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This month in history

The 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation - This Month in History

‘Make the most of your Canada Day’, is the message the federal government broadcast in advance of 1 July 2017, the sesquicentenary of Confederation. But what are Canadians making of this event? Not surprisingly First Nations people are...

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A Century of the Order of the British Empire: This Month in History

One hundred years ago this month the youngest of the British orders of knighthood, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, came into being. Established by Letters Patent of 4 June 1917, the new honour became part of the complex system of...

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Aboriginal Enlistment During World War I - This Month in History

A century ago in May 1917, the Australian Army issued a Military Order stating that “half castes may be enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force providing that the examining Medical Officers are satisfied that one of the parents is of...

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"Rents, Profits, Wages": The Bicentenary of Ricardo's Principles and the making of economics

This month marks the bicentenary of David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, a founding text of modern economics, first published in London on 17 April, 1817. The veneration of ‘classic texts’ is always a...

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”Tethered to the world”: A Frenchman in Colonial New South Wales

Image: J.E. Serisier's general store, Macquarie Street, Dubbo (from the collections of the State Library of NSW) Jean Emile Serisier died of smallpox on 10 February 1880.  This French immigrant, one of the first Europeans to occupy the...

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Black Friday Bushfires and the Beginning of the Stretton Royal Commission: January 1939

A house used for shelter in the town of Matlock during the Black Friday fires. Courtesy of Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria. This Friday 13 January marks the 78th anniversary of another Friday 13 January; one that is...

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More’s Utopia after 500 Years – A Message for the Modern World

December 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s literary landmark, Utopia. Originally printed in Latin in 15161,  Utopia recounts a conversation between More, a friend named Peter Giles, and a traveller named...

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Conscription, October 1916

A century ago this month, Australia tