Honest History in 2018 – and possibly beyond

Honest History in 2018 – and possibly beyond

The Honest History website (and the Honest History association) began in mid-2013. Since then we have placed on the website nearly 2800 posts and another 70 pages (including two editions of Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial). There are hundreds of linked pdfs and thousands of links to related material. NewSouth published The Honest History Book which has sold well – and is still in demand. We have Tweeted many thousands of times and been active Facebookers.

In 2018, look out for three changes:

  • There will be fewer posts but proportionately more of them will contain original material. We will use Tweets to draw your attention to relevant material published by others in mainstream media or on other websites and blogs.[1]
  • Honest History Highlights. We will highlight the rich content that we have placed on our site over the last few years. This will mean links to previous posts or collections of posts.
  • Archiving of some of the special subjects previously found under our front page thumbnails, First Peoples, Inequality, and Talking Turkey.

We will still espouse the philosophy we began with and which we put on the cover of The Honest History Book: ‘Australia is more than Anzac – and always has been’. Anzac in a quiet, respectful form is an important part of our history and memory, but we are a much more interesting country than one that is obsessed with its military history, particularly the overblown, jingoistic form of it that Honest History has been pleased to call ‘Anzackery’.

Just run through the chapter headings of The Honest History Book or the Themes of this website to see what we mean. Or recall these lines from the final chapter of The Honest History Book:

A century after Gallipoli, surely it is time to pay more attention to the winding and fascinating tracks – environmental, social, political, cultural, scientific, and so on – down which Australians have travelled to where we are now. In her chapter, Larissa Behrendt wrote of our need to “acknowledge that there is no one dominant national narrative but many concurrent, competing and conflicting stories that reflect the diverse backgrounds and perspectives within Australian society”.

We suspect that 2018, particularly with the opening in April of the Monash Interpretive Centre at Villers-Bretonneux, will see another burst of Anzackery. On the other hand, after nearly five years, even the most enthusiastic of Anzackers are looking a bit jaded; ‘Peak Anzac’ passed long ago – on or about 26 April 2015 – but the need for critique remains.

The best way to counter Anzackery is persistently to present the other strands of our history. That’s what we will be doing during 2018.

Besides the (slightly tweaked) website as described above we will still put out the occasional (roughly every eight weeks) newsletter rounding up our recent posts. We will still Tweet and we will still put stuff on Facebook. We look forward to your company.

David Stephens

Editor, Honest History

30 January 2018

[1] Notably Guardian Australia, Independent Australia, Inside Story, New Matilda, Pearls and Irritations, The Saturday Paper, Shire at War, World Socialist Web Site, and a number of smaller blogs that appear on our Links page.