier War heroes like Windradyne

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Stanley, Peter: Anzac Day reflects changing face of the nation

Peter Stanley ‘Anzac Day reflects changing face of the nation‘, The Australian, 24 April 2023 (pdf from our subscription – excluding comments) Historian and Heritage Guardian Peter Stanley ranges widely over the significance of Anzac Day, referring to early Anzac

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Holbrook, Carolyn, Frank Bongiorno & Michelle Arrow: The Australian War Memorial must deal properly with the frontier wars

Carolyn Holbrook, Frank Bongiorno & Michelle Arrow, ‘The Australian War Memorial must deal properly with the frontier wars‘, The Conversation, 24 April 2023 The authors note the recent efforts of War Memorial Council Chair, Kim Beazley, and the resistance provoked.

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Honest History submission to Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum

We sent this yesterday. There is still time to make a submission. JSCVR Enshrining the Voice in the Constitution is the prerequisite to Closing the Gaps in so many areas of Australian society today, including the Commemoration Gap, where we

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Stephens, David: Australian Frontier Wars: credibility gap at the Australian War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Australian Frontier Wars: credibility gap at the Australian War Memorial‘, Pearls & Irritations, 17 April 2023 This piece summarises the arguments the author, Peter Stanley and Noel Turnbull recently put in two articles on the Honest History site.

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Medals and meltdowns – and gunrunners getting an inside track: non-MSM news roundup

Noel Turnbull, Vietnam veteran and fellow traveller with Honest History, has posted this piece on his blog. It’s about the medals being given to Vietnam veterans and their families on the 50th anniversary of Australia’s departure from that war. Turnbull

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War Memorial is overdue answering a Senator’s question about the Frontier Wars – and 21 other questions

Questions on Notice put to Senate Estimates Committees are an overlooked source of information – provided they are eventually answered. Here below is one such question, currently unanswered and overdue for providing to the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade

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Stephens, David: Movement at the Memorial: recent remarks from Chair Kim Beazley hold promise of change – but more needed

David Stephens* ‘Movement at the Memorial: remarks from Chair Kim Beazley hold promise of change – but more needed’, Honest History, 10 April 2023 updated (pdfs from our Canberra Times subscription: page 1 article, page 2 article, editorial) Update 15

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War Memorial Big Build is still on Audit Office’s draft work program: have your say

For the third year in a row, the management of the $550m redevelopment project at the Australian War Memorial is on the draft work program of the Australian National Audit Office as a potential performance audit. The ANAO is asking

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Credibility gap at the War Memorial: Frontier Wars initiative lagging (Media release)

5 April 2023 Credibility gap at the War Memorial: Frontier Wars initiative lagging There is a credibility chasm between the willingness of Australian War Memorial Chair, Kim Beazley, to properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars and, on the

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Stephens, David, Peter Stanley & Noel Turnbull: An Action Plan for Australian Frontier Wars recognition and commemoration (continued)

David Stephens[1] Peter Stanley[2] Noel Turnbull[3] ‘An Action Plan for Australian Frontier Wars recognition and commemoration (continued)’, Honest History, 3 April 2023 updated This article covers ACTIONS 3, 4 and 5 in a proposed Action Plan. Our earlier article covered

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Government announces more money for National Library’s Trove service – but more needed for NLA and other national cultural institutions

Finance Minister Gallagher has announced $33m of extra funding for the National Library’s highly valued and much used Trove service. Further pre-Budget announcements are expected affecting the cultural institutions. For earlier stories covering the range of needs of national cultural

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Stephens, David, Peter Stanley & Noel Turnbull: Voice, Treaty, Truth: an Action Plan for Australian Frontier Wars recognition and commemoration

Update 1 December 2023: An updated, shorter version of the Action Plan is now available on the Defending Country website. The earlier version is retained below for the record. HH. *** David Stephens[1] Peter Stanley[2] Noel Turnbull[3] ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth:

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Paul and Eslanda Robeson visit to Australia, 1960: author Ann Curthoys seeks information

[This request has come to us through Labour History sources in Melbourne. HH supports it] Ann Curthoys is writing a book on Paul Robeson and Eslanda Robeson’s visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1960. She would love to hear

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From the Honest History vault: It’s not just about the submarines; AUKUS fundamentally threatens Australian independence

In October 2021, we posted a piece on Honest History decrying the focus on the submarine part of the AUKUS story. That was when the Morrison government (remember them?) was still in power. (We had another look at the issue

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Stephens, David: Australian War Memorial $550 million redevelopment: Memorial provides some important clarifications and corrections

David Stephens* ‘Australian War Memorial $550 million redevelopment: Memorial provides some important clarifications and corrections’, Honest History, 17 March 2023 updated Update 5 June 2023: War Memorial answer to Question on Notice from Senator Shoebridge confirms that wrong information was

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Emerita Professor Diane Bell wins Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship

Congratulations to eminent anthropologist and author, Diane Bell, who has been awarded the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship at Adelaide Writers Week. Details below. Professor Bell has written a number of times for Honest History (use our Search engine). 9 March

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Stephens, David: Another skirmish of attrition in Senate Estimates

David Stephens* ‘Another skirmish of attrition in Senate Estimates’, Honest History, 23 February 2023 Honest History watched this live on 15 February for the War Memorial’s appearance. We glanced at the video (from 20.07). Nothing leapt out from either medium.

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Australian War Memorial to stay in Defence/Veterans Affairs portfolio

Honest History had put in a submission to the National Cultural Policy review, arguing that the Australian War Memorial should be moved to the Arts portfolio, from the Defence/Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. It had been located there for nearly 40 years

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Latest on arms company money going to War Memorial: small change for them but how much influence does it deliver?

Update 15 February 2023: Chris Knaus in Guardian Australia on the facts below. *** Last November, Greens Senator Shoebridge asked Australian War Memorial Director Anderson in Senate Estimates (page 38 of the Hansard pdf) for up-to-date information on the amount

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Save TROVE at the National Library: sign the petition!

TROVE is an essential resource that risks extinction without adequate funding. Here’s a petition to Parliament that has already received over 11 000 signatures. Please sign. Two weeks to go. Petition Reason Trove is an online archive that provides access

Stephens, David: Kim Beazley, Chair of War Memorial Council, makes welcome progress towards proper recognition of Frontier Wars – but now needs to drag others along, too

David Stephens* ‘Kim Beazley, Chair of War Memorial Council, makes welcome progress towards proper recognition of Frontier Wars – but now needs to drag others along, too’, Honest History, 7 February 2023 updated Update 22 June 2023: Earlier this month,

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National Cultural Policy documents: strong emphasis on First Nations

PM’s speech. Statement from PM and Minister Burke. The full policy. Commentary (and others linked from there). I would ask the arts community to join with me in urging us to take forward those steps together later this year by

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From the Honest History vault: The Holocaust exhibition at the Australian War Memorial

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day. Not many Australians know that the Australian War Memorial has had since 2016 a permanent exhibition* commemorating the Holocaust, with particular emphasis on that horrific event’s Australian survivors. It was to the great credit of

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Carlson, Bronwyn: ‘Change the date’ debates about January 26 distract from the truth telling Australia needs to do

Bronwyn Carlson ‘“Change the date” debates about January 26 distract from the truth telling Australia needs to do‘, The Conversation, 26 January 2023 updated As every year for many years, 26 January generated debates this year, made more significant by

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Cranes over Campbell: recent photographs of the redevelopment at the Australian War Memorial (‘our most sacred place’)

The redevelopment at the Australian War Memorial is costing $548 million (and counting). Here are some photographs taken by our photographer in the last few days. The statue in the first photo is of Sir John Monash. The quote is

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Cultural policy – an idea for the PM and Minister Burke: look at the structure of government

There was media last week noting the PM’s comments on cultural policy. “The national institutions have been starved of funds”, he said. “These are national assets that are a very important part about our fabric. And so, that is something

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The Wire: Australian War Memorial set to provide greater recognition of the Frontier Wars

The Wire ‘Australian War Memorial set to provide greater recognition of the Frontier Wars‘, The Wire, 20 January 2023 updated Update 24 February 2023: Important article by Bronwyn Carlson and Terri Farrelly in The Conversation: ‘Friday essay: “killed by Natives”.

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From the Honest History vault: late Senator Jim Molan’s final book reviewed by Richard Broinowski

Major General Senator Jim Molan has died after a long illness. Last year, Honest History published a review by Richard Broinowski of Senator Molan’s book, Danger on our Doorstep. ‘The impact of Jim Molan’s book’, Broinowski said, ‘will unfortunately be

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Seasons Greetings to all – and see you in 2023

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all other appropriate wishes for the time of year. The Honest History elves (one below) will be taking things quietly for a bit but we’ll have more to say in a month or so. David

Undue influence and the revolving door: Michelle Fahy tackles subjects the Main Stream Media leaves alone

Michelle Fahy has for years been an assiduous researcher and thoughtful writer on the arms industry and related topics. She has just made two notable contributions. The first was her speech to last month’s conference of the International Peaceful Australia

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Piggott, Michael: Waiting for a cultural policy for Christmas

Michael Piggott* ‘Waiting for a cultural policy for Christmas’, Honest History, 12 December 2022 updated When Anthony Albanese announced his ministry at the end of May, Tony Burke became Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and separately, Minister for the

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Stephens, David: Look out, Minister! War Memorial drops heavy hints about needing more money for its big build

David Stephens* ‘Look out, Minister! War Memorial drops heavy hints about needing more money for its big build’, Honest History, 8 December 2022 When a project runs over the original cost estimate, the proponent has to tell the parliamentary Public

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Stephens, David: More lunge-parry-thrust in Senate Estimates on War Memorial matters

David Stephens* More ‘lunge-parry-thrust** in Senate Estimates on War Memorial matters’, Honest History, 7 December 2022 updated Update 3 May 2023: FOI claim on War Memorial delivers heavily redacted version of Memorial’s briefing notes for this Estimates hearing (Ref No. 2022-23-08). Very little

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Stephens, David: The War Memorial is again running away from the Frontier Wars

David Stephens* ‘The War Memorial is again running away from the Frontier Wars‘, Pearls and Irritations, 5 December 2022 updated Note: the P&I post linked here is an updated version of our earlier post. *** The Australian War Memorial has

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Kim Beazley appointed Chair of War Memorial Council

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Keogh, has announced that former Defence Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Governor of Western Australia, and Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley has been appointed as the new Chair of the Council of

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From the Honest History vault: 50 years today since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972

1972 seems like yesterday (not). Here’s a link to the large collection we put together on the death of Gough Whitlam in 2014. For other Whitlam resources on this site, use our Search engine. Here’s a link to an article

Stephens, David: Walking backwards for Christmas: Estimates Committee transcript shows the War Memorial’s Frontier Wars retreat

David Stephens* ‘Walking backwards for Christmas**: Estimates Committee transcript shows the War Memorial’s Frontier Wars retreat’, Honest History, 28 November 2022 updated Update 3 May 2023: FOI claim on War Memorial delivers heavily redacted version of Memorial’s briefing notes for

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National Press Club of Australia: Rachel Perkins and Professor Henry Reynolds on The Australian Wars

This was broadcast on 23 November and transcripts are available at a modest cost. (The ep is available online till 23 December 2022.) Some of what we picked up from the remarks of Rachel Perkins (from about mark 5.0) and

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Recent media reports on the Australian War Memorial big build and related matters, especially the Australian Frontier Wars

The Honest History website has been partly out of action for a while due to a technical issue (and illness among our army of Honest History elves and their nearest and dearest), but the hiatus gave us a chance to

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Baker, Mark: Last posts

Mark Baker ‘Last posts’, Inside Story, 11 November 2022 This article is mostly about the difficulties the National Archives of Australia (NAA) has experienced in funding the digitisation of military service records from World War II. Baker notes the inevitable

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Kerry Stokes makes a comeback at the Australian War Memorial – but just to give the Remembrance Day Address

The War Memorial has a recent tradition of comebacks, with Brendan Nelson returning as Chair (then announcing he is going again), having been Director. Now, Nelson’s predecessor as Chair, Kerry Stokes, returns as the giver of the Remembrance Day address

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From the Honest History vault: Gough Whitlam remembered, 47 years on from The Dismissal

When Gough Whitlam died full of years in 2014 we collected lots of resources, reminiscences and recalibrations. Here they are again. Despite everything else Whitlam did, perhaps he is still most remembered for what happened on 11 November 1975. Which

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From the Honest History vault: Remembrance Day thoughts from Tony Abbott, recently re-appointed to the Council of the War Memorial

We put this up on the site three years ago, when Mr Abbott was first appointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial. That was by a Coalition government; this time it was by a Labor government. Mr Abbott’s

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From the Honest History vault: another look at AUKUS and our ‘strategic environment’

Today in Pearls and Irritations, retired diplomat Dennis Argall had some perceptive things to say on the Greg Sheridan interview in The Australian with the prime minister. The breadth of the issues discussed should remind us (Lest We Forget as

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Stephens, David: War Memorial misses opportunity to clarify confusion about Frontier Wars

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial misses opportunity to clarify confusion about Frontier Wars’, Honest History, 3 November 2022 updated Update 28 November 2022: Analysis of the Estimates transcript confirms the Memorial’s backsliding from the position of 29 September. The Memorial has

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Stephens, David: What a difference seven months makes: value of War Memorial equity in October Budget $50m less than in March

David Stephens* ‘What a difference seven months makes: value of War Memorial equity in October Budget $50m less than in March’, Honest History, 28 October 2022 updated Update 3 May 2023: FOI claim on War Memorial delivers heavily redacted version of Memorial’s

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Media roundup on Australian Frontier Wars at the Australian War Memorial: RSL grumbles; united front crumbles

Update 4 November 2022: Honest History/Heritage Guardians analysis of material provided by Memorial under Freedom of Information. ‘War Memorial Council Chair, Dr Brendan Nelson, made some remarks on 29 September about the Memorial’s intentions regarding the Frontier Wars. Since then,

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From the Honest History vault: Ben Roberts-Smith is not just a litigant

Tomorrow, Guardian Australia launches a podcast Ben Roberts-Smith vs The Media, five episodes reporting the long-running defamation case by Ben Roberts-Smith VC against media outlets. Honest History has followed the case, though not in exhaustive detail. (Another link, with some

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Stephens, David: War Memorial fails to come clean on Capital Management Plan for its $548m big build: digest this, Minister!

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial fails to come clean on Capital Management Plan for its $548m big build: digest this, Minister!’, Honest History, 13 October 2022 updated Note: this post should be read in conjunction with our series on the $50m

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Stephens, David: Startling events at the Australian War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Startling events at the Australian War Memorial‘, Pearls and Irritations, 12 October 2022 For those who came in late, a rundown of cost blowout and secrecy surrounding it, changes on the War Memorial Council involving Stokes, Abbott and

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Stephens, David: The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: Part III: hot stuff, heavy hints, loose ends, and a bunch of dates

David Stephens* ‘The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: Part III: hot stuff, heavy hints, loose ends, and a bunch of dates’, Honest History, 4 October 2022 updated Part I of this series looked at correspondence between Honest

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Encouraging noises from War Memorial about future treatment of Frontier Wars – but need to wait and see, folks

Update 4 November 2022: Later material: here; here. Update 18 October 2022: Media roundup. James Massola in Nine Newspapers quotes Greg Melick, RSL National President and War Memorial Council member, attempting to minimise the importance of what the Memorial has

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Stephens, David: The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: a tale of four letters: Part II

David Stephens* ‘The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: a tale of four letters: Part II’, Honest History, 28 September 2022 updated In Part I, we looked at two letters, one from Honest History/Heritage Guardians to the Treasurer

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Stephens, David: Why on Earth did Labor reappoint Tony Abbott to the Council of the Australian War Memorial?

David Stephens* ‘Why on Earth did Labor reappoint Tony Abbott to the Council of the Australian War Memorial?’ Honest History, 27 September 2022 updated Update 19 October 2022: Could the answer to the above question lie in the suggestion that

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Up, up and away! Brendan Nelson promoted to Boeing big wheel in London and pulls the plug on the War Memorial Council

News in the Australian Financial Review (paywall) this afternoon: Brendan Nelson will move to London in January to become president of Boeing International and a member of the company’s leadership executive council. He will resign as Chair of the Australian

Stephens, David: The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: a tale of four letters: Part I

David Stephens* ‘The growing cost of the War Memorial’s vanity build: a tale of four letters: Part I’, Honest History, 26 September 2022 updated First in a series: Part II; Part III. Later developments, as disclosed in October Budget. ***

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Stephens, David: Publicity for SBS documentary, The Australian Wars, provokes response from War Memorial but public input is needed

David Stephens* ‘Publicity for SBS documentary, The Australian Wars, provokes response from War Memorial but public input is needed’, Honest History, 23 September 2022 updated Update 5 October 2022: NITV panel discussion including Rachel Perkins: Land Wars. ‘It’s a story

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Tony Abbott reappointed to Australian War Memorial Council

A media release from Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Keogh, announces that Tony Abbott has been reappointed to the Council of the Australian War Memorial. Mr Abbott was first appointed in September 2019. This appointment was to expire on Sunday,

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Arrow, Michelle & Frank Bongiorno: The real “history war” is the attack on our archives and libraries

Michelle Arrow & Frank Bongiorno ‘The real “history war” is the attack on our archives and libraries‘, Brisbane Times, 16 September 2022 (and other Nine Newspapers) updated; pdf from our subscription Chronicles the gradual running down of our national cultural

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Raising Peace Festival 17-21 September: online; registration needed

Go here for more details and how to register: https://raisingpeace.org.au/2022-raising-peace-festival/ 13 September 2022

The death of Queen Victoria: compare and contrast

We found this below from a quick shuffle through the National Library’s excellent Trove resource. There is masses more, but this will do, both on that death and for any interesting comparisons that may be drawn with this week’s event.

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Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022

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Stephens, David: Pulling the plug on the Governor-General’s $18 million pet project: are other boondoggles* safe?

David Stephens* ‘Pulling the plug on the Governor-General’s $18 million pet project: are other boondoggles* safe?’, Honest History, 8 September 2022 The government has scrapped a grant of $18 million for a leadership program promoted by Governor-General David Hurley. The

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Knaus, Christopher: Australian War Memorial cannot be given ‘blank cheque’ to cover cost blowouts, Labor MP says

Christopher Knaus ‘Australian War Memorial cannot be given “blank cheque” to cover cost blowouts, Labor MP says‘, Guardian Australia, 31 August 2022 No blank cheque remark comes from ACT Labor MP, David Smith, from this week. Smith had been a

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Stanley, Peter: The Australian War Memorial goes AWOL

Peter Stanley ‘The Australian War Memorial goes AWOL‘, Pearls and Irritations, 1 September 2022 Post from military historian and former Principal Historian, Australian War Memorial. The Memorial has plugged an inaccurate book, The Digger of Kokoda, and refuses to debate

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From the Honest History vault: Mythbusting about the Australian involvement in Vietnam

Update 30 August 2023: Our Vietnam War, three-part ABC, Australian government series. Update 18 August 2023: 50th anniversary of departure of last Australian troops from Vietnam: joint media release from Minister and Prime Minister; Prime Minister’s speech. Update 15 August

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Stephens, David: Uluru Statement shows the way on Australian Frontier Wars

David Stephens ‘Uluru Statement shows the way on Australian Frontier Wars‘, Pearls and Irritations, 18 August 2022 ‘We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country’ (Uluru Statement) Empowerment grows not just

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Defence of Country motivated Indigenous soldiers in Vietnam: time to recognise and commemorate Defence of Country in Frontier Wars

News today that the Australian War Memorial has published a list of 250 Indigenous men who served with Australian forces in the Vietnam War. Media release but not an actual list. The ABC story has a crucial quote attributed to

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Lessons from History: for policy-makers and policy-takers – which means the rest of us: Book note

We’ve noted recently a couple of books on history as a discipline and history as a guide: there was What is History, Now?, edited by Helen Carr and Suzannah Lipscomb, and What Happens Next? Reconstructing Australia after Covid-19, edited by

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Interim Report of Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide: a vanity building project is taking money from where it is sorely needed

Update 26 September 2022: Extensive coverage of government response to the Interim Report included this from the Minister and the Acting Prime Minister. *** The Interim Report. Recommendations 2-5 are about funding and staffing of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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Stanley, Peter: Forty questions about The Digger of Kokoda

Peter Stanley* ‘Forty questions about The Digger of Kokoda’, Honest History, 8 August 2022 updated Update 1 September 2022: Peter Stanley on Pearls and Irritations website. Update 15 August 2022: Nicholas Stuart in the Canberra Times (paywall); see also articles

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Menadue, John: Our dangerous ally could drag us into war with China

John Menadue ‘Our dangerous ally could drag us into war with China‘, Pearls and Irritations, 3 August 2022 The US is the most aggressive and violent country in the world. It is addicted to a belief in its exceptionalism, grounded

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From the Honest History vault: Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett on Hiroshima

Yesterday, 6 August, was the 77th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. We ran the post below for the 70th anniversary in 2015. Here it is again. There are links in the introduction to the

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Stephens, David: Australian War Memorial needs to own Australian Frontier Wars

David Stephens* ‘Australian War Memorial needs to own Australian Frontier Wars‘, Pearls and Irritations, 7 August 2022 Proper recognition and commemoration of the Australian Frontier Wars at the Australian War Memorial would be a practical expression of the Spirit of

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Patience, Allan: Can Australia become a confident, independent country?

Allan Patience ‘Can Australia become a confident, independent country?‘, Pearls and Irritations, 5 August 2022 The article examines the prospects for the Australian-American ‘alliance’ at a time of increasing uncertainty. Given the restricted military capability that Australia possesses (for example,

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From the Honest History vault: Review of Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (2018), edited by Anita Heiss

Just after Garma and at a time when the Voice is growing, along with the push to properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars, it seemed like a good chance to run again our review of the ground-breaking collection,

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Turner, Ross: John Maynard says Frontier Wars deserve Canberra memorial

Ross Turner ‘John Maynard says Frontier Wars deserve Canberra memorial‘, NITV Living Black, 2 August 2022 Extensive interview by Karla Grant of Professor John Maynard of the University of Newcastle, a Worimi man from the Port Stephens region of New

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Stanley, Peter: Time to tell the truth at the Australian War Memorial

Peter Stanley ‘Time to tell the truth at the Australian War Memorial‘, Canberra Times, 30 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription) Op ed from Research Professor at UNSW Canberra, long-time Principal Historian at the Memorial, and Heritage Guardian. The article

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Bargwanna, Stephen: Australian War Memorial needs to tell stories of Frontier Wars in colonisation of Australia

Stephen Bargwanna ‘Australian War Memorial needs to tell stories of Frontier Wars in colonisation of Australia‘, Canberra Times, 29 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription) The author is a descendant of WJ Wills of Burke and Wills fame, who died

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Dunera Tribute Museum opens in Sydney, 28 August 2022: bookings available

In May and June 1940, Winston Churchill’s government detained thousands of ‘enemy or dangerous aliens’, previously determined not to be a risk, in the belief that this would stop any spies among them from forming a ‘fifth column’ in the

Canberra Times: Australian War Memorial must formally address frontier violence

Canberra Times, ‘Australian War Memorial must formally address frontier violence‘, Canberra Times, 25 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription) This editorial (page 14 of the hard copy under heading ‘Frontier wars should be back on agenda’) is a significant development

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From the Honest History vault: The collected works of Australian War Memorial Director, Matt Anderson PSM: Will they become part of the pushback?

Australian War Memorial Director, Matt Anderson, was featured in yesterday’s Canberra Times, talking about himself, why the Memorial needs to be expanded by 2.5 hectares (more space than the MCG), and how it deals (or doesn’t) with the Frontier Wars.

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80 years since Kokoda: lots of brave deeds but not ‘the battle that saved Australia’?: Honest History resources

The Australian War Memorial is today commemorating 80 years since the beginning of the Kokoda campaign in World War II. An AAP piece appears in many newspapers today, including comments from Dr Karl James, War Memorial historian. Whether or not

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Barlow, Karen: Veterans Minister Matt Keogh ‘closely’ watching $550 War Memorial revamp

Karen Barlow ‘Veterans Minister Matt Keogh “closely” watching $550 War Memorial revamp‘, Canberra Times, 11 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription) Follows up previous Canberra Times story about $50m blowout in cost of War Memorial project. New, though, are the

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Richard Broinowski on the truth about Australia’s nuclear ambitions: Canberra event, 21 July

Fact or Fission? The Truth about Australia’s Nuclear Ambitions will be essential reading in the time of AUKUS and the Russian war on Ukraine. Richard Broinowski AO, author of the book and retired Australian diplomat, is talking with Dr Sue

An agenda for Albanese (4): Time to rule a line (or cut back) on this unnecessary and obscene War Memorial project

Friday’s Canberra Times carries a story about the $50 million blowout in the cost of the Australian War Memorial extensions project, for which the then government budgeted $498 million. There were hints in the last two Budget papers that costs

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Evans, Steve: $50 million jump in cost of Australian War Memorial revamp

Steve Evans ‘$50 million jump in cost of Australian War Memorial revamp‘, Canberra Times, 1 July 2022 (pdf from our subscription) updated This page 1 story is surprising only because it has taken so long to become public. Rumours of

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An agenda for Albanese (3): Afghanistan reports, like suicide study, should be out in the open – to ensure War Memorial can be ‘a place of truth’

The new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Keogh, announced the other day that a report into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs claims processing system had finally been made public. The report had been commissioned by the previous government in September

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An agenda for Albanese: (2) ‘Brass and Old Mates’ War Memorial Council needs new faces – and a couple of historians

The Australian War Memorial is sometimes described as Australia’s most sacred site. Whether or not that is true, the 13 people comprising the Memorial Council potentially have an important influence on how we view our past and plot a course

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An agenda for Albanese: (1) Frontier Wars commemoration at the Australian War Memorial would express the Spirit of Uluru

The new government has a lot to do. Here’s one thing that it could do, quickly and decisively, using existing mechanisms: fill some of the proposed new space at the Australian War Memorial with a Frontier Wars Gallery, commemorating the

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Queen’s Birthday Honours List Congratulations: Carmen Lawrence and Joy Damousi

Congratulations to Professor Emeritus Carmen Lawrence AO and Professor Joy Damousi AM, both listed in Queen’s Birthday Honours today. Both have been friends of Honest History over the years and both had chapters in The Honest History Book (2017). 13

Alex Seton’s sculpture ‘For Every Drop Shed in Anguish’ will be a welcome addition to the Australian War Memorial

One of Honest History’s continuing criticisms of the way the Australian War Memorial has commemorated war has been that the Memorial has placed too much stress on what Australians do in war and not enough on what war does to

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Manning Clark House Canberra Event: Persons of Interest: An Intimate Account of Cecily and John Burton

Manning Clark House Inc Persons of Interest: An Intimate Account of Cecily and John Burton By Pamela Burton and Meredith Edwards Sunday 26 June 2022, 2:30pm to 4:00pm All Saints Church Hall, Cowper Street, Ainslie, ACT A world in upheaval:

Stephens, David: An historical agenda for the Albanese Government

David Stephens* ‘An historical agenda for the Albanese Government’, Honest History, 7 June 2022 updated History is not just a matter for historians, museums and school teachers. How we deal with our past shapes the present and future of all

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Stephens, David: Rule Britannia and Dig! Dig! Dig! Illumination and Excavation at the War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Rule Britannia and “Dig! Dig! Dig!”: Illumination and Excavation at the War Memorial’, Honest History, 3 June 2022 Whichever of the two Matts, Keogh (sworn in this week as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs), or Thistlethwaite (Assistant Minister) takes

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Eureka Street Plus gets under way with Father Frank Brennan on the Uluru Statement

Eureka Street has been around for a long time as a thoughtful, judicious commentator on affairs, with a special interest in religious matters. (It is a publication of Jesuit Communications Australia.) Eureka Street Plus proposes to deliver bi-monthly essays, roundtables,

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JR Nethercote 1948-2022

Professor John Nethercote, Australian Catholic University, died last Tuesday in Canberra. He had a long and distinguished career in the public service and the academic world, was a helpful counsellor and mentor to many colleagues, and will be greatly missed.

Stephens, David: As the War Memorial destruction goes on, and Boeing’s man takes control, FOI throws dim light on the process

David Stephens* ‘As the War Memorial destruction goes on, and Boeing’s man takes control, FOI throws dim light on the process’, Honest History, 5 May 2022 updated The destruction of the Australian War Memorial is unstoppable. And Brendan Nelson, the

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Lest We Forget#9: Khaki elections, the meaning of and visits to Gallipoli, and 1930s comparisons: Anzac Day roundup

John Menadue’s website, Pearls & Irritations, can be relied upon to produce thought-provoking posts. This Anzac Day, it offered Peter Stanley and Greg Lockhart on khaki elections, Sue Wareham on the moral issues that now envelope the Australian War Memorial,

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Stephens, David: Lest We Forget#8: Has the Australia that the Great War Diggers fought for been captured by spivs and oligarchs?

David Stephens* ‘Lest We Forget#8: Has the Australia that the Great War Diggers fought for been captured by spivs and oligarchs?’ Honest History, 25 April 2022 We began this Lest We Forget series by referring to Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s 2017 use

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Lest We Forget#7: If you hear the Murdoch Press beating the drums of war in 2022, remember they have form

If the current election is to turn khaki, if the Defence Minister (or his shadow) wants support for spending more of GDP on defence, if the two sides try to outdo each other on support for the American Alliance, you

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Stephens, David: Lest We Forget#6: Brendan Nelson is to be Chair of the War Memorial Council – but who will really run the place?

David Stephens* ‘Lest We Forget#6: Brendan Nelson is to be Chair of the War Memorial Council – but who will really run the place?’ Honest History, 23 April 2022 updated Update 27 April 2022: 2ST radio (Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands)

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Lest We Forget#5: Recognising our common humanity by doing commemoration in a less Australia-centric way: Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial

Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial has had two editions (2016 and 2017) and has been downloaded more than 3000 times by school students and their teachers. We would love to have done more editions to keep

ABC Radio Nightlife with Philip Clark: War Memorial: beyond a century of Anzac

ABC Radio Nightlife with Philip Clark ‘War Memorial: beyond a century of Anzac‘, ABC Radio, 15 April 2022 Audio of long conversation between Clark and Professor Peter Stanley of UNSW Canberra (and Heritage Guardians) and Steve Gower, former Director, Australian

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Michael McKernan’s eulogy for Brendon Kelson, National Arboretum, Canberra, 5 April 2022

Brendon Kelson’s friend and former colleague, historian Dr Michael McKernan, gave this eulogy at Brendon’s memorial service. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of Dr McKernan, Brendon’s wife, Jenne, and sons Marcus and Adrian. Thanks to all of

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Brendan Nelson appointed to Council of Australian War Memorial; Kerry Stokes stands down

Media release from the Minister (text below) announces that Dr Brendan Nelson, former Director of the Australian War Memorial, former Minister for Defence, and big wheel at Boeing, world’s second largest manufacturer of weapons of war, has been appointed to

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Opportunity for the public to influence whether the Audit Office investigates the management of the $500 million War Memorial redevelopment project

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is a Commonwealth watchdog over the processes of government. Annually, the ANAO puts out its draft Audit Work Program for public comment; the 2022-23 version has just been released. The draft contains potential performance

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Brendon Kelson 1935-2022

Brendon Kelson died last Thursday in Canberra. He was a former Director of the Australian War Memorial, a friend of Honest History, and a passionate campaigner to protect national heritage and save his beloved Memorial from the destruction it is

Stephens, David: From the Honest History vault: 80 years since the Darwin bombing but context remains all-important

David Stephens* From the Honest History vault: 80 years since the Darwin bombing but context remains all-important’, Honest History, 18 February 2022 updated Tomorrow is 80 years since the first bombing of Darwin during World War II. Our commemoration cohort,

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Two AUKUS events coming up, Melbourne 24 February and Canberra 27 February, both Zoomed

Information Webinar: AUKUS will cost the earth Join MAPW’s VP Dr Margie Beavis, Professor Richard Tanter (Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability), and Dave Sweeney (Australian Conservation Foundation) for a discussion about the costs and consequences of the AUKUS pact. Hosted

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Stephens, David: From the Honest History vault: Dr Chau Chak Wing, ASIO person of interest and Australian War Memorial Fellow and donor

David Stephens* ‘From the Honest History vault: Dr Chau Chak Wing, ASIO person of interest and Australian War Memorial Fellow and donor’, Honest History, 15 February 2022 In Senate Estimates yesterday, Senator Kitching (ALP, Vic) mentioned Dr Chau Chak Wing,

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Hell No! We Won’t Go! Resistance to conscription in post-war Australia: launch of new book by Bobbie Oliver

Bobbie Oliver has written a book, Hell No! We Won’t Go! Resistance to Conscription in Post-war Australia, published by Interventions, which will be launched online on 24 February at 7pm AEST. Details. Registration. Professor Oliver will be in conversation with

Zoom in to these three events: Timor Leste; Stuart Macintyre; capitalism

16 February: Timor was invaded! Webinar on Timor Leste – history and current events Speakers are Dr José Ramos-Horta, Dr Kirsty Sword AO, Professor Peter Stanley, Sister Susan Connelly PhD and others. At UNSW, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Stephens, David: War Memorial Heritage Management Plan: a loose end still hanging

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial Heritage Management Plan: a loose end still hanging’, Honest History, 4 February 2022 updated Update 5 May 2022: Our FOI claims on the Department and the Memorial still leave a loose end The Australian Heritage Council

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Government announces Ngurra, Indigenous cultural precinct, for Canberra

The Prime Minister has announced the government has allocated $316.5m to build Ngurra, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural precinct, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Triangle, on Ngunnawal country (Canberra). Ngurra, a Western Desert

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Christmas and (late) Hanukkah greetings from Honest History and Heritage Guardians

Honest History’s elves are taking it easy for the next six weeks or so due to Christmas, New Year and a couple of time-consuming house moves. We will be posting only if something important drops and needs a word from

Can 2.5 hectares of new War Memorial space filled with retired military kit help with healing? From the Honest History vault

When Dr Brendan Nelson was Director of the Australian War Memorial he often claimed that the Memorial could provide a ‘therapeutic milieu’ for former service men and women. More recently, spruikers for the $498m redevelopment have talked about the Memorial

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Stuart Macintyre on Post-War Reconstruction: From the Honest History vault

In 2015, the late Professor Stuart Macintyre published a great book on Post-War Reconstruction, describing the work of politicians and bureaucrats in Australia during and after the Second World War.  Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s won

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Stephens, David: National Capital Authority consultation report on War Memorial Main Works: latest (but maybe not last) phase in a sorry saga

David Stephens* ‘National Capital Authority consultation report on War Memorial Main Works: latest (but maybe not last) phase in a sorry saga’, Honest History, 25 November 2021 updated Summary: The War Memorial redevelopment project is unstoppable. We tried! *** The

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Stuart Macintyre 1947-2021

Stuart Macintyre, distinguished Australian historian, died today after a long period of ill health. He will be greatly missed. Honest History was proud to have Stuart as a contributor to The Honest History Book (2017), where he penned a perceptive

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Stephens, David: Why would you destroy something that 96 per cent of your visitors liked? War Memorial Annual Report 2020-21

David Stephens* ‘Why would you destroy something that 96 per cent of your visitors liked? War Memorial Annual Report 2020-21’, Honest History, 12 November 2021 Annual reports of Australian government departments and agencies are normally tabled in the Parliament before

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From the Honest History vault: Remembrance Day

Update 12 November 2021: Ian Bushnell in The Riot Act links Remembrance Day and what the Australian War Memorial is becoming (’80 years on [since it was opened], the War Memorial is in a battle for its soul’). Update 11

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Richard Broinowski wins History Victoria prize for Under the Rainbow

Former Australian diplomat, current commentator, and friend of Honest History, Richard Broinowski AO, has jointly won the Judge’s Special Prize Victorian Community History Awards 2021 of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (History Victoria) for his book Under the Rainbow:

Stephens, David: National Capital Authority misses its own deadline to release consultation report on War Memorial Main Works

David Stephens* ‘National Capital Authority misses its own deadline to release consultation report on War Memorial Main Works’, Honest History, 2 November 2021 updated Update 7 November 2021: Ian Bushnell in The Riot Act summarises the state of (delayed) play

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Blaxland, John: Twenty years in Afghanistan

John Blaxland ‘Twenty years in Afghanistan‘, Wartime [Australian War Memorial] No. 96, Spring 2021, pp. 10-16 John Blaxland is a distinguished academic, specialising in war and strategy. He is also a former member of the Australian Defence Force. For both

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Stephens, David: ‘Desolation Row’: latest pictures as the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild gets under way

David Stephens* ‘”Desolation Row”**: latest pictures as the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild gets under way’, Honest History, 21 October 2021 updated Our photographer took these pictures yesterday and today (except for one which is much older). The Memorial’s spin-doctors

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Stephens, David: Townsville Veterans’ Wellness Centre and Afghanistan War Memorial Gardens, Brisbane: avoiding bigger issues?

David Stephens* ‘Townsville Veterans’ Wellness Centre and Afghanistan War Memorial Gardens, Brisbane: avoiding bigger issues?’, Honest History, 20 October 2021 updated Two press releases this week from Federal Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Andrew Gee, tell of two openings in Queensland. They

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Stephens, David: ‘Eve of Destruction’ at the War Memorial: why are we trashing ‘our most sacred place’?

David Stephens* ‘”Eve of Destruction” at the War Memorial; why are we trashing “our most sacred place”?, Honest History, 17 October 2021 updated Some time in the next couple of weeks (while Parliament is sitting, so most of us will

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Stephens, David: Attempted Tudging of school history curriculum is but the most recent in a long line

David Stephens* ‘Attempted Tudging of school history curriculum is but the most recent in a long line’, Honest History, 11 October 2021 updated Update 27 July 2022: Academic Stewart Riddle surveys the history of the history wars, including most recent

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Two Afghanistan-related items for your consideration: IPAN Webinar; Twenty Years project organised by Antony Loewenstein

IPAN Webinar on the context and consequences of Australia’s generation-long war in Afghanistan IPAN (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network) has a webinar on Thursday, October 21, 6 pm AEDT, chaired by lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter, with speakers

From the Honest History vault: War Memorial Director Matt Anderson wrote these war books for children

It has been fairly quiet at the War Memorial site recently, as interested parties await the National Capital Authority’s consultation report on the Main Works for the Memorial’s $498m megabuild, which can also be seen as an institution which is

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National Vietnam Veterans Museum; National Veterans Art Museum

As Victoria (and Australia) starts to open up and folks look for places to visit, here’s some information about the National Vietnam Veterans Museum (NVVM) on Phillip Island and the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum (ANVAM) at Southbank. ‘The NVVM’,

Paul Barratt AO 1944-2021

Paul Barratt has died after a long illness. He was a distinguished public servant and in later life an advocate for important causes. He will be greatly missed. Obituary in Pearls & Irritations from Alison Broinowski. The obituary stresses Paul’s

Professor Megan Davis gives Dymphna Clark Memorial Lecture on Uluru Statement from the Heart

Manning Clark House, Canberra, presents: Annual Dymphna Clark Lecture with Professor Megan Davis, ‘The promise of the Uluru Statement from the Heart: the past, the present and the future of First Nations Australia’. Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 6:00 PM –

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Stephens, David: It’s not just about the submarines and the furore with the French: AUKUS, AUSMIN, and lessons from history

David Stephens* ‘It’s not just about the submarines and the furore with the French: AUKUS, AUSMIN, and lessons from history’, Honest History, 1 October 2021 updated Sometimes slang cuts through and helps us understand. Earlier this week, we had a

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From the Honest History vault: John Edwards’ biography of John Curtin: Is brown-nosing an inevitable posture for Australian PMs?

Prime Minister Morrison, launching AUKUS, mentioned John Curtin, Australia’s wartime prime minister, who turned to the United States for help when things looked dark. The prime minister could have mentioned Harold Holt, John Gorton, John Howard, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull,

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Weirick, James: Submission to the National Capital Authority: Australian War Memorial Redevelopment – Main Works Packages

James Weirick* ‘Submission to the National Capital Authority: Australian War Memorial Redevelopment – Main Works Packages’, Honest History, 26 September 2021 This was one of 587 submissions to the NCA on the Australian War Memorial Main Works. The Authority expects

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Two thoughtful pieces on the military-industrial tentacles that stretch through Australian life

The Afghanistan debacle and the AUKUS surprise should remind us of the extent to which our society and economy – and even psyche perhaps – is built around the idea that weapons and technology able to be used lethally against

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Piggott, Michael: Out of Tune, but still mouldering: the National Archives of Australia

Michael Piggott* ‘Out of Tune, but still mouldering: the National Archives of Australia’, Honest History, 20 September 2021 This article follows Michael Piggott’s earlier piece, ‘Mouldering away: how long a journey for our National Archives?’, which coincided with a campaign

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The Secret State, the rule of law and whistle blowers: Bernard Collaery Zoom event from Manning Clark House, Canberra, 26 September

Sunday 26 September 2021, 4pm to 5.30pm This is a Zoom event due to the COVID-19 lockdown Bernard Collaery is a former ACT Attorney-General and a prominent Canberra lawyer.  He was lawyer for Witness K, the former ASIS officer turned

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Wareham, Sue & David Stephens: War Memorial ‘consultation’ was a sham from the start

Sue Wareham and David Stephens ‘War Memorial “consultation” was a sham from the start‘, Canberra Times, 16 September 2021 (pdf from our subscription) An op ed containing detailed analysis of the process which has led to the Australian War Memorial

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Hopkins, David: Costly expansion of Australia’s war memorial stirs controversy

David Hopkins ‘Costly expansion of Australia’s war memorial stirs controversy‘, Nikkei Asia, 12 September 2021 A multimillion-dollar plan to upgrade Australia’s national war memorial in Canberra is pushing ahead, despite critics’ claims that the project is more focused on exhibiting

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Heritage Guardians submission to National Capital Authority consultation on War Memorial Main Works approval application

The Heritage Guardians submission has now been posted: here and scroll down a bit to ‘David Stephens and Heritage Guardians’. Unfortunately, the website format scrubs out emphases so we’ve printed the original below. Recognising that the National Capital Authority’s remit

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Reynolds, Henry: The terrible effects and disastrous consequences of war. But we keep doing it.

Henry Reynolds ‘The terrible effects and disastrous consequences of war. But we keep doing it’, Pearls & Irritations, 3 September 2021 Many of the world’s 190 or so nation states have been involved in conflict. But few small- or medium-sized

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Two recent journal numbers have thought-provoking content – and one is open access!

While current events billow around our ears with Afghanistan and Covid in the van and climate change lurking, the quiet business of academic publishing goes on, with some free access and (regrettably many) behind pay-walls. July saw a special edition

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Wareham, Sue: “No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain, ever”: the PM and the AWM

Sue Wareham ‘“No Australian who has ever fallen in our uniform has ever died in vain, ever”: the PM and the AWM‘, Pearls & Irritations, 31 August 2021 Weaves together the claims of the Prime Minister that Australian soldiers never

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Are you doing a submission to the National Capital Authority consultation on the Main Works for the $498m War Memorial project: HERE ARE SOME TIPS!

Update 9 September 2021: Heritage Guardians submission *** Where do I make a submission? Here (scroll down to ‘Have your Say’). When are the submissions due? By 10 September. How can my submission have the most impact? The NCA will

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Stephens, David: Two absorbing evenings: the National Capital Authority information sessions on the Australian War Memorial $498m redevelopment project

David Stephens* ‘Two absorbing evenings: the National Capital Authority’s information sessions on the Australian War Memorial’s $498m redevelopment project’, Honest History, 23 August 2021 updated After the farce of the ‘early works’ consultation on the War Memorial project, the National

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Stephens, Alan: Another bright shining lie: the ADF and Afghanistan

Alan Stephens ‘Another bright shining lie: the ADF and Afghanistan‘, Pearls & Irritations, 19 August 2021 This essay is concerned with the military-strategic dimension of our latest national bright shining lie; namely, the marketing by the Australian Defence Force’s hierarchy

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Stephens, David: Reflections on Afghanistan: hell no, never, ever go? And the gunrunners win anyway

David Stephens* ‘Reflections on Afghanistan: hell no, never, ever go? And the gunrunners win anyway’, Honest History, 19 August 2021 updated Update 1 April 2022: Memorial response to Senate Estimates Question from Senator Steele-John (Question No. 179). Pdf. Carefully worded.

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Daley, Paul: Morrison says troops died “for a great cause” in Afghanistan. To quote a grieving father, that’s bullshit

Paul Daley ‘Morrison says troops died “for a great cause” in Afghanistan. To quote a grieving father, that’s bullshit‘, Guardian Australia, 16 August 2021 Scott Morrison is shamelessly audacious to claim Australian service personnel died for “a great cause” in this country’s

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From the Honest History vault: review of Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia: racist society or casual racism or both?

Footballers Taylor Walker (with his slur against Robbie Young), Eddie Betts and Nic Naitanui have brought to the fore the issue of racism in sport. Have they shown us yet again that Australia is a ‘racist society’, systemically, inherently, inevitably,

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AHA/Honest History scholarship 2021 goes to Sharyn Clarke: congratulations!

This from the latest Australian Historical Association Newsletter: AHA/Honest History: AHA Conference 2021 Teacher Scholarship Recipient The AHA/Honest History Teacher Scholarship scheme supports a secondary school History teacher to attend the annual Australian Historical Association Conference to promote engagement between

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Barlow, Karen: National Capital Authority finds little support or understanding: poll

Karen Barlow ‘National Capital Authority finds little support or understanding: poll‘, Canberra Times, 9 August 2021 Reports poll from The Australian Institute (national poll of 1004 people) where respondents were asked whether they ‘agree or disagree that the National Capital

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The National Capital Authority is running some information sessions on the War Memorial project

Update 24 August 2021: how to make a submission that might be noticed. Update 23 August 2021: a review of the information sessions. *** The National Capital Authority is running three information sessions next week at the National Library in

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From the Honest History vault: The Holocaust at the Australian War Memorial

In December 2016, Honest History published a review by Professor Peter Stanley of the then recently opened Holocaust exhibition at the Australian War Memorial. We added to it later with a 2019 speech from then Memorial Director, Brendan Nelson, to

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May the farce be with you: National Capital Authority consultation on War Memorial main works – and a piece of business news

Update 6 August 2021: The information sessions: further advice on this phase. Update 3 August 2021: Canberra Times story. (Hard copy version is shorter.) The Riot Act story. *** Consultation The National Capital Authority has opened its consultation on the

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Stephens, David: Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial: what chance is there that the new bigger, Memorial will let these stories be told?

David Stephens* ‘Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial: what chance is there that the new bigger, Memorial will let these stories be told?’, Honest History, 26 July 2021 updated Update 25 September 2021: Two months on and

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Stephens, David: A wasting asset? War Memorial visitor numbers have been declining – and vainglorious vandalism could make them worse

David Stephens* ‘A wasting asset? War Memorial visitor numbers have been declining – and vainglorious vandalism could make them worse’, Honest History, 23 July 2021 updated Five years ago, Honest History asked the Australian War Memorial if it kept a

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‘Heal Country’ theme of NAIDOC Week 2021 – and getting at the truth of Murdering Point

Euahlayi man and ANU PhD candidate Bhiamie Williamson rounds off NAIDOC Week with a reflection in The Conversation on this year’s NAIDOC theme, Heal Country: Heal Country forces us to see these events [Juukan Gorge, mine pollution in Northern Territory]

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From the Honest History vault for NAIDOC Week: A 2018 conversation on ABC RN

During NAIDOC Week 2018, ABC presenter Hamish Macdonald talked to four Indigenous Australians on Indigenous Australian successes and inspirations today. Featured were Mikaela Jade (story-telling technology entrepreneur), Evelyn Araluen (poet and Indigenous literature researcher), Kris Rallah-Baker (opthalmologist), and Ben Abbatangelo (education mentor). The tape ends with

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Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide: announcement of Commissioners and Terms of Reference

This from the Prime Minister today. Media release. Terms of Reference. The inquiry will be led by Mr Nick Kaldas APM, former Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, supported by James Douglas QC, former Judge of the

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Canales, Sarah Basford: Australian War Memorial $500m redevelopment project to be probed: ANAO

Sarah Basford Canales ‘Australian War Memorial $500m redevelopment project to be probed: ANAO‘, Canberra Times, 8 July 2021 updated The management of the war memorial’s controversial plans to drastically reshape the national institution will be put under a microscope over

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Stephens, David: National Capital Authority brush-off continues with ‘one size fits all’ Statement of Reasons for Memorial decision

David Stephens* ‘National Capital Authority brush-off continues with “one size fits all” Statement of Reasons for Memorial decision’, Honest History, 7 July 2021 updated *** Update 14 July 2021: Citizens dissatisfied by the NCA brush-off described below may wish to

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From the Honest History vault for NAIDOC Week: Tjanara Goreng Goreng’s review of Billy Griffiths’ Deep Time Dreaming

‘From the Honest History vault for NAIDOC Week: Tjanara Goreng Goreng’s review of Billy Griffiths’ Deep Time Dreaming‘, Honest History, 7 July 2021 Here’s a paragraph from the review: The book finishes with a reflection of what it means for

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Indigenous involvement in the defence of Australia did not begin in 1914: Professor Peter Stanley address for NAIDOC Week 2014: From the Honest History vault

Professor Peter Stanley from UNSW Canberra gave an address on 10 July 2014 for NAIDOC Week. Professor Stanley was at that time President of the Honest History group. Here is a key paragraph from the speech: [I]t’s because a military

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Stephens, David: Seventy-five per cent of Australians in national poll believe War Memorial project $500 million would be better spent on health, education, and veterans’ support services; just 13 per cent prefer spending on the Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Seventy-five per cent of Australians in national poll believe War Memorial project $500 million would be better spent on health, education, and veterans’ support services; just 13 per cent prefer spending on the Memorial’, Honest History, 5 July

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National Capital Authority releases key documents relating to its approval of early works application from the Australian War Memorial

Update 4.30 pm Sunday 4 July 2021: Anzac Hall starts to come down (pic: Fiona Scott) More pictures of trees coming down and bulldozers going in. Heritage Guardians sent this email this afternoon to the Director, Australian War Memorial: Director

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Stephens, David: “We have once again been played for mugs by a deeply flawed process”: analysis of the National Capital Authority consultation report on the $498m Australian War Memorial redevelopment project “early works” application

David Stephens* ‘“We have once again been played for mugs by a deeply flawed process”: analysis of the National Capital Authority consultation report on the $498m Australian War Memorial redevelopment project “early works” application’, Honest History, 28 June 2021  

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Joyce axes Chester as Veterans’ Affairs Minister; Andrew Gee is the pea

New Ministry list following restoration of Barnaby Joyce. Darren Chester returns to the back-bench. Andrew Gee becomes Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, including ministerial responsibility for the War Memorial, and for Defence Personnel. Honest History and Heritage Guardians disagreed with Darren

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Menadue, John: Militarism has become the norm. We now even have an Army Lieutenant General heading the vaccine roll out

John Menadue ‘Militarism has become the norm. We now even have an Army Lieutenant General heading the vaccine roll out‘, Pearls and Irritations, 24 June 2021 updated Concerned that the states were getting the political kudos for handling quarantine ,

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Senator Steele-John motion on War Memorial redevelopment defeated by major parties

Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens, WA) has been an assiduous questioner of Australian War Memorial officers at Senate Estimates. See most recently here (pages 92-98 of the pdf of the Proof Hansard) and use our Search engine. The Senator is rightly

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Old military buff Stokes gets another 12 months on the War Memorial Council; new memorial in AWM grounds

Minister Chester has announced that Kerry Stokes’ term on the Australian War Memorial Council has been extended for another 12 months. It was to end in August. Note though that the extension is as a member of the Council, not

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Piggott, Michael: Mouldering away: how long a journey for our National Archives?

Michael Piggott* ‘Mouldering away: how long a journey for our National Archives?’, Honest History, 16 June 2021 [See also this post on the campaign to save the Archives. HH] As many Honest History supporters will know, in recent months the

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Save the National Archives of Australia! More than 150 leading Australian writers, researchers and thinkers have signed an Open Letter to the Prime Minister

The open letter. Media release below. Coverage in media, particularly The Australian by Gideon Haigh on 12 June (pdf from a subscription) and editorial. Video with Graeme Davison. Genevieve Jacobs in The Riot Act. David Smith, ALP member for Bean,

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Stephens, David: ‘All you’ve got to do is dig, dig, dig!’ National Capital Authority waves through the War Memorial’s ‘early works’ application

David Stephens* ‘”All you’ve got to do is dig, dig, dig!”** National Capital Authority waves through the War Memorial’s “early works” application’, Honest History, 8 June 2021 updated Yesterday, the National Capital Authority approved the early works application from the

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Stephens, David: Afghanistan, Matt Anderson, the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild, Brendan Nelson, the Brereton Report, Nine Newspapers, the Prime Minister, Ben Roberts-Smith, Seven Media, Kerry Stokes, and lots of lawyers

David Stephens* ‘Afghanistan, Matt Anderson, the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild, Brendan Nelson, the Brereton Report, Nine Newspapers, the Prime Minister, Ben Roberts-Smith, Seven Media, Kerry Stokes, and lots of lawyers’, Honest History, 7 June 2021 Some important Federal Court

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Dowling, Peter: The Australian War Memorial: a changed future

Peter Dowling* ‘The Australian War Memorial: a changed future’, Honest History, 2 June 2021 In August 1916, a tall, lean figure, dressed in the khaki of the Australian Imperial Force, strode through the battlefield of Pozières, in the Somme department

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Stephens, David: “A cynical abuse of process”: summary of Heritage Guardians’ submission to the National Capital Authority consultation on the “early works” approval application from the Australian War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘”A cynical abuse of process”: summary of Heritage Guardians’ submission to the National Capital Authority consultation on the “early works” approval application from the Australian War Memorial’, Honest History, 23 May 2021 Contents Introduction Works application approvals and

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Kent, Ann: Submission to the National Capital Authority: The Australian War Memorial

Ann Kent* ‘Submission to the National Capital Authority: The Australian War Memorial’, Honest History, 13 May 2021 [This is one of the 599 submissions received by the Authority on the current consultation. HH] I write in defence of the proper

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Riddle, Stewart: Proposed new curriculum acknowledges First Nations’ view of British ‘invasion’ and a multicultural Australia

Stewart Riddle ‘Proposed new curriculum acknowledges First Nations’ view of British “invasion” and a multicultural Australia‘, The Conversation, 30 April 2021 updated Good survey of proposed changes to Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum, now out for consultation, plus a

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Stead, Naomi: Australian War Memorial

Naomi Stead ‘Australian War Memorial‘, The Saturday Paper, 8-15 May 2021; (pdf from our subscription) A thoughtful and comprehensive evisceration of the War Memorial project from the Professor of Architecture at Monash University. There is an edited version in the

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599 submissions to National Capital Authority on War Memorial Early Works Approval application

Update 26 May 2021: Number of submissions rounds out at exactly 600 NCA Chief Executive, Sally Barnes, advises Senate Estimates (from mark 8.00) that the final number of submisssions received is exactly 600, with the admission of a late comer.

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Australian Historical Association/Honest History: AHA Conference Teacher Scholarship applications close on 15 June

The AHA/Honest History: AHA Conference Teacher Scholarship subsidises secondary history teachers to attend the AHA Annual Conference. Full details are on the AHA website and applications close 15 June. This year’s conference is in Sydney 29 November-2 December. The conference

Stephens, David: Armenian Genocide: President Biden recognises what Armenians knew more than a century ago

David Stephens* ‘Armenian Genocide: President Biden recognises what Armenians knew more than a century ago’, Honest History, 3 May 2021 updated Update 2 October 2023: Vicken Babkenian and Judith Crispin write in Pearls and Irritations about Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing of

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Stephens, David: Shots across the bows: some Anzac weekend reading and listening

David Stephens* ‘Shots across the bows: some Anzac weekend reading and listening’, Honest History, 23 April 2021 updated Just a very quick jog around the field, unfortunately. Wearing their Heritage Guardians hats, the Honest History elves have been busy finalising

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Public meeting in Canberra, Thursday, 29 April, 6.30 pm is last chance to have your say on the ‘early works’ at the War Memorial

National Capital Authority consultation closes 30 April on the misleadingly named ‘early works’ for the $498m War Memorial project: demolition of Anzac Hall; massive excavation on the south side of the building; destruction of 116 trees. If these ‘early works’

Basford Canales, Sarah: Australian War Memorial expansion: Community fights to save memorial’s WWII-era trees

Update 9-10 April 2021: Response from Director Anderson, interviewed by the Canberra Times (Doug Dingwall and Sara Basford Canales). To a large extent, repeats arguments previously made by the Director and his predecessor. And more in the Canberra Times. ***

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Stephens, David: Getting the story straight: Senate Estimates hears from War Memorial on Afghanistan, extensions, and other matters

David Stephens* ‘Getting the story straight: Senate Estimates hears from War Memorial on Afghanistan, extensions, and other matters’, Honest History, 6 April 2021 updated The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade spent just 28 minutes on the evening

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Wheeler, Tone: Tone on Tuesday: The democratic spatial narrative of the Australian War Memorial

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works’ application. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments here. *** Tone Wheeler ‘Tone on Tuesday: The democratic spatial narrative of the Australian War Memorial‘, Architecture and Design, 30

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Curtis, Katina: War Memorial redevelopment will force Anzac Day ceremonies to move

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works’ application. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments here. *** Katina Curtis ‘War Memorial redevelopment will force Anzac Day ceremonies to move‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 29

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Stephens, David: Memorial Rorts: how the Australian War Memorial expansion was rammed through despite public opposition

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works’ application. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments here. *** David Stephens ‘Memorial Rorts: how the Australian War Memorial expansion was rammed through despite public opposition‘,

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Stephens, David: The great War Memorial tree massacre: the price we will pay for the Edifice Complex

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works’ application. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments here. *** David Stephens* ‘The great War Memorial tree massacre: the price we will pay for the Edifice

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Reaction to War Memorial’s bizarre ‘early works application’ to National Capital Authority: premature demolition, a massacre of mature trees, and a bloody big hole

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works’ application. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments here. *** Earlier coverage of the campaign against the War Memorial project. *** Honest History and Heritage Guardians

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National Capital Authority consultation on ‘early works’ associated with War Memorial $498m project: dozens of trees to be cut down; premature demolition of Anzac Hall; massive excavation at Memorial entrance

Have your say with the National Capital Authority on the Memorial’s ‘early works application’. You don’t need to live in Canberra. Arguments below. *** Update 30 March 2021: Tone Wheeler writes in Architecture and Design about the Disneyfied ‘newseum’ coming

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Stephens, David: Narrow focus but not sharp: Public Works Committee report on $498m War Memorial project

David Stephens* ‘Narrow focus but not sharp: Public Works Committee report on $498m War Memorial project’, Honest History, 15 March 2021 updated The parliamentary Public Works Committee was never going to take a broad view of the $498m, seven year,

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Stephens, David: Australian War Memorial $498m project: consultation on two fronts

David Stephens* ‘Australian War Memorial $498m project: consultation on two fronts’, Honest History, 12 March 2021 There are currently two ways in which people can have their say about the War Memorial development project. The Canberra Times story gives an

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Heritage Guardians says, ‘Oppose the unnecessary and inappropriate $498m War Memorial project: final chance to have your say’

From Heritage Guardians, a community campaign against the $498m, 2.4 hectares extensions to the Australian War Memorial This post invites readers to register with the National Capital Authority as a Key Stakeholder in the Authority’s consultations on development in Canberra.

Stephens, David: War Memorial news: backing Chairman Stokes; reaching out to military history buffs; jumping the gun on closing Anzac Hall; possibly getting Tony Abbott as Council Chair

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial news: backing Chairman Stokes; reaching out to military history buffs; jumping the gun on closing Anzac Hall; possibly getting Tony Abbott as Council Chair’, Honest History, 8 March 2021 updated The Australian War Memorial benefits not

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Wareham, Sue: Let’s not allow the Australian War Memorial to become something much uglier

Sue Wareham* ‘Let’s not allow the Australian War Memorial to become something much uglier‘, Canberra Times, 27 February 2021 (pdf from our subscription) Also on op ed page of hard copy of the Times. Letters to the paper followed. Slightly edited

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Stephens, David: Reaction to Public Works Committee report on War Memorial’s big build: rare dissent emphasises the problems with this project

David Stephens* ‘Reaction to Public Works Committee report on War Memorial’s big build: rare dissent emphasises the problems with this project’, Honest History, 24 February 2021 Update 15 March 2021: Analysis of the PWC report, plus some odd business in

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McIlroy, Tom: ‘Adverse impact’: government warned on War Memorial redevelopment

Tom McIlroy ‘”Adverse impact”: government warned on War Memorial redevelopment‘, Australian Financial Review, 19 February 2021 (pdf from our subscription access) A story based on material made available by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) on what

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Stephens, David: Same old, same old – and lots of brass: still no historians on the Australian War Memorial Council

David Stephens* ‘Same old, same old – and lots of brass: still no historians on the Australian War Memorial Council’, Honest History, 5 February 2021 Minister Chester has announced the filling of two vacancies on the Council of the Australian

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McKenna, Mark: Australia’s haunted house

Mark McKenna ‘Australia’s haunted house‘, The Monthly, February 2021, pp. 8-11 (possible paywall but here’s a pdf from a subscription/purchased copy) Update 8 February 2021: McKenna on 7 am Podcast with Ruby Johns for Schwartz Media. *** The Brereton Report

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Stephens, David: Another ‘survey’ from the War Memorial about its big build – and this survey is actually a little less dodgy than the previous one

David Stephens* ‘Another “survey” from the War Memorial about its big build – and this survey is actually a little less dodgy than the previous one’, Honest History, 2 February 2021 Update 3 February 2021: The War Memorial has provided

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Genevieve Jacobs AM

Congratulations to Canberra’s (and Wallendbeen’s) Genevieve Jacobs, who received an AM in this week’s awards. Genevieve is now Group Editor with Region Media. Honest History worked with Genevieve when she was with the ABC; we put together many Honest History

Now that Trump has been seen off (or not?), let’s look again at fascism: From the Honest History vault

Whether the 45th president of the United States is or was a fascist was a subject of considerable popular and academic debate. Most recently, there was this thoughtful piece by Timothy Snyder in the New York Times. ‘Trump’s coup attempt

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Should FLOTUS have stepped up? Or did POTUS Trump just need a decision-making dog? From the Honest History vault

There are lots of serious matters still to be resolved (or not) in Washington, but the current crisis made us look again at what past leaders have had to do to make up for their manifest inadequacies. Perhaps Trump’s advisers

Dingwall, Doug: Australian War Memorial drops “young and free” branding after national anthem update

Doug Dingwall ‘Australian War Memorial drops “young and free’ branding after national anthem update‘, Canberra Times, 6 January 2021 (pdf from our subscription) PM’s announced change to the words of the National Anthem necessarily requires the War Memorial to take

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Stephens, David: A truth-telling War Memorial does not need 2.5 hectares of extra floor space

David Stephens* ‘A truth-telling War Memorial does not need 2.5 hectares of extra floor space‘, Independent Australia, 14 December 2020 Contrasts the historical Stokes-Nelson memorial with the putative Anderson version, but notes the hostile reaction to the current Director’s suggestion

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Honest History holiday arrangements 2020-21

Honest History is taking a break from now until well into the New Year. It’s been a big year for everyone, what with fires, hail, floods, and covid. The Honest History office has been back and forth between Canberra and

Minister approves Memorial project under heritage legislation – with some caveats

The Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, has approved the $498m War Memorial redevelopment. There are 29 conditions of approval claimed to minimise and mitigate the residual impacts on the site’s National Heritage and Commonwealth Heritage values. The Memorial will

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Architects’ new campaign against the $498m War Memorial project, particularly the proposed destruction of Anzac Hall

Honest History has received the following information from the Australian Institute of Architects. Honest History supports the AIA campaign, which aligns with the efforts of the Heritage Guardians group. HH *** Update 7 December 2020: Canberra City News. Also: Canberra

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ABC The Signal Podcast [with Brendon Kelson, former War Memorial Director]: Correcting the war record

ABC The Signal Podcast [with Brendon Kelson*, former War Memorial Director] ‘Correcting the war record‘, ABC, 3 December 2020 Brendon Kelson talks to Stephen Smiley and Angela Lavoispierre. Is there room at the Memorial to recognise both heroes and war

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Stuart, Nicholas: After the battle

Nicholas Stuart* ‘After the battle‘, Inside Story, 28 November 2020 Honest History has been closely following analyses of Brereton and the fallout. This below is one of the best pieces we have seen, particularly on our special interest of what

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Congratulations Stephen Gapps (The Sydney Wars) for winning Les Carlyon Award

Historian Stephen Gapps has been awarded the inaugural Les Carlyon Award by the Australian War Memorial. The award was for The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the Early Colony 1788-1817 (NewSouth 2018). The book ‘tells the history of military engagements between

Ian Buckley 1925-2020

Ian Buckley died recently in Canberra. Honest History never met Ian personally but was pleased to publish links to a number of his thoughtful and thoroughly researched pieces on war and peace and related matters: the history of the West;

Stephens, David: Getting beyond ‘our heroes’: a War Memorial angle on possible war crimes

Note: this collection of material grew from the flood of which David Stephens’ piece for Honest History on 19 November 2020 (‘Getting beyond “our heroes”: a War Memorial angle on possible war crimes’; click here) was one of the early

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Wareham, Sue: Let’s face it, Australia goes to war far too easily

Sue Wareham* ‘Let’s face it, Australia goes to war far too easily‘, Canberra Times, 15 November 2020 (pdf from our subscription) The imminent Brereton Report should get us thinking not just about possible war crimes but about the decisions we

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Open letter to Prime Minister opposing $498m War Memorial redevelopment: reply (signed by Director, War Memorial) received

Heritage Guardians organised this letter with over 70 signatures to the PM. A reply has come in, signed by the Director of the Memorial, and a copy is attached. You can make it bigger by zooming. Update 22 November 2020:

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Daley, Paul: Australia is in for a shock as war crimes investigation brings reality of war to the Anzac myth

Paul Daley ‘Australia is in for a shock as war crimes investigation brings reality of war to the Anzac myth‘, Guardian Australia, 13 November 2020 updated Update 23 November 2020: a further piece by Paul Daley. *** Places the imminent

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Environment Minister given an extension of time to make a decision on War Memorial project

This (pdf copy attached) has just landed on the Referrals list section of the website of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (2019/8574). The key words: The relevant period in which the Minister must make a decision whether

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War Memorial chairman Stokes prods PM on PWC progress on project

Update 3 December 2020: Rick Wilson MP elevated to Chair (entry for 3 December). *** It’s interesting what goes down at national ceremonies, even under Covid restrictions. Yesterday’s Guardian blog from Canberra, under the byline of Paul Karp, reported thus

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From the Honest History vault: A note on Paul Keating’s Remembrance Day Address 2013

There is a lot of material on the Honest History website about Remembrance Day; just use our Search engine with the term ‘Remembrance Day’. Seven years ago, former Prime Minister Keating made a speech on Remembrance Day. That speech, in

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From the Honest History vault: Trump as bullshitter-in-chief

As President Trump disappears gradually but inevitably into his own unreality bubble, it is worth recalling that Professor Harry Frankfurt, American philosopher and doyen of bullshit analysis – that’s the academic study of bullshit – revisited his earlier work in

McIlroy, Tom: Former veterans’ minister warns of War Memorial heritage risk

Tom McIlroy ‘Former veterans’ minister warns of War Memorial heritage risk‘, Australian Financial Review, 29 October 2020 (pdf from our subscription) Thoughts from the Hon. Alan Griffin, former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Rudd government. Griffin questions whether this

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Senate Estimates skate around the real issues with the Memorial’s big build

The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee spent 30 minutes on the War Memorial last evening and, while we wait for the Hansard, here are some points we picked up. Update 2 November 2020: Proof Hansard now available (pages

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Veterans’ jobs are a part of the War Memorial project but need to be put in context

Nine newspapers health reporter Rachel Clun has a piece today about how the $498m War Memorial project allows for jobs for veterans. Companies hoping to win work on the project must hire veterans or their family members, Clun writes, or

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‘Where are they putting the war crimes wing?’ Jon Kudelka cartoon in the Saturday Paper rolls up some important issues

Update 19 November 2020: David Stephens’ comment on Brereton report ties a few threads together.  Special Forces have been a thing at the Memorial for a while. It’s been all about not tearing down our heroes. Update 14 November 2020: Director,

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Stop this indulgent $498m project at the War Memorial! Open letter to the Prime Minister signed by over 70 Australians

Update 14 November 2020: Reply to the open letter. The reply is signed by the Director of the War Memorial. It overstates the extent of change to the project as a result of the consultation but asks everyone to accept

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Williams, Elliot: The $500 million Australian War Memorial expansion risks undermining Australia’s environment and heritage laws, architects say

Elliot Williams ‘The $500 million Australian War Memorial expansion risks undermining Australia’s environment and heritage laws, architects say‘, Canberra Times, 22 October 2020 updated (pdf from our subscription) Reports on long media release from Architects Institute of Australia, which called

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Stephens, David: War Memorial’s ‘Final Preliminary Documentation’ leaves many unanswered questions on $498m project: over to you, DAWE

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial’s “Final Preliminary Documentation” leaves many unanswered questions on $498m project: over to you, DAWE’, Honest History, 9 October 2020 updated As foreshadowed in our posts of 30 September and 2 October, the Australian War Memorial has

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McIlroy, Tom: Government’s heritage adviser warns against War Memorial redevelopment

Tom McIlroy ‘Government’s heritage adviser warns against War Memorial redevelopment‘, Australian Financial Review, 4 October 2020 updated (pdf from our subscription) Riffs off submission No. 152 to the Memorial’s EPBC Act consultation (Download Preliminary Documentation Public Comment). The Australian Heritage

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Memorial provides some guidance through bundle of EPBC Act material – but a clear majority of public comments received are against the $498m redevelopment project

We said earlier in the week that we were nearly at the stage of the War Memorial publishing its final preliminary documentation on the heritage and environmental impacts of its $498m redevelopment project. The documentation has now been published on

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Nearly there? Latest news from those responsible for the War Memorial heritage assessment process

Update 9 October 2020: Analysis of Memorial’s Final Preliminary Documentation. Update 1 October 2020: Parliamentary Library’s quick guide to the issues. It is out-of-date in one key respect (encroachment on Remembrance Park is not now part of the plan: need

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Susan Ryan AO 1942-2020

Susan Ryan, former Labor Senator and Minister, pioneer in sex discrimination legislation and other fields, died unexpectedly yesterday at the age of 77. A tribute in The Conversation from Chris Wallace (University of Canberra), one in Pearls and Irritations from Michael

Stephens, David: Afghanistan under the microscope – but not especially at the War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Afghanistan under the microscope – but not especially at the War Memorial’, Honest History, 21 September 2020 updated Update 7 October 2020: Author Ben McKelvey, author of book on Afghanistan war, talks to Phillip Adams on Late Night

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Option 4 is the way to go to have your voice properly heard on the War Memorial project: Advice to commenters on heritage aspects under EPBC Act

This advice is directed to the 167 people and organisations who provided comments to the Australian War Memorial on heritage aspects of its $498m redevelopment. It argues that you should ensure your comment is publicly available on the Memorial’s website.

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Australia’s settler-colonial art seen through the work of a Blue Mountains historian

People have painted and pictured Australia as long as they have been here. Comparatively recently though, since 1788, there has been what historian Dr Gary Werskey specialises in – settler-colonial art, particularly the work of AH (Albert Henry) Fullwood (1863-1930).

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Dunera stories as second volume is launched – and Honest History review is coming soon

We have often picked up references to the MV Dunera and its diaspora. Use our Search engine. We reviewed the first volume (Dunera Lives: A Visual History) of the Monash University Publishing pair of volumes. A review of the second

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Khaki all the way down: John Menadue and Bruce Haigh on Australian militarism

John Menadue’s website Pearls and Irritations continues to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. This week, Menadue himself posted a thoughtful piece, ‘Military and security agencies are eroding civil society‘. We are encouraged to celebrate the disastrous Gallipoli invasion

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Turnbull, Noel: Thank you for your service

Noel Turnbull ‘Thank you for your service‘, Noel Turnbull, 26 August 2020 Veteran author, communications specialist and journalist contrasts the Morrison government’s willingness to splurge on War Memorial build with its failings in dealing with the Productivity Commission report on

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Stephens, David: Performing Anzac: Brendan Nelson and the emotion of remembrance

David Stephens* ‘Performing Anzac: Brendan Nelson and the emotion of remembrance‘, Pearls and Irritations, 27 August 2020 Brief analysis of the rhetorical style of the former War Memorial Director, provoked by his recent insertion of himself into the debate over

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McIlroy, Tom: ‘Dangerous precedent’: Architects seek War Memorial redevelopment halt

Tom McIlroy ‘ “Dangerous precedent”: Architects seek War Memorial redevelopment halt’, Australian Financial Review, 23 August 2020 updated (Pdf from our subscription) Update 2 September 2020: In Financial Review letters, former Memorial officer, Stewart Mitchell, responds to Director Anderson (pdf

Monuments body, architects and professional historians make strong statements on War Memorial project

Friday brings a report of a letter to the Environment department from the Australian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to UNESCO. Tom McIlroy in the Australian Financial Review (pdf from our subscription)

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McKay, Jim & Karen Brooks: Toys for the boys: white men’s business at the War Memorial

Jim McKay & Karen Brooks ‘Toys for the boys: white men’s business at the War Memorial‘, Broad Agenda, 18 August 2020 Masculinity: Most cultural institutions in the national capital are facing austerity measures so crippling they can barely conduct their

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War Memorial $498m redevelopment project: accountability round-up – Public Works Committee and EPBC Act

Update 4 September 2020: Some clarification on stumbling War Memorial heritage process Advice from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), responsible for heritage, has made things clearer about the ‘privacy’ aspects below. Campaign diary, entry for 4

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Former War Memorial Director Gower responds to former War Memorial Director Nelson

Former War Memorial Director, Brendan Nelson, fired some barbs earlier this week at opponents of the Memorial redevelopment. An equally sharp response has come from another former Director, Steve Gower, in a letter to the Australian Financial Review. (Pdf from

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Public Works Committee inquiry into War Memorial development: Hansard transcript and supplementary submissions

The Public Works Committee website now carries the transcript from its public hearing on 14 July. The transcript includes testimony from a number of opponents of the Memorial redevelopment. Also posted are supplementary submissions from opponents, including former Memorial officer,

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Piggott, Michael: The Australian War Memorial should be for all Australians, not just veterans: submission regarding AWM Development Project

Michael Piggott* ‘The Australian War Memorial should be for all Australians, not just veterans: submission regarding AWM Development Project’, Honest History, 5 August 2020 (Note: This article was originally a submission to the Australian War Memorial on its ‘final preliminary

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Medical Association for Prevention of War resources on the War Memorial as supplicant of arms companies and as vainglorious builder

Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) has long been a critic of warmongering and related pathologies. (Use our Honest History search engine to find MAPW work on this site, including its curriculum material for school children.) MAPW’s website contains

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McKay, Judith & Don Watson: False premise, inappropriate process, unacceptable impact: submission to the Australian War Memorial on proposed redevelopment

Judith McKay & Don Watson* ‘False premise, inappropriate process, unacceptable impact: submission to the Australian War Memorial on proposed redevelopment’, Honest History, 4 August 2020 (Note: This article was originally a submission to the Australian War Memorial on its ‘final

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Stephens, David: ‘False premises’, ‘underplayed and glossed over’, ‘overblown claims and dodgy methodology’: Heritage Guardians takes a close look at War Memorial’s EPBC documentation

David Stephens* ‘”False premises”, “underplayed and glossed over”, “overblown claims and dodgy methodology”‘: Heritage Guardians takes a close look at War Memorial’s EPBC documentation’, Honest History, 2 August 2020 The Australian War Memorial’s ‘final preliminary documentation’ under the heritage provisions

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Kerry Stokes gets 12 more months on War Memorial Council – but will Tony Abbott step up as Chair?

Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Darren Chester, has announced that Kerry Stokes has been reappointed to the Australian War Memorial Council for 12 months. This short-term appointment – it’s usually three years – raises the question of whether there is a succession

Williams, Elliot: Australian War Memorial tells volunteers they can lose role if they speak publicly about redevelopment

Elliot Williams ‘Australian War Memorial tells volunteers they can lose role if they speak publicly about redevelopment‘, Canberra Times, 28 July 2020 (pdf of our subscriber copy) Update 1 September 2020: Paddy Gourley writes in CT Public Sector Informant (paywall

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Something for nothing: June edition of Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society is open access online

Covid-19 brings some benefits, after all. The Royal Australian Historical Society has kindly made its June edition open access and you can find it here. In this edition of JRAHS, you will find the following articles: The elusive Reginald Benjamin Levien:

Sue Salthouse: disability advocate and powerful force for change

Sue Salthouse, 2020 ACT Senior Citizen of the Year, 2015 Canberra Citizen of the Year, and 2014 ACT Senior Woman of the Year, died after a traffic accident on Monday. Sue was a passionate advocate for disability and other causes.

So much of Canberra’s history flows through and around our Lake

Lake Burley Griffin Guardians are trying to save Canberra’s iconic Lake Burley Griffin from development. Here is an informative flyer. 16 July 2020 Wikipedia

Snake oil and surveys: media coverage of Public Works Committee inquiry into War Memorial project

Yesterday’s hearing of the Public Works Committee threw up extensive media coverage by ABC TV (mark 22.0), AAP in lots of regional papers, ABC News, Canberra Times, Canberra City News, Guardian Australia, Sydney Morning Herald. Highlights were the testimony (against

McIlroy, Tom: “Shameful”: Ex-directors oppose War Memorial redevelopment

Tom McIlroy ‘”Shameful”; Ex-directors oppose War Memorial redevelopment’, Australian Financial Review, 13 July 2020 (pdf from our subscription) Quotes former Directors Gower and Kelson and Heritage Guardians’ David Stephens in advance of Public Works Committee. ‘Former bosses of the Australian

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Stephens, David: Timetable for War Memorial heritage consultation on $498m project – but what is wrong with this picture?

David Stephens* ‘Timetable for War Memorial heritage consultation on $498m project – but what is wrong with this picture?’ Honest History, 12 July 2020 Readers who have been using the lockdown or bad weather as a reason to stay indoors

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War Memorial expansion opponents appear before Public Works Committee, Tuesday, 14 July

The Public Works Committee (PWC) will hold a public hearing by teleconference next Tuesday, 14 July, into the Australian War Memorial Development Project. You can listen in on Parliament House Live. The hearing commences at 11.00am. Reflecting the fact that

Australian War Memorial $498m project: Public comments sought on heritage impacts: Time to say ‘No!’

The Australian War Memorial has placed on its website a mass of documentation on its proposed $498m extensions. There were also newspaper advertisements carrying the same information. Public feedback will be accepted up till 5 pm, Friday, 31 July. Readers

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Daley, Paul: The Australian War Memorial’s expansion money would be better spent on traumatised veterans

Paul Daley ‘The Australian War Memorial’s expansion money would be better spent on traumatised veterans‘, Guardian Australia, 3 July 2020 Update later: More than 85 comments by 6.00 pm AEST, most with thumbs up attached – and not one supporting

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Roundup of War Memorial project news – as Public Works and heritage examinations crank up

Heritage Guardians PWC submission No. 15 with 82 signatures; Heritage Guardians detailed PWC submission No. 40; all other PWC submissions. *** Update 2 July 2020: After a long delay, final preliminary documentation on heritage aspects under the Environment Protection and

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Dye, Josh & Nick Galvin: Fresh spotlight on War Memorial expansion after National Gallery cuts

Josh Dye & Nick Galvin ‘Fresh spotlight on War Memorial expansion after National Gallery cuts‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 June 2020 War Memorial project compared with cuts at National Gallery, National Library, and ABC. Notes that vast majority of Public

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Honest History E-newsletter No. 64: Special Edition, 22 June 2020

ISSN: 2202-5561 © Heritage Guardians campaign against unnecessary and extravagant $498m extensions to Australian War Memorial: progress report Heritage Guardians have made two submissions to the parliamentary Public Works Committee (PWC) inquiry into the War Memorial project. Submission No. 15

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, critical of spending on Australian War Memorial

Update 27 June 2020: Nine Newspapers story on contrast between largesse at War Memorial and cuts elsewhere. Update 25 June 2020: ‘With the exception of the Australian War Memorial, which will receive a controversial $500 million expansion, Australia’s national cultural organisations have

Four posts from Pearls and Irritations, an excellent non-MSM blog

Just posted today on Pearls and Irritations is historian, Henry Reynolds, on some history currently hitting the headlines, noting among other things how graffiti on statues got more coverage in some corners of the media than the destruction of an

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Frontier War stories on Boe Spearim podcast: adding to our knowledge of a bloody past

There is a lot of material on the Honest History site about the Frontier Wars and massacres of First Australians. Use our Search engine to find these posts or scroll through our special subject 2014-17, First Peoples. There’s also Jane

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Three reads for a wet weekend – including a long read on the orange elephant in the room of 2020

Inside Story, The Conversation and the New York Review of Books. All part of the mainstream media, but regularly carrying well-written, substantial think pieces, riffing off current events, but always with current relevance. Inside Story has a piece by Norman

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Shuffling of Large Technology Objects is nothing to worry about, says War Memorial

Earlier this week, workmen at the Australian War Memorial removed from adjacent to the Memorial’s Anzac Hall, a Bushmaster (a large armoured vehicle), an LAV-25 (a middle-sized armoured vehicle), and a Centurion Battle Tank. These artefacts were relocated on plinths

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Heritage Guardians submission now posted on Public Works Committee site asks some important questions about the mysterious genesis of the $498m War Memorial project

Heritage Guardians’ submission to the Public Works Committee inquiry on the Australian War Memorial project has been posted on the PWC site as Submission No. 40. (Earlier Heritage Guardians submission.) It opens thus: The Memorial can meet its obligations without

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Knaus, Christopher: Former war memorial heads join call to redirect $500m for ‘grandiose’ expansion to veterans

Christopher Knaus ‘Former war memorial heads join call to redirect $500m for “grandiose” expansion to veterans‘, Guardian Australia, 16 June 2020 Update 18 June 2020: Later Heritage Guardians submission. *** Eighty-two people sign submission to Public Works Committee inquiry (submission

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Stephens, David: From the Honest History vault: A serious look at what happened at Maralinga

David Stephens* ‘From the Honest History vault: A serious look at what happened at Maralinga’, Honest History, 15 June 2020 updated For those who find the ABC’s current offering, Operation Buffalo, a bit quirky – or just plain silly**, here

Anthony, Thalia & Stephen Gray: Was there slavery in Australia? Yes. It shouldn’t even be up for debate

Thalia Anthony & Stephen Gray ‘Was there slavery in Australia? Yes. It shouldn’t even be up for debate‘, The Conversation, 11 June 2020 Comprehensive catalogue of slavery in Australia, with slavery being defined as by the United Nations. Article 1

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Knaus, Christopher: ‘Deeply offensive’: Australian War Memorial urged not to renew BAE sponsorship

Christopher Knaus ‘“Deeply offensive”: Australian War Memorial urged not to renew BAE sponsorship‘, Guardian Australia, 5 June 2020 Update 25 June 2020: We understand from the Memorial that the BAE agreement does not in fact expire during June. We understand

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Stephens, David: Will the Australian War Memorial renew its ‘naming rights for donations’ deal with arms manufacturer BAE Systems?

