E-Newsletter no. 14, 22 May 2014

ISSN:2202-5561 © Honest History Inc. 2014

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Centenary Watch

Update: the Budget; progress with Anzac centenary local grants; Britain


Universal soldier

I was at the front for thirteen months, and by the end of that time … [t]he war had become an everyday affair; life in the line a matter of routine; instead of heroes there were only victims … [T]here was no rhyme or reason in all this slaughtering and devastation; pain itself had lost its meaning; the earth was a barren waste … Most people have no imagination. If they could imagine the sufferings of others, they would not make them suffer so.’ (Diary of Ernst Toller, German soldier, 1916)

Inequality. The latest Budget might make us look again at inequality. ABS figures remind us that the wealthiest 20 per cent of Australian households account for 61 per cent of household net worth (average $2.2 million) and the poorest 20 per cent account for 1 per cent of household net worth (average $31 000). There might in response be a new vogue for the egalitarian poems of Henry Lawson, such as ‘Faces in the street‘ and ‘For’ard‘.

Warpath. The Campaign for an Iraq War Inqury lists seven potential armed conflicts that Australia might become involved in through ‘informal processes’. They include: hostilities in the East and South China Seas: insurrection or law and order breakdown in Papua New Guinea or border hostilities between PNG and Indonesia in Irian Jaya; law and order breakdown in the South West Pacific.

Premier State.

The early circumstances of New South Wales were against its rapid growth. Founded as a receptacle for convicts, a system akin to slavery soon took root. Such of the early settlers as were neither gentlemen nor convicts belonged to the lowest class, or joined it soon after they landed.’ (REN Twopeny, Town Life in Australia (1883))

Canada reconstructs. Canadian historian Yves Frenette argues the Harper Government has ‘conscripted’ Canada’s past to reconstruct the country along conservative lines. The article uses evidence from libraries, archives, museums and military history. There is free access in English for a limited time from 11 pm AET, Tuesday, 20 May.

Flickring. Alert readers will have noticed that many of our illustrations come from Flickr Commons, a huge repository stocked by institutions (including many Australian ones) and private photographers. Well worth exploring, though prepare to be frustrated by the number of items designated as ‘All Rights Reserved’.

Big Apple maps. The New York Public Library has released more than 20 000 maps and cartographic works into the public domain under a Creative Commons licence. Most of them are high resolution and they can be downloaded via a tool called Map Warper.

Pub talk. Politics in the Pub coming up in Sydney: electoral reform and micro parties (22 May); carbon tax repeal (29 May); Budget (5 June); Malcolm Fraser (12 June); ASIO files (19 June).

Bookish. Readings events in Melbourne: Paula Michaels on history of Lamaze childbirth method (27 May); Amy Tan on women, race and culture (29 May); Bob Carr on Bob Carr (4 June).

Festy. Jason Nahrung has a website providing an ‘ongoing listing of literature-related events in Australia’. Festivals and such in bulk under the title ‘Vampires in the Sunburnt Country’. 

Lowy blows. Coming up (May-June) Michael Kirby; PNG; Afghanistan; G20; (9 July) Malcolm Fraser.