E-Newsletter No. 10, 24 February 2014

ISSN:2202-5561 © Honest History Inc. 2014

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New on the website

Michael Piggott reviews the Anzac Voices exhibition at the Australian War Memorial and praises its use of archival material.

Peter Stanley reviews James Brown’s Anzac’s Long Shadow and says the book makes similar points to those made by Honest History. The review includes great illustrations from the AWM collection. We also provide links to media coverage of the book.

We have an interview with Norman Abjorensen of the ANU, who is writing a book on prime ministerial exits, plus his draft chapter on the exit of our first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton.

Peter Stanley again takes up the Jauncey blogger pen to consider whether military historians have sold their soul to the devil and helped make Australians more bellicose.

We have added a few more biographical gems on the many-faceted Leslie and Beatrice Jauncey.

Centenary Watch

We analyse Anzac Centenary Minister Ronaldson’s second despatch on the centenary program. Is this really ‘the most important period of national commemoration in this nation’s history’? Meanwhile, the AWM launched its centenary logo, there was public comment on it, a retired Major General is to organise the centenary travelling exhibition (another retired MAJ GEN runs commemoration in the Department of Veterans Affairs), the Memorial sticks to its guns on not commemorating the dead in the frontier wars but has a special day to commemorate the role of animals in war.

Fortnightly on the ABC

The Honest History segment on ABC Local Radio AM 666 Canberra and online continues on Tuesdays at around 10.00 am. Joan Beaumont and Frank Bongiorno have batted so far and the next session is on 4 March, shafting shibboleths and busting myths.

Honest History gigs

Honest History is providing speakers for the following during March and April: Vintage Reds (ACT Retired Progressive Trade Unionists), Pax Christi NSW, Canberra Peace Convergence, Manning Clark House Anzac seminar, Remembering and Healing-City of Lismore Anzac service, and Southern Cross University, Lismore. If you would like an Honest History speaker please contact us.


We are gradually adding new items to the Resources section of the website and our thanks to Adele Chynoweth, Adam Hughes Henry and Tom O’Lincoln, among others, who have suggested items for inclusion. We will get them written up as quickly as we can. Please browse the Resources section and suggest new material that should be there. We welcome the wisdom of crowds!


Follow us on Twitter @honesthistory1 where we tweet daily Twistory (unravelling the many strands of Australian history a century ago) and make the occasional pithy comment.


Situational awareness

We reported last time last time a minor skirmish with a Coalition MP, which introduced us to the term ‘situational awareness’. (The  MP accused the ABC of lacking this attribute in its reporting of the launch of the Honest History website.). The term seems to come from the same play-book as ‘basic affection for our home team‘ and has now been used about Honest History itself when a senior government official suggested we also lack the attribute. The term may come into vogue as the Great War centenary rolls on. It translates in this context as ‘pull your head in while the rest of us get stuck into some patriotic commemorative exercises’. The critics seem not to have noticed that our mantra or motto is ‘Not only Anzac, but also’. We have always said Anzac is important but is only part of our history. More on this soon.

Just in case it is needed

‘I will honour the flag, I will serve the Queen, and cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the laws’. This was said with hand on heart at Monday morning flag-raising assemblies by Victorian state primary school children in the 1950s. It could not be found on the internet but is still remembered.

CORRECTION 4 March 2014. Something was nagging at us about this item, so we scratched the itch and came up with this authoritative version. Note the missing line now restored. “I love God and my country; I honour the flag; I will serve the Queen, and cheerfully obey my parents, teachers, and the laws”.

From the history of Gippsland, Victoria

‘They drove the abos in to a bend beside Warragal [sic] Creek homestead and killed all that were there. Then they loaded the bodies into bullock drays and took them up into the sandhills about half a mile away and buried them…’. (Old Gippsland resident describing the Warrigal Creek massacre near Port Albert, 1843, when between 60 and 150 Indigenous Australians were killed in revenge for the murder of a settler: quoted in Don Watson, Caledonia Australis: Scottish Highlanders on the Frontiers of Australia, p. 221)

Anzac spirit in Bali?

The release of Schapelle Corby led Paola Totaro in the Guardian Australia to reprise public attitudes to Corby’s case. She noted one journalist’s view from 2005 that Australians ‘seemed to “fancy they see something of the Gallipoli spirit in Corby”, identifying her with the sterotype of “the humble Aussie battler, abandoned by her government and struggling in vain to overcome an insurmountable foreign adversary”.’

Australian labour history aired in Washington today

Professor Marilyn Lake, University of Melbourne, Australian Historical Association President and Honest History committee member, speaks today Washington time on ‘Australia’s historic minimum wage: a world history approach’. The lecture is at the Wilson Center, Washington.

Eureka book recognised

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, by Honest History distinguished supporter, Clare Wright, has been long-listed for the Stella Prize for 2014. The Prize celebrates Australian women’s contribution to literature and was awarded for the first time last year. It is worth $50 000. Anne Summers’s The Misogyny Factor is also on the list.

David Stephens