Schreuder, Derek & Stuart Ward, ed: Australia’s empire

Schreuder, Derek & Stuart Ward, ed.

Australia’s Empire: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 2010; first published 2008

The volume examines the meaning and importance of empire in Australia across a broad spectrum of historical issues-ranging from the disinheritance of the Aborigines to the foundations of a new democratic state. The overriding theme is the distinctive Australian perspective on empire. The country’s adherence to imperial ideals and aspirations involved not merely the building of a “new Britannia” but also the forging of a distinctive new culture and society. It was Australian interests and aspirations which ultimately shaped “Australia’s Empire”.

While modern Australians have often played down the significance of their British imperial past, the contributors to this book argue that the legacies of empire continue to influence the temper and texture of Australian society today. (blurb)

This book describes the imperial background against which Australian troops went to Gallipoli in 1915. There are chapters on conquest, settlement and ‘Indigenous subjects’ by Alan Atkinson, Richard Waterhouse and Ann Curthoys, followed by empire, state and nation (John Hirst), ‘British White Australia’ (Eric Richards), monarchy and the republic (Mark McKenna), economic nationalism (Geoffrey Bolton), war and commemoration (Joy Damousi) and other contributions.

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