David Stephens* Update 21 April 2022: Another dirty deal to go through, this time between War Memorial and Lockheed Martin, despite 300 veterans writing letters to Memorial against the deal. Chris Knaus again. Update 1 April 2022: Memorial response to

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From the Honest History vault: Whether a country is fascist is a matter of checking gauges, not ticking boxes

There have been suggestions that President Trump is or has become a fascist and that the United States itself is becoming a fascist state. As the 45th President himself says, ‘Maybe, maybe not’. But in assessing the state of play,

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National Library of Australia cuts back on Asian focus; contrast to War Memorial funding for expansion

ANU Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald last week about the National Library’s decision to cease collecting material on Japan, Korea and all of mainland Southeast Asia, retaining only some reduced acquisition of information on China, Indonesia

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Les Carlyon Literary Prize at the Australian War Memorial: $10 000 prize for first-time authors

We missed this earlier when it was announced in Anzac week, but here are the details. The prize will be awarded biennially for an author’s first book or major publication relating to Australian military history, Australian social military history, or

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High Court opens way to access to Queen-Kerr letters; now up to the National Archives

Update 16 June 2020: National Archives continues to delay. Update 3 June 2020: Chris Knaus in Guardian Australia on Archives’ disappointing first reaction. Update 2 June 2020: Daniel Sleiman in Eureka Street. Update 1 June 2020: Jenny Hocking in Pearls

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Congratulations to winners of AHA/Honest History Teacher Scholarship

This from the latest newsletter of the Australian Historical Association: The AHA would like to thank all who applied for the AHA/Honest History Teacher Scholarship. The scheme supports a secondary school History teacher to attend the annual Australian Historical Association Conference to

Honest History E-Newsletter No. 63, 27 May 2020: Special Edition

ISSN: 2202-5561 © Public Works Committee (PWC) Inquiry into $498m Australian War Memorial expansion program For the last 15 months, Honest History and Heritage Guardians have made the case against the War Memorial expansion project. A summary of our arguments

Fraser, Nancy, Susan Neiman, Thomas Piketty, and 3000 scholars from 600 universities around the world: Humans are not resources. Coronavirus shows why we must democratise work

Nancy Fraser, Susan Neiman, Thomas Piketty, and 3000 scholars from 600 universities around the world ‘Humans are not resources. Coronavirus shows why we must democratise work‘, Guardian, 16 May 2020 For a while (2014-17), Honest History ran ‘Inequality’ as a

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Stephens, David: Never the twain shall meet? Disturbing deep dive into documentation on War Memorial project

David Stephens* ‘Never the twain shall meet? Disturbing deep dive into documentation on War Memorial project’, Honest History, 19 May 2020 Honest History and Heritage Guardians are making submissions to the Public Works Committee inquiry on the War Memorial project

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Canberra Times exchange shows War Memorial extensions issues still unresolved

Heritage Guardians campaign diary follows the story from early 2019 of the campaign against the Memorial project *** The letters column of the Canberra Times has always been an arena of contest on live issues in the national capital –

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Inside track for War Memorial expansion project: Public Works Committee inquiry commenced

Update 9 May 2020 On the point about the two processes [Heritage and Public Works Committee], note that there will be 20 business days for public comment on ‘final preliminary documentation’ from the War Memorial on heritage aspects of the project, followed 

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Stephens, David: Afghanistan not underdone at Australian War Memorial (thanks to Boeing): a flaw in argument for extensions

Heritage Guardians campaign diary follows the story from early 2019 of the campaign against the Memorial project *** David Stephens* ‘Afghanistan not underdone at Australian War Memorial (thanks  to Boeing): a flaw in argument for extensions’, Honest History, 4 May

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Cook 250 years on: Paul Daley and others mark a necessarily low key anniversary

Update 4 May 2020: Henry Reynolds in Pearls and Irritations on Dutch voyages prior to Cook. Update 3 May 2020: Lynette Russell of Monash University on pre-Cook contacts. Update 1 May 2020: Nicholas Thomas in Inside Story. Update 30 April

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Twice as many New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli as once thought: conclusive new research

For many years after the Gallipoli campaign it was thought that just 8556 New Zealanders landed on the peninsula. Proportional casualty figures for New Zealanders were correspondingly higher. Then, four years ago, previously lost records were uncovered which suggested the

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Lest We Forget: a collection of Anzac-related articles from Guardian Australia, Inside Story and The Conversation

Paul Daley in Guardian Australia warns us against confusing the battle against coronavirus with the wars that are marked by Anzac Day. Those at the vanguard of resisting the coronavirus are not Anzacs. They are nurses, doctors, police, ambos, orderlies,

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Will Anzac Day 2020 give us time to think about why Australia goes to war? These pieces provide food for thought

Anzac Days in recent years have been notable for large crowds and occasional outbursts of triumphalism. With the quieter version this year might we have more time and head-space to ask the important questions: why does Australia go to war

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Griffith Review archive opened: classic 2015 edition on enduring legacies of the Great War

The excellent Griffith Review has done us all a great service by opening its archive to make available for a few days selected pieces from its classic edition 48 Enduring Legacies, first published in April 2015 (edited by Julianne Schultz

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From the Honest History vault for Anzac Day in the time of Coronavirus: Peter Stanley on Norfolk Island 2015

In April 2015, the then president of the then Honest History association, Professor Peter Stanley was so determined to get away from the centenary commemoration in extremis of Anzac Day that he went to Norfolk Island for a holiday. Here,

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From the Honest History vault for Anzac Day in the time of Coronavirus: Genevieve Jacobs at Wallendbeen 2014

We said earlier this week that the Coronavirus crisis perforce will give us a quieter Anzac Day in 2020. Quiet Anzac Days have not been unknown in the past and one such was at Wallendbeen, NSW, in 2014. Genevieve Jacobs,

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From the Honest History vault for Anzac Day in the time of Coronavirus: Anzackery is the bastard twin of a useful Anzac

Anzac Day 2020 will be very different from recent Anzac Days. For example, instead of the Dawn Service in Canberra, with thousands gathered outside the Australian War Memorial, there will be a few officials holding a service inside the building,

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Coronavirus slows momentum of $498m War Memorial extension project – and should allow another look

Heritage Guardians campaign diary follows the story from early 2019 of the campaign against the Memorial project *** Update 21 April 2020: The Riot Act on extended consultation period (more below). Quotes War Memorial official, Wayne Hitches, on timing. Hitches

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Megarrity, Lyndon: The recovery: technology and society

Lyndon Megarrity ‘The recovery: technology and society‘, Australian Policy and History, 9 April 2020 During the CV-19 pandemic, the use of Information Technology has enabled millions to work from home and gain some relief from social isolation while avoiding potential

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Wareham, Sue: Healthcare not warfare

Sue Wareham ‘Healthcare not warfare‘, Pearls and Irritations, 6 April 2020 updated Update 11 May 2020: Sue Wareham on the need to prioritise health care over defence spending. Update 23 April 2020: Allan Behm in Guardian Australia argues for a

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Amid the gloom, coronavirus points to new definitions of ‘security’: statement from Medical Association for Prevention of War

Update 17 April 2020: Sign the IPAN statement on healthcare not warfare. Many people are in very challenging circumstances right now. All of us at MAPW hope that you and your family are coping with the unparalleled disruption and uncertainty caused by the

Now that we have time to read: four literary approaches to pandemics

Apart from Psalm 91 and Revelation chapter 6 there is some relevant literature that might help keep readers occupied in current weeks: Samuel Pepys’ diary entries on the Great Plague of 1665: ‘One at the table told an odd passage

A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR: AN ARCHIVE OF COVID19

Join the Melbourne History Workshop in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne (melbournehistoryworkshop.com) in documenting these challenging times in Melbourne and around the globe. We are working with Mark Tebeau from Arizona State University and others by acting not just as

CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: Growing up with McCarthyism: Manning Clark House event, Canberra, 27 March

Three daughters of public figures harassed by ASIO talk about what it was like. Manning Clark House, Canberra, 27 March, 5.30 pm for 6.00 pm. Details and booking. 9 March 2020

A new documentary ‘Harbour Lights’ tells the story of a remarkable and forgotten group of women

In 1906 a pioneering women’s network called the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild was founded at the Mission to Seafarers in Melbourne, in support of sailors who risked their lives at sea. The Guild comprised philanthropic Melbourne society women who raised

New start date for new War Memorial Director

New Director of the Australian War Memorial, Matthew Anderson PSM, will not now take up duty until 14 April. The previous advice was that he would start during March. Advice from the Memorial now is that Assistant Director, National Collection,

The Brendan Nelson legacy at the Australian War Memorial: Heritage Guardians David Stephens and Sue Wareham on 3CR Melbourne

Heritage Guardians David Stephens and Sue Wareham spoke on air with 3CR’s Jan Bartlett on Tuesday this week. The broadcast is now available here (Stephens from mark 0.14; Wareham from mark 0.39) and runs for about 40 minutes. Most of

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Ken Inglis book to be launched by Tom Griffiths, Melbourne, 10 March

“I Wonder”: The Life and Work of Ken Inglis, edited by Peter Browne and Seumas Spark, is to be launched by historian Tom Griffiths at Readings, 309 Lygon Street, Carlton, Tuesday, 10 March at 6 for 6.30pm. More about the

Palmer, Charlotte (with David Stephens): Evidence-based interventions for PTSD related to military service: what is the role of the Australian War Memorial?

Charlotte Palmer* (with David Stephens**) ‘Evidence-based interventions for PTSD related to military service: what is the role of the Australian War Memorial?’ Honest History, 16 February 2020 This article adds to the material collected in the Heritage Guardians diary of

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From the Honest History vault: Diane Bell’s reviews of Tom Griffiths and Clare Wright

There are hundreds of book reviews on the Honest History site, but two of the most popular have been Diane Bell’s reviews of Tom Griffiths’ The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft and Clare Wright’s You Daughters of

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Canberra book launch, 3 March: Novel Politics by John Uhr and Shaun Crowe

Novel Politics: Studies in Australian Political Fiction, by Canberra’s Professor John Uhr and Dr Shaun Crowe, ‘takes the relationship between literature and politics seriously, analysing the work of six writers, each the author of a classic text about Australian society’.

New Morrison Ministry List available: 6 February 2020 edition

Following the most recent ministerial reshuffle, and last year’s changed portfolio arrangements (not due to take effect till now), a new Ministry List has been published and is available here. It has always been the ambition of the compilers of

From the Honest History vault: Another (timely) look at Professor Frankfurt on bullshit

Update 1 August 2023: Professor Frankfurt dead at 94; article in Inside Story from Brett Evans. *** Some time ago, Honest History came across the work of Professor Harry Frankfurt on bullshit. It was not a joke, but a serious

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Stephens, David: What will be the Nelsonian legacy at the Australian War Memorial?

David Stephens* ‘What will be the Nelsonian legacy at the Australian War Memorial?‘ Pearls and Irritations, 31 January 2020 Discusses whether Dr Nelson’s legacy will be the vast new exhibition space costing $500 million or the continuing habit at the

Honest History again helps a secondary teacher attend Australian Historical Association national conference

For the second year, a donation from Honest History will help a history teacher in a secondary school attend the Australian Historical Association national conference. Background to this award. Applications are open now and close on 13 March. Dr Alison

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Stephens, David: War Memorial picks up ‘small change’ donations from military industries

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial picks up “small change” donations from military industries’, Honest History, 28 January 2020 updated Over the years, Honest History has closely followed the donations the Australian War Memorial receives from the military industries, the manufacturers of

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Seccombe, Mike: All up in arms: close ties between government and military industries

Mike Seccombe ‘All up in arms: close ties between government and military industries‘, Saturday Paper, 25-31 January 2020 (paywall; full copy from the paper we bought!) Weaves together themes related to what has come to be called ‘the military-industrial-commemorative complex’:

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Brendan Nelson touches third base in military-industrial-commemorative complex: appointed as Boeing’s Pacific head

Dr Brendan Nelson, former Director of the Australian War Memorial and former Defence Minister, has been appointed Boeing’s President for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (Canberra Times, Defence Connect, Guardian Australia). Boeing is the world’s second largest arms

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Department of Environment says $500 million War Memorial development is ‘controlled action’ under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

Honest History (and others) have been following the approval processes for the War Memorial’s $500m. expansion program. We noted that the Memorial had made a Referral to the Department of the Environment and we argued that the War Memorial proposal

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Open letter from Australian historians on climate change, drought and bushfires: an important statement

The Australian Historical Association is urging all its members to sign an important Open Letter on the bushfires, drought, and climate change. The letter and link for AHA members to sign. Hundreds have signed already. The letter is a thoughtful

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Lyndall Ryan on massacres: Manning Clark House/National Library heads-up for 13 February

Manning Clark House, Canberra, and the National Library are presenting Emerita Professor Lyndall Ryan, talking about her work on mapping massacres of Indigenous Australians. It is on Thursday, 13 February, at 6pm at the National Library. Details are here with

Taking the long view of today’s bushfire crisis: miscellaneous sources

Update 17 January 2020: Daniel May in Inside Story. To burn or not to burn is the wrong question to ask. Update 16 January 2020: Kevin Tolhurst in The Conversation on the findings of previous bushfire inquiries – over fifty

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Custom-made guitar to be sold to raise money for bushfire victims

A luthier* of our acquaintance has recently made a beautiful electric guitar which he is offering for sale to raise funds for bushfire victims. There is a picture and explanation here (Instagram). This guitar was built using 100 per cent

Acting Director arrangements at Australian War Memorial

The War Memorial has advised about acting arrangements pending the arrival of the new Director, Matthew Anderson, in March. Assistant Director Corporate Services Leanne Patterson is acting from 25 December – 24 January 2020. Assistant Director Public Programs Anne Bennie

Stephens, David: Architects and doctors come down hard on War Memorial heritage arguments

David Stephens* ‘Architects and doctors come down hard on War Memorial heritage arguments’, Honest History, 18 December 2019 updated Spinners know how to make the best of a bad story. Australian War Memorial spokespersons, in spruiking the case for the

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Shields, Bevan: Incoming War Memorial boss defends massive redevelopment and new focus

Bevan Shields ‘Incoming War Memorial boss defends massive redevelopment and new focus‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December 2019 Incoming Director, Matt Anderson, supports plans for redevelopment, sounding rather like his predecessor, though Mr Anderson expresses willingness to talk to critics.

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New Director of War Memorial is former Ambassador to Afghanistan and author of children’s books about war

Update 16 December 2019: Interview with Mr Anderson. The Prime Minister and Minister Chester have announced that the new Director of the Australian War Memorial is to be Matthew Anderson PSM, currently Deputy High Commissioner in London. Mr Anderson has

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Hands off Anzac Hall! Change.org petition to save award-winning building at Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial’s Anzac Hall, less than 20 years old, won the Sir Zelman Cowen award for Australian public architecture. It is threatened with demolition as part of the Memorial’s $498m expansion program. There is a petition on Change.org

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Fewtrell, Terry: War Memorial needs a new Act, not a new building

Terry Fewtrell ‘War Memorial needs a new Act, not a new building’, Canberra Times, 5 December 2019 For an institution with the title “Australian War Memorial”, it is incomprehensible, and ultimately indefensible, for it not to recognise and commemorate the

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From the Honest History vault: Anachronism in Canberra as Department of Veterans’ Affairs survives machinery of government changes

Update 12 February 2020: Darren Chester MP remains as Minister, though now in Cabinet and with the title of ‘Veterans’ Affairs’ again, rather than ‘Veterans’, as he had been since May. The Prime Minister has announced machinery of government changes

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Stephens, David: Heritage values threatened, misleading documentation presented, gaming of the approvals process: the War Memorial’s (first) EPBC Act Referral on its $498m expansion program

David Stephens* ‘Heritage values threatened, misleading documentation presented, gaming of the approvals process: the War Memorial’s (first) EPBC Act Referral on its $498m expansion program’, Honest History, 5 December 2019 updated As foreshadowed, the Heritage Guardians group has provided a

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Support grows for Royal Commission into veterans’ suicide: we know where the money could come from

Update 19 April 2021: PM announces a Royal Commission. Update 12 February 2020: Petition is up to 285 000 names, but so far all that has been proposed is a ‘national commissioner’ not a Royal Commission. More. Later. Julie-Ann Finney

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‘Salami slicing’ in Canberra as War Memorial has two heritage referrals running at once: here are the details if you want to have a say

Make a comment on the current Australian War Memorial Referral under Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act; comments close 13 December 2019 (Department of the Environment and Energy website Referral No. 2019/8574). Attend War Memorial consultations on a future Referral

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Senator Steele-John speaks out on gunrunners’ donations to the Australian War Memorial

In Statements by Senators on 27 November, Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens, WA) said this: Senator STEELE-JOHN (Western Australia) (13:06): The Australian War Memorial is a vital national space of learning and of reflection. It is where our community pays its

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Nine Newspapers cock up op ed by Wing Commander (Ret’d): error or deception?

Update 2 December 2019: War Memorial website has been amended by addition of this para of biodata: Retired wing commander Sharon Bown is a nurse who served in Afghanistan and East Timor and is a member of the Australian War

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Stephens, David: From the Honest History vault: Lest We Forget Dr Chau Chak Wing, the War Memorial’s Chinese-Australian connection

David Stephens* ‘From the Honest History vault: Lest We Forget Dr Chau Chak Wing, the War Memorial’s Chinese-Australian connection’, Honest History, 27 November 2019 Update 3 February 2021: Dr Chau Chak Wing wins defamation case against ABC and Nine Newspapers,

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Stephens, David: National Capital Authority waves through Works Approval application for War Memorial carpark that is not – or is – part of the big $500m project

David Stephens* ‘National Capital Authority waves through Works Approval application for War Memorial carpark that is not – or is – part of the big $500m project’, Honest History, 23 November 2019 updated “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in

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Keane, Bernard: $500m splash on the War Memorial will help soldiers’ stress? Really?

