Hetherington, Michelle, ed.: Glorious Days: Australia 1913

Michelle Hetherington, ed.

Glorious Days: Australia 1913, National Museum of Australia Press, Canberra, 2013

The book of the exhibition marking the centenary of Canberra. Chapters on ‘Australia in the world’ (Nicholas Brown), Mawson in Antarctica (Tom Griffiths), ‘Dreams of Empire’ (Anna Edmondson), the birth of the Australian navy (Peter Stanley), politics (Stuart Macintyre), capital (Humphrey McQueen), the birth of Canberra (Brown again), Aboriginal people (Maria Nugent), women (Raelene Frances), ‘A working man’s paradise?’ (Frank Bongiorno), domestic work (Peter McNeil), leisure (Jill Matthews), art (Andrew Sayers), aboriginal art (Howard Morphy), photography (Helen Ennis), music (Roger Neill) and sport (Guy Hansen) depict a vibrant land in the South Seas before the Great War.

The glorious days of Australia in 1913 deserve to be better known [writes the editor]. Life was not good for everyone, least of all Australia’s Indigenous communities, and many of the attitudes that people held strike us now as sexist, or racist or ignorant. But the nation was embracing the modern age with vigour: eager to learn, to develop, to dream; and the essays in this book provide tantalising early glimpses of the future we now inhabit alongside attitudes and beliefs long left behind. These achievements and ambitions … have been overshadowed for nearly a century since a generation of young Australian men marched off to the First World War… (p. xiii)

A comment on the exhibition by Ross McMullin is here.

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