E-newsletter no.22, 3 February 2015

ISSN: 2202-5561 ©

New on the site (honesthistory.net.au)

  • Anzac’s unauthorised biographer talks at ADFA Summer School: Carolyn Holbrook
  • Cowardice: A Brief History: Chris Walsh’s book reviewed by Diane Bell
  • Indigenous tactics in the Frontier Wars: Ray Kerkhove explains
  • A family viewpoint on Anzackery: former soldier David Reid writes
  • Sight-bites and Keepsakes: David Stephens visits the War Memorial’s new galleries and the National Library’s new exhibition
  • Peter FitzSimons does Gallipoli: Michael Piggott’s review
  • Douglas Newton’s Hell-Bent: Rod Olsen reviews
  • Humphrey McQueen’s archives come to Honest History
  • Les Jauncey reports again on FDR’s America
  • Does Honest History have members? Does it provide speakers? Does it need money?

Centenary Watch

Minister Ronaldson; new Anzac Portal; Anzackery exposed at ADFA; Victoria Cross poster and the AWM shop; PANDORA opens box; Anzac in Victoria; Canberra commentary; No Glory in War sums up Britain’s 2014


National blend. ‘The Australia of Australia Day is a land, a nation and a people with many different histories, cultures, ideas and stories to tell. They may not merge into a single, or a binding, story about ourselves, and some of them will involve tales of conflict and of matters that divide us. Collectively, however, they come to a story of unity, growth, of development, of achievement.’ (Canberra Times, 26 January 2015)

Aspiration amid gridlock. ‘[W]e need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm.’ (Barack Obama, State of the Union address, 2015)

Burdens of battle. ‘Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment … It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor . Rather, they were too frightened to be cowards.’ (Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran, quoted in Chris Walsh, Cowardice: A Brief History, 2014)

Plus ca change. ‘We have budgeted for a surplus; nothing is more inflationary than for governments to live beyond their incomes and draw upon Central Bank Credit for the deficit. We have reviewed the Commonwealth Departments, and have effected a net reduction in the Administrative Departments.’ (PM RG Menzies, policy speech, 1951 election)

National development. ‘Our success as a nation has come from rewarding clever investment, innovation and ideas. We have sustained high real wages throughout our history by encouraging growth and avoiding a flood of unskilled immigrants which fuels rampant inequality.’ (Angus Taylor, Liberal MP and Rhodes Scholar, 30 January 2015)

Weaponising. ‘History isn’t what happened, but a story of what happened. And there are always different versions, different stories, about the same events. One version might revolve mainly around a specific set of facts while another version might minimize them or not include them at all.’ (History is a Weapon)

In a name. ‘Rupert is German and means “mercenary”. The name was introduced to England by Prince Rupert, who franchised it. Ruperts will, at an early age, sell their grandmothers. They will use the proceeds to buy other people’s grandmothers. Having sold them in a bullish market, they will start buying other people, especially politicians, parties, governments and personal biographers’. (Patrick Cook, More Favourite Names for Boys & Girls, 1984)

Radical ridicule. ‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.’ (Saul Alinsky’s fifth rule for radicals, 1971)

The stuff of memory. ‘We survivors do not want our past to be our children’s future.’ (Roman Kent, Auschwitz survivor, at 70th anniversary commemoration)

Breadth of vision. Number of items in Australian War Memorial collections tagged ‘Gallipoli’: 13352; number of items tagged ‘Auschwitz’: 24.

What’s On

Canberra: Ben Quilty and Alex Seton on Afghanistan; Sydney then elsewhere: Wendy Sharpe on asylum seekers; Melbourne: Bohemians (counterculture) ends 22 February, Anzac Centenary Peace Campaign events February-March; Brisbane: Cheryl Creed and Nickeema Williams’ paintings of ATSI people; Perth: Sailing on the Swan exhibition; Hobart: Matthew Barney‘s River of Fundament