Bernard Keane $500m splash on the War Memorial will help soldiers’ stress? Really?‘, Crikey, 22 November 2019 The URL says ‘Liberals hide behind PTSD to justify their military fetish’, which is an argument Heritage Guardians have used consistently in opposing

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War Memorial $500m project latest: Heritage referral now up for public comment

The War Memorial has referred its expansion plan to the Department of Environment and Energy for consideration under the heritage provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Comments are due in by 3 December, so people wishing to

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Gower, Steve: War Memorial overreach: spending $500m and they’ll demolish Anzac Hall

Steve Gower ‘War Memorial overreach: spending $500m and they’ll demolish Anzac Hall‘, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November 2019 Considered op ed by a former Director of the Australian War Memorial. The article mentions the Memorial’s reluctance to consult (and the

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Stephens, David: Architects’ “implacable opposition” to demolition of Anzac Hall at War Memorial: roundup following the big reveal

David Stephens* ‘Architects’ “implacable opposition” to demolition of Anzac Hall at War Memorial: roundup following the big reveal’, Honest History, 20 November 2019 Today brings a number of items – mostly in the Canberra media – following up the announcement

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Inequality – and innovation – should be front and centre in today’s Australia: new book from Andrew Leigh MP and Joshua Gans

‘The fundamental issue’, according to Nicholas Stuart in the Canberra Times, ‘is that the economic and social problems Labor was formed to combat back in 1891 are no longer relevant’. This is, of course, nonsense if we are talking about

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Stephens, David: Big reveal of War Memorial’s $500m expansion plans – as approval processes continue

David Stephens* ‘Big reveal of War Memorial’s $500m expansion plans – as approval processes continue’, Honest History, 19 November 2019 updated Update 20 November 2019: Follow-up stories. Yesterday saw the Prime Minister and others reveal further details of the Australian

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Remembrance Day roundup: Paul Daley (twice), Sue Wareham, Bart Ziino – and a handy pay rise for the War Memorial Council

Just some links in case you missed them. Paul Daley in Guardian Australia reminds us of the reality of war, which sugar-coated remembrance often glosses over, and suggests the $500 million for making a bigger Australian War Memorial would be

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Heritage Guardians submission to National Capital Authority on War Memorial carpark deplores gaming of approval systems by ‘salami slicing’ projects

Heritage Guardians has made a submission to the National Capital Authority’s public consultation on the Australian War Memorial’s Works Approval application for carparking associated with the Memorial’s $498m expansion. The consultation closed on 5 November. Update 23 November 2019: The

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Two Canberra book launch events: John Moses and Peter Overlack; Allen Mawer

On 12 November at 6.30 pm at the St Marks Centre, Canberra, Dr Michael Gladwin will launch First Know Your Enemy: Comprehending Imperial German War Aims and Deciphering the Enigma of Kultur, by John A. Moses and Peter Overlack. Details

Stephens, David: Dr Nelson says farewell to accountability: a burrow into Senate Estimates Hansard

David Stephens* ‘Dr Nelson says farewell to accountability: a burrow into Senate Estimates Hansard’, Honest History, 5 November 2019 updated We posted a brief round-up of the recent Estimates (23 October) hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence

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Senate Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy

Some readers will have missed – and others will have been following assiduously – the work of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on its Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy. The Committee is chaired by Victorian Labor

You Matter: The Australian Historical Association’s casualisation survey

Romain Fathi (Flinders University) and Lyndon Megarrity (James Cook University), members of the Executive of the Australian Historical Association, have completed a report to the Executive on casualisation in the teaching of history at Australian universities. The report is here

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National Capital Authority describes War Memorial project to Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories

On 17 October, officers of the National Capital Authority made their twice-annual appearance before Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories and the following exchange took place (pages 4-5 of the Proof Hansard): Mr SNOWDON [ALP]:

Stephens, David: War Memorial Director’s final appearance before Senate Estimates: some of what we found out

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial Director’s final appearance before Senate Estimates: some of what we found out’, Honest History, 27 October 2019 updated Update 5 November 2019: more analysis based on the Hansard. The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and

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New book looks back at the Anzac centenary: much-needed critical reflection on Great War commemoration

Update 16 December 2019: Review by Peter Stanley in Inside Story. Launching on Remembrance Day in Clunes, Victoria, is a new book from UNSW Press, The Great War: Aftermath and Commemoration, edited by Carolyn Holbrook and Keir Reeves. From the

Rally at Parliament House, Canberra, in support of press freedom and whistleblowers

(Honest History editor, David Stephens, is a member of MEAA, the union for journalists and related professions) Rally, Thursday, 24 October, 12.30 pm, Parliament House Lawns, Canberra. Details. More on the Witness K/Bernard Collaery case.

Stephens, David: War Memorial stirrings: Works Approval application for a car park; an Annual Report that giveth and taketh away; an exhibition about peace-keeping

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial stirrings: Works Approval application for a car park; an Annual Report that giveth and taketh away; an exhibition about peace-keeping’, Honest History, 18 October 2019 updated This week has seen a number of developments at the

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Dunera Association Melbourne event to mark 79 years

Update 20 July 2022: Dunera News No. 112, June 2022 Update 14 October 2021: Dunera News No. 111, October 2021 Update 7 July 2021: Dunera News No. 110, July 2021 Update 15 January 2021: Dunera News No. 109, January 2021.

Greeks and Kiwis together in World War II: Canberra presentation from Dr Martyn Brown

Dr Martyn Brown of the University of Queensland will be talking at the Hellenic Club, Canberra, on 23 October about his recently published book, Politics of Forgetting: New Zealand, Greece and Britain at War. Details here; admission free. Dr Brown

Wareham, Sue: Abbott – a natural fit for a war memorial sliding from commemoration to propaganda

Sue Wareham ‘Abbott – a natural fit for a war memorial sliding from commemoration to propaganda‘, Pearls and Irritations, 11 October 2019 From Heritage Guardians member, Sue Wareham, and follows earlier items in HG’s campaign against the $498m extensions to

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Daley, Paul: Military buff Tony Abbott is the wrong choice for the Australian War Memorial

Paul Daley ‘Military buff Tony Abbott is the wrong choice for the Australian War Memorial‘, Guardian Australia, 9 October 2019 updated The war memorial’s council lacks a professional historian and critics say it’s like a hospital being run by homeopaths

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McIlroy, Tom: Kerry Stokes guaranteed $500m War Memorial plan

Tom McIlroy ‘Kerry Stokes guaranteed $500m War Memorial plan‘, Australian Financial Review, 7 October 2019 (Pay-wall. Pdf copy made from open access version.) Story based on FOI material provided to Heritage Guardians and Honest History. Seven West chairman and Rich

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Stephens, David: War Memorial releases material under FOI relating to $498m expansion program: did a billionaire’s personal guarantee clinch the deal?

David Stephens* ‘War Memorial releases material under FOI relating to $498m expansion program: did a billionaire’s personal guarantee clinch the deal?’ Honest History, 4 October 2019 updated Update 5 November 2019: Dr Nelson’s final bow at Estimates gives more information

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No surprises here but an opportunity missed: Tony Abbott appointed to Australian War Memorial Council

A kite was flown a little time ago that Tony Abbott, former politician, former prime minister, former Rhodes Scholar, current iron man and polly-pedaller, would be given a spot on the Australian War Memorial Council. And so it has come

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Australia up and down the world gunrunners*’ league tables: latest SIPRI figures

Honest History has kept track of the internationally recognised figures on arms sales, as put out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The SIPRI figures have been particularly useful in reminding us how the Australian War Memorial seeks

Canberra events coming up: Paul Daley for MAPW on Australian militarism; Elizabeth Reid and others revisiting 1970s feminism

On 29 October, Guardian journalist and writer (and great friend of Honest History), Paul Daley, is speaking at the annual fundraising dinner of Medical Association for Prevention of War. His topic is ‘The Militarisation of Australian History and Culture’, and

War Memorial Director Nelson replies to former War Memorial Director Kelson on aspects of $498m extensions project

Heritage Guardian and former Australian War Memorial Director, Brendon Kelson, has received a reply, signed by current Director, Brendan Nelson, to Mr Kelson’s letter to Minister Chester regarding the War Memorial project. This letter makes a better fist of responding

Brewer, Peter: War Memorial’s former director urged that any changes to the important site be made to “hasten slowly” and with complete consultation

Peter Brewer ‘War Memorial’s former director urged that any changes to the important site be made to “hasten slowly” and with complete consultation‘, Canberra Times, 25 September 2019 updated Update 29 September 2019: A full version of Director Nelson’s letter

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From the Honest History vault: six months today since publication of open letter from 83 distinguished Australians opposing the $498m plan to extend the Australian War Memorial

On 23 March this year, the names of 83 distinguished Australians appeared on an open letter opposing the plan to extend the Australian War Memorial at a cost of $498m. The letter said this: The Australian War Memorial’s $498 million

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Two angles on Australia-US relations: leader comparisons and official visits

Canberra author Stephen Holt, writing in the Canberra Times, has found some interesting comparisons between President Trump and former New South Wales premier (1925-27, 1930-32), Jack Lang. Among Holt’s forensic work there is this: At his height Lang’s style was

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War Memorial opens Mitchell ‘garage’ for one day of the year – but could do so much more with it

Online paper The Senior picked up some Australian War Memorial promotional material about the Memorial’s renewed (first time since 2016) annual opening (5 October) of its Mitchell A.C.T. annexe to show off the large technology objects (planes, helicopters, tanks and

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Daley, Paul: We demean our history when we turn the Australian War Memorial into Disneyland

Paul Daley ‘We demean our history when we turn the Australian War Memorial into Disneyland‘, Guardian Australia, 5 September 2019 Uses letter from former Memorial Director Brendon Kelson to Minister Chester to make some trenchant points about the proposed extensions

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Quite big enough, thank you! Recent developments in the Heritage Guardians campaign against the $498 million War Memorial extensions – and Nelson waves farewell

The announcement of the impending departure of Australian War Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, was linked with reminders of his and his Council’s plans to expand the Memorial at a cost of $498 million over a number of years. Our

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Daley, Paul: Who should lead the Australian War Memorial?

Paul Daley ‘Who should lead the Australian War Memorial?‘ ArtsHub, 2 September 2019 Criticises the suggestion that Tony Abbott might become Director of the Memorial, or even (perhaps) join its Council. Like Anzac, the memorial has been immune to political

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ABC News: Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson to step down from top job at end of year

ABC News ‘Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson to step down from top job at end of year‘, ABC News, 15 August 2019 Covers announcement by Director to staff, announcement by Minister, statement by Leader of the Opposition. An end

Senate Committee inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy is a chance to put views on what is important in our past, present and future

The Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has set up an inquiry into nationhood, national identity, and democracy. The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is ​30 September 2019. The inquiry is an opportunity for those who, like Honest History

Stephens, David: Abbott wrong fit for War Memorial Council, says campaigner opposing AWM expansion

David Stephens ‘Abbott wrong fit for War Memorial Council, says campaigner opposing AWM expansion‘, The Riot Act, 7 August 2019 updated Comment on the kite flown about possible appointment of Tony Abbott to the War Memorial Council. (Update 1 October

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Dingwall, Doug: Australian War Memorial reverses plan to build on nature park

Doug Dingwall ‘Australian War Memorial reverses plan to build on nature park‘, Canberra Times, 6 August 2019 Front page story on hard copy. Reports that the Memorial has decided to confine its expansion-related car parking to the current boundaries of

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Graham Freudenberg AM 1934-2019

Eminent Australian speechwriter and adviser, Graham Freudenberg, died this morning in Brisbane after a long illness. There are obituaries from former colleagues Susan Ryan, Carol Summerhayes and Eric Walsh on John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations blog, including mention of the

Ann Moyal AM 1926-2019

Update 28 July 2019: Ann’s family have advised that there will be a celebration of her life in the Peninsula Room of the National Museum of Australia on Friday 9 August at 2:00 pm. Please rsvp to Angus Rea, area@argolis.com.au.

Llewellyn, Richard: The Australian War Memorial Redevelopment Program: the “Mitchell Option” reassessed

Richard Llewellyn ‘The Australian War Memorial Redevelopment Program: the “Mitchell Option” reassessed‘, Honest History, 22 July 2019 updated [For the context to this paper, go to the Heritage Guardians campaign diary, which includes an earlier paper by Richard Llewellyn.] Update

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War Memorial opens up about early works at Campbell, particularly car parking

The Australian War Memorial is to hold a ‘drop-in session’ next Wednesday, 24 July, from 4 pm to explain its plans for ‘early works’ associated with its proposed $498m extensions. Details. Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said the first stage

Productivity Commission report on veterans’ services also has something to say on Australian War Memorial

The Productivity Commission has recently provided its final report to the Australian Government on compensation and rehabilitation for veterans. The report is in two volumes under the title A Better Way to Support Veterans. While much of the focus of

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Dunera Association website gives an insight into an important part of Australia’s wartime history – and our history since

The Dunera Association has just launched its website. In May and June 1940, Winston Churchill’s government detained thousands of ‘enemy or dangerous aliens’, previously determined not to be a risk, in the belief that this would stop any spies among

Tune Review of National Archives attracts thoughtful submissions on the future of this important cultural institution

Update 24 February 2020: Jenny Hocking in Griffith Review on the ‘Palace letters’ from 1975 and other issues to do with the Archives. The National Archives of Australia is being reviewed by former senior official, David Tune, on behalf of

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Stephens, David: Strengthening the RSL link is not the most pressing need for the War Memorial Council

David Stephens* ‘Strengthening the RSL link is not the most pressing need for the unrepresentative and anachronistic War Memorial Council’, Honest History, 30 June 2019 updated During the recent election campaign, New South Wales President of the RSL, James Brown,

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O’Mallon, Finbar: War memorial risks becoming a “theme park”: former director

Finbar O’Mallon ‘War memorial risks becoming a “theme park”: former director‘, Canberra Times, 24 June 2019 Interview with former Director Brendon Kelson, referring to his letter to the Prime Minister regarding the proposed Memorial extensions. Mr Kelson offers the Memorial’s

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Llewellyn, Richard: The Australian War Memorial extensions: a critique of the design choice

Richard Llewellyn ‘The Australian War Memorial extensions: a critique of the design choice‘, Honest History, 24 June 2019 Richard Llewellyn held the senior position of Registrar at the Australian War Memorial from 1986 to 1995. His paper (almost 8700 words)

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Stanley, Peter: Reading the Act: what is the Australian War Memorial for?

Peter Stanley ‘Reading the Act: what is the Australian War Memorial for?‘ Pearls and Irritations, 19 June 2019 Argues that the Australian War Memorial Act 1980 sets out the responsibilities of the Memorial and that providing a ‘therapeutic milieu’ for

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Dr Alison Bedford awarded AHA-Honest History Conference Teacher Scholarship

Some time ago, the then Honest History Association agreed to donate $800 to the Australian Historical Association. The money came from royalties from The Honest History Book and a similar donation went to Professional Historians Australia. Background. The AHA has

Bye, Clarissa: Military heroes in fight of their lives as more veterans die through suicide

Clarissa Bye ‘Military heroes in fight of their lives as more veterans die through suicide‘, Daily Telegraph, 16 June 2019 Continues a campaign by Daily Telegraph, including editorially, for a Royal Commission into suicide of Australian Defence Force veterans. Earlier

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Stephens, David: Moves to rejig Advance Australia Fair words could lead to refurbishing at Australian War Memorial

David Stephens* ‘Moves to rejig Advance Australia Fair words could lead to refurbishing at Australian War Memorial’, Honest History, 6 June 2019 There is interest in changing a line of the National Anthem from ‘for we are young and free’

Inside Story has some highlights for the beginning of Winter: from social inequality to electoral imponderability

We at Honest History like to keep up with recent numbers of periodicals and journals – particularly those not too badly afflicted by paywalls. We will post shortly a review by Michael Piggott of the first edition of the Australian

ANU looks at the recent ‘unlosable election’ by comparison with some others of similar ilk

ANU colleagues are spending 90 minutes on Friday trying to unravel the events of 18 May. It’s on Friday this week, 4.00 pm in Roland Wilson at ANUI, with Nicholas Brown, Frank Bongiorno, Jill Sheppard, Maria Taflaga and Joshua Black.

Ministerial changes minor as Coalition settles down for another term

The Prime Minister has announced portfolios, with Ministers to be sworn in later in the week. The Hon. Darren Chester MP remains as Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, with a slight tweak in his title, though the department is

Knaus, Christopher: Brendan Nelson warned to avoid “potential conflict” of paid role with Thales

Christopher Knaus ‘Brendan Nelson warned to avoid “potential conflict” of paid role with Thales‘, Guardian Australia, 24 May 2019 Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show that the then Minister, Senator Ronaldson, warned War Memorial Director Nelson of potential conflicts

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Australian Historical Association/Honest History AHA Conference Teacher Scholarship

Applications are open for the Australian Historical Association/Honest History AHA Conference Teacher Scholarship which supports a secondary school History teacher to attend the annual Australian Historical Association Conference to promote engagement between History teachers and the broader historical community. Details

Not many people know this: Bob Hawke and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Update 17 May 2019: Open letter from Hawke to Australians Update 17 May 2019: Jack Waterford in Canberra Times Bob Hawke went to the great Caucus in the sky today and condolences to his family and the Labor Movement and

Museums and the working class: call for papers

Adele Chynoweth from the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies has been invited by Routledge to submit a proposal for an edited peer-reviewed collection provisionally entitled Museums and the Working Class. She is calling for papers: expression of interest at your

Nutritious Anzac Day fare from non-mainstream media: Eureka Street, Pearls & Irritations, The Conversation

Andrew Hamilton from Eureka Street looks at the lessons from New Zealand, following the Christchurch massacre. When Australians think of Anzac Day, we normally focus on the initial Big A and not on the small nz.  It remains a day

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Knaus, Christopher: Brendan Nelson denies ‘conflict of interest’ after passing on fees from arms firm to war memorial (with Comment)

Christopher Knaus ‘Brendan Nelson denies “conflict of interest” after passing on fees from arms firm to war memorial‘, Guardian Australia, 24 April 2019 updated Article in the Guardian‘s ‘Transparency Project’ series looks at Director Nelson’s receipt of fees from arms

Marilyn Lake’s new book reviewed by Clare Wright: Australia was much more than Anzac – and well before it, too

Sometimes things come together just right. Such was the case when Nine (Fairfax) got Clare Wright to review Marilyn Lake’s new book Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform. Wright is most recently the author

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Daley, Paul: Both major parties were suckerpunched into supporting the $500m war memorial expansion

Paul Daley ‘Both major parties were suckerpunched into supporting the $500m war memorial expansion‘, Guardian Australia, 22 April 2019 updated One of the signatories of the open letter against the War Memorial extensions provides a passionate but well-reasoned analysis of

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ANU Historical Journal revived and relaunched: 16 May event in Canberra

Thursday, 16 May at 5.15 pm, the new Harry Hartog bookshop in the gleaming new Kambri precinct at ANU will see the launch of ANU Historical Journal II. Professor Nicholas Brown will do the honours and the guest speaker will

Stephens, David: Architects dig in against Australian War Memorial extensions; mixed messages from the Memorial; odd perspective from the ABC

David Stephens* ‘Architects dig in against Australian War Memorial extensions; mixed messages from the Memorial; odd perspective from the ABC’, Honest History, 12 April 2019 updated Philip Leeson, ACT Chapter President of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), told ABC

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Stephens, David: A free kick from the ABC and an opportunity missed at Senate Estimates: when does the use of a name become a naming right?

David Stephens* ‘A free kick from the ABC and an opportunity missed at Senate Estimates: when does the use of a name become a naming right?’ Honest History, 11 April 2019 updated Senate Estimates this week were something of a

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Stephens, David: Thoughts of the people against the War Memorial’s grandiose extensions project

David Stephens* ‘Thoughts of the people against the War Memorial’s grandiose extensions project’, Honest History, 8 April 2019 On 23 March, the Canberra Times carried a story about an open letter from 83 distinguished Australians opposing the plan to spend

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Aboriginal resilience-building app uses Warlpiri tradition and wisdom to guard against suicides

Two years ago we had a post about crowd-funding an app to help prevent young Indigenous Australians from suiciding. It is great to hear that the Kurdiji 1.0 Aboriginal resilience building app is now available as a free download from

Appin Massacre memorial service to be held on 14 April

A post in Catholica by Keiran Tapsell reminds us that on 14 April there will be a memorial service for the Appin Massacre of 1816. The post links to some information put out by Campbelltown Council about the service. The

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Parliamentary committee recommends national resting place for Indigenous remains – but resists temptation to push hard for corporate dollars for national institutions

Update 20 May 2019: Paul Daley in Guardian Australia makes a useful comparison. Update 17 April 2019: Gina Fairley in ArtsHub comments. Update 5 April 2019: Canberra Times story on the puzzlement of MOADOPH on what the report said about

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Budget 2019: War Memorial’s inside track once again plus still more spending on World War I centenary

Update 4 April 2019: a perceptive Budget comment in Eureka Street from Esther Anatolitis. Australian War Memorial Last night’s Budget had better news for the Australian War Memorial than for other national cultural institutions. The Budget provides for 12 extra

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Open letter in support of award-winning journalist and author Behrouz Boochani

Sign the open letter; more than 900 have signed already WE, the undersigned, write this letter as Australian journalists, writers, editors, publishers, academics, and lovers of literature, to call for our colleague and fellow award-winning journalist and author, Behrouz Boochani,

Shuffling the brass on the Australian War Memorial Council: Air Marshal Hupfeld takes a seat

The government has announced the appointment of Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld as Chief of Air Force, to replace Air Marshal Leo Davies. Air Marshal Hupfeld will take up his position on 1 July. The Chief of Air Force ex officio

Opposition to War Memorial’s $498 million extensions grows; more than 80 distinguished Australians sign letter

For the continuing campaign against the extensions, go here. Today’s Canberra Times has a front page story headed ‘Chorus against war memorial expansion’. The story is also online: SMH, Canberra Times, Age. And Guardian Australia. 2CC Canberra. There was extensive

What would Ataturk have thought? Here comes that Anzac season again, this time courtesy of their Erdogan and our Morrison

President Erdoğan of Turkey seems to be backpedalling a bit on his remarks about sending Australian tourists back in coffins, just like in 1915. Earlier, Prime Minister Morrison quoted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s alleged words about Australian-Turkish unity in death, implying

Daley, Paul: ‘A big jump’: people might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought

Paul Daley ‘“A big jump”: people might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought‘, Guardian Australia, 11 March 2019 Extensive archaeological research in southern Victoria has again raised the prospect that people have lived in Australia for

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War Memorial Mount Ainslie land grab attracts opposition in Canberra

The Canberra Times (Doug Dingwall) has an article today on opposition to the Australian War Memorial’s plans to take land in the Remembrance Nature Park for builders’ sheds and later permanent car parking. Richard Thwaites, son of Honor and Michael

AHA Conference Call for Papers extended to 12 March 2019

The next Australian Historical Association conference is on 8-12 July 2019 at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. The Call for Papers has been extended to 12 March 2019 (details below). Honest History recently donated $800 to help secondary

Pedal along to The Bikes of Wrath, an imaginative Australian doco following the Steinbeck trail across the US

A while ago, we gave a plug to a nascent Australian documentary, The Bikes of Wrath, which followed the trail of five Australians peddling across a great swathe of the United States taking the same route taken by John Steinbeck’s

Canberra Times poll shows strong opposition to War Memorial’s land grab of Remembrance Nature Park

A Canberra Times Insider poll asked ‘Should the Australian War Memorial be allowed more land at the base of Mount Ainslie for eventual use as carparking?’ The results were printed in today’s paper: Yes: 34 per cent; No: 54 per

Opposition growing to Australian War Memorial’s ‘Brendanbunker’: watch this space

We have reported previously on the proposed $500 million extensions to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. (Use our Search engine with terms like ‘extensions’, ‘grandiose’, and ‘Brendanbunker’.) Additional estimates hearings in the Parliament last week had more discussion (from

Now you don’t see it, now you do: up early at Villers-Bretonneux

The Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Major General Liz Cosson (Ret’d) told Senate Estimates last week (pp. 139-40 of the Proof Hansard) that the Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux, Anzac Day 2019, would not be held. Instead, there would

Honest History contributor John A. Moses is co-author of a new book on World War I

Update 25 April 2019: Salvatore Babones writes in Quadrant, among other things referring to the Moses-Overlack book. *** John A. Moses (with Peter Overlack) has written First Know Your Enemy: Comprehending Imperial German War Aims & Deciphering the Enigma of

Dr Brendan Nelson to continue as War Memorial Director till end of 2019

Minister Chester has announced that the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson AO has been reappointed as Director of the Australian War Memorial until 31 December 2019. Dr Nelson’s previous term expired on 30 May 2019. Dr Nelson has also been conferred

Honest History makes donations from book royalties to support secondary school history teachers and early career professional historians

Honest History makes donations from book royalties to support secondary school history teachers and early career professional historians Update 18 June 2019: Dr Alison Bedford is awarded the inaugural AHA/Honest History scholarship. Update 22 May 2019: Applications open for first

Tourism and military history – and Peter FitzSimons – in Darwin in April (plus commemorative tourism in February)

Update 12 February 2019: there’s to be an ’emotive’ concert on 24 April. Update 3 February 2019: Minister spruiks the Territory’s turbocharging of military tourism. ‘Military buffs will be lured to the Territory for the inaugural Territory Tribute event series,

Australia Day honours for Honest History’s Frank Bongiorno and Alison Broinowski

Congratulations to Honest History President, Professor Frank Bongiorno, and Vice President, Dr Alison Broinowski, both of whom became Members of the Order of Australia (AM) in Australia Day Honours announced today. Frank, Head of the School of History at ANU,

Humphrey McQueen and Celeste Liddle – and lots of others – on Australia Day

Here is a link to a piece by Humphrey McQueen just published in Overland (though a version of it appeared two years ago on the Honest History site). McQueen takes a fresh approach to the long-running issues surrounding Australia Day.

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1919 influenza pandemic to be considered in Sydney symposium, 16 February

The 1919 influenza pandemic had effects at least as profound as the Great War that preceded it. The City of Sydney and the Royal Australian Historical Society are running a symposium ‘Flu frenzy: Taming the 1919 Influenza Pandemic’ on Saturday,

DVA change affects commemoration administration

Minister Chester has announced the appointment of Brigadier Paul Nothard (Ret’d) to the statutory position (under the War Graves Act 1980) of Director of the Office of Commonwealth War Graves. Brigadier Nothard will also take up the position of National

War Memorial releases report on public consultation for $500 million extensions

The Australian War Memorial has released a brief report on the consultations it undertook in relation to the proposed extensions to the Memorial. Here is a copy. Key points: Feedback was received from 134 individuals. Participants were fairly evenly spread

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Miller, Nick: If you could put a price on WWI fallen, it wouldn’t be $100 million

Nick Miller ‘If you could put a price on WWI fallen, it wouldn’t be $100 million‘, The Age, 5 December 2018 updated An FOI claim on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs reveals that visitor numbers to the Monash centre at

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Congratulations to Honest History committee member, Dr Carolyn Holbrook, successful applicant for Australian Research Council grant

Dr Carolyn Holbrook, Alfred Deakin Research Fellow at Deakin University and a member of the Honest History committee, has been awarded an Australian Research Council Early Career Researcher Award for a study of attitudes towards federation since 1901. Congratulations to

Jay Winter to deliver Ken Inglis Memorial Lecture in Canberra, 12 December

Distinguished historian of memory, Jay Winter, will deliver the first Ken Inglis Memorial Lecture in Canberra on 12 December. Details and RSVP. Professor Winter is from Yale University and was co-author with Professor Inglis on Dunera Lives: a Visual History.

More parting shots for the Armistice centenary (mostly from the non-mainstream media)

Scott Bennett in Inside Story on whether war memorials hide more than they reveal. His book is The Nameless Names: Recovering the Missing Anzacs. Paul Daley in Guardian Australia marks the passing of ‘Peak Anzac’, and he says this is

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Honest History 5 years symposium: ‘Presenting, choosing, measuring, changing history’

Update 20 November 2018: Francesca Beddie of Professional Historians Australia NSW writes about the symposium. More than one hundred souls turned out for the Honest History symposium in Canberra on 8 November. The tone was set by a heartfelt and

Armistice Day: three non-mainstream media posts for the centenary, plus Paul Kelly on familiar territory

The Conversation almost counts as mainstream media these days, but its offerings are often far from run of the mill. Flinders University historian, Romain Fathi, has a concise and excellent piece on the Armistice to add to his earlier explainer

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Silent Peace Vigil set for Canberra on Remembrance Day morning

Uniting behind the message ‘Honour them – promote peace’, Canberra citizens will hold a silent peace vigil across the road from the Australian War Memorial, commencing 10.30 am on Sunday, 11 November. Here are the details. ‘We will’, say the

‘Thank you for your service’: recent outbursts of faux patriotism well dealt with on non-mainstream media

In the course of little more than a week leading up to the centenary of the Armistice of 1918, we have seen and heard announcements about discount cards and lapel pins for veterans, a massive capital funding boost for the

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Government commits to $500 million extensions to Australian War Memorial – and $11 million for veterans’ discount card and lapel pin

The Prime Minister today announced a project to extend the Australian War Memorial. Guardian Australia. Memorial publicity. PM’s presser. PM with Alan Jones. Largesse for Memorial contrasts with financial struggles for other cultural institutions. Jack Waterford in Fairfax. Architects’ view.

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Canberra launch of Clare Wright’s You Daughters of Freedom: the author in conversation with Michael Brissenden (ABC)

The Canberra launch of You Daughters of Freedom is at Paperchain Manuka on the evening of 7 November. Details and booking arrangements. Review of the book for Honest History by Diane Bell. More on the book. 26 October 2018

The People’s Passion: Chorus of Women event for 11 November in Canberra

Canberra choir, A Chorus of Women, presents a new retelling of Glenda’s Cloughley’s community oratorio, A Passion for Peace, about the 1915 International Congress of Women and the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. It is

Lists out for Most Underrated Book Award, Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism, Walkley Documentary Award

This week was ‘lists week’ in the media. This is an area of particular interest to Honest History because, more than ever, journalism and small-run publications are presenting the first draft of history. First, the Small Press Network announced the

Honest History highlight: this perceptive analysis of Anzackery has particular South Australian resonance

Bernard Whimpress’s 2006 paper on ‘Creeping Anzacism’ has been on our site since 2013 (although we now have a version of it with footnotes, thanks to the author). We draw attention to the paper again for two reasons, first, because

A wide-angle lens on Great War commemoration: a German scholar speaks in Canberra

Australian commemoration of war tends to be fairly parochial. We know much, much more about what Australians did in our wars (even when these actions had only marginal effect on war objectives) than about the broad sweep of these wars,

News from Fort Campbell ACT 2612: Charles Bean Western Front diaries launched; Remembrance Day peace demonstration stopped

Yesterday saw the launching of a volume of Charles Bean’s Western Front diary entries. Present at the Australian War Memorial were the Deputy Prime Minister, the editor of the volume, Peter Burness, Bean’s grand-daughter, Ms Anne Carroll, and the Memorial

Historian Clare Wright’s Canberra appearances, 17 October and 8 November

You Daughters of Freedom, a new book by distinguished historian Clare Wright, is to be published shortly by Text. Subtitled The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World, the book describes the struggle in the years 1902 to

Death of distinguished historian, Emeritus Professor John Molony

Honest History notes the death on 16 September of Emeritus Professor John Molony, distinguished historian across a wide range of subjects. He was 91 years of age. There is a notice in the Melbourne Age and in the Canberra Times.

$1,271,473.76 is the amount the Australian War Memorial admits receiving over three years in donations from military and defence firms

During Budget Estimates hearings, then Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (NSW) asked Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, how much the Memorial had received in donations from military and defence firms. The answer covered the years 2015-16, 2016-17,

Which Bishop moves to represent the Queen?

News today that the current governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove – not ‘Sir Bill Cosby’, as a TV caption during the political crisis had him, but everyone was busy and the captioning robot wasn’t the only entity on autopilot – intends

Fathi, Romain: World politics explainer: the Great War (WWI)

Romain Fathi ‘World politics explainer: the Great War (WWI)‘, The Conversation, 3 September 2018 updated The article describes: the global conflict that was the Great War: the death toll of over ten million soldiers and six million civilians; the subsequent

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Christina Twomey (Honest History distinguished supporter) wins NSW Australian History Prize for her book The Battle Within

The Australian History Prize in the NSW Premier’s History Awards for 2018 has been awarded to Christina Twomey of Monash University for her book The Battle Within: POWs in Postwar Australia, published by NewSouth. Congratulations to Professor Twomey, who is

Growing up in Australia 1901-39: PhD candidate Emily Gallagher on the lookout for evidence; can you help?

Emily Gallagher is doing a PhD at ANU on the history of play and folklore in Australia over the years 1901-39. The era of ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and ‘Drop the hanky’ and much more besides. Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey c. 1916

Australia’s wars behind the khaki gloss: Peter Monteath’s new book to be launched at National Library

We are always seeing books telling ‘previously untold’ stories about our wars. This one deserves the description more than most: Peter Monteath’s Captured Lives: Australia’s Wartime Internment Camps, from NLA Publishing. The author will be giving a lecture (NLA fourth floor

History and its use and abuse in politics: Canberra workshop coming up, 5 September (and audio of Chris Uhlmann lecture)

Funnily enough, given the deja vu-ness of this week’s events in Canberra, some experts are getting together on 5 September to look at the use and abuse of history in the political process. Details are here. Speakers include Honest History

Guilt and hagiography: Bongiorno and Stanley quoted on Brendan Nelson and Ben Roberts-Smith

Michael Bachelard, Fairfax investigative reporter, has a piece today quoting, among others, Honest History president, Frank Bongiorno, and past-president, Peter Stanley, on the inappropriateness of recent comments by War Memorial Director, Brendan Nelson, regarding the investigation into Ben Roberts-Smith VC.

Congratulations to Meredith Lake, 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year for The Bible in Australia

This award was announced today in Books and Publishing. Douglas Hynd reviewed the book for Honest History. We thought the cover was pretty good, also. 17 August 2018

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