E-Newsletter no.17, 6 August 2014

ISSN:2202-5561 ©

Not only a newsletter but also a website, with these new items:

Honest History launches in three cities

  • Adelaide, 2 October;
  • Melbourne, 13 October;
  • Sydney, 14 November (with Thomas Keneally): early warning


Centenary Watch

  • Commonwealth Anzac centenary minister Ronaldson has been visiting schools and France and has made a couple of interesting remarks but has not approved any more local grants – yet.
  • Camp Gallipoli: under the stars and in the dark?

Also: Anzac alternative coalitions; Great War commemoration in Britain and jingoism remembered;
peace movement initiatives in Aotearoa New Zealand, plus PM Key on Anzac and the Lord of the Rings man builds a World War I battle theme park; 61 pages of Anzac centenary grants from the Queensland Government;  the rules on ‘Anzac branding’ in Victoria.


  • Political heroism.‘Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible.’ Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation (1919)
  • Toning it down.‘Mr. Howe [of Kansas] declares that Australians’ tones contradict the sentiments expressed in their words. If Australians have a fault in their speech it is that they fail to intone. Questions, answers, and boasting (which we indulge in infrequently) are usually all uttered in the same tone. It is somewhat listless.’ Argus (Melbourne) 1 August 1914
  • The cornerstone.‘Military history provides the foundation for Army training, education, esprit de corps, and decisionmaking. The lessons of the past form the doctrines of the future. These lessons are not based on poorly recorded or understood events. History is a way to learn about armed conflict in all dimensions. Soldiers and units bond and fight with a common historical heritage.’ US Department of the Army, Military History Operations, June 2014
  • Rutted. ‘The future need not run in the ruts of the past. It can jump the tracks and take new directions.’ Historian David Armitage, Australian Historical Association Conference, Brisbane, July 2014
  • Consistency. ‘In New South Wales the historical pattern of settlement and the development of the state’s economy have encouraged this concern with pork-barrel politics. Distance, isolation and a rural-metropolitan division have bred parochialism at the same time as encouraging dependency on the central authority.’ Martin Painter, Current Affairs Bulletin, 1977
  • History teaches us. ‘To the English intelligence’, reported the London correspondent of the Argus in 1934, ‘it seems strange that a change of Government should mean the eclipse of one form of history teaching and the rise of another’. The article goes on to describe the efforts of Dr Frick, the German minister, to promulgate ‘guiding ideas’ for schools’ history, built around the story of the German ‘race’ from the Ice Age to modern times. Compare and contrast with Margaret Macmillan on ‘history wars’ in a number of countries and the Institute of Public Affairs on ‘Western civilisation‘. Further resources with plenty of links.
  • Corporal punishment punished. Then there were the incautious (but qualified) remarks of Minister Pyne’s curriculum reviewer, Dr Donnelly, on the potential benefits of thrashing schoolchildren. More than 200 educators were outraged and wanted Donnelly sacked as a ministerial advisor. The Minister rejected corporal punishment but retained Donnelly.
  • Many Australias. Australians have always been over-concerned about what the BBC thinks about us but this BBC man may be onto something. ‘A common failing of these kinds of columns [about national identity, often around Australia Day] is that they insist on defining a singular Australia rather than acknowledging that there are many Australias. This, after all, is a nation that defies neat encapsulation.’ Nick Bryant, The Rise and Fall of Australia: How a Great Nation Lost Its Way (2014)
  • AHA changes and awards. The Australian Historical Association has a new Executive and has made a number of awards. Details. (Honest History is an affiiate of the AHA.)

What’s on where.

Drop us a line and we will plug your event.