Russell, Elaine, ed.: Australians: The Guide and Index

Elaine Russell, ed.

Australians: The Guide and Index, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, Broadway, NSW, 1987

A guide to Australians: A Historical Library, twelve volumes produced by Australia’s historians to mark the bicentenary of white settlement. The other volumes were Events and Places, A Guide to Sources, A Historical Atlas, A Historical Dictionary, Historical Statistics, Australians to 1788, Australians 1838, Australians 1888, Australians 1938, Australians from 1939, and Australians 1988.

The general editors were Alan D. Gilbert, KS Inglis, FK Crowley and Peter Spearritt, assisted by SG Foster and John McQuilton. The executive editor was SG Foster. This volume contains a ‘making of’ article by Oliver MacDonagh, some lists on the arts, sport and government and a general index.

The concept of the history was to take a series of ‘slices’ of Australians in 1838, 1888 and 1938 and narratives of the periods up to 1788 and since 1939, plus reference volumes. The set also serves as a snapshot of the Australian history profession in the 1980s, showing the biases and priorities of the profession at that time. Australians works best as an encyclopedia. The books contain wonderful illustrations, along with an annoying number of typoes which detract a little from the lavish presentation.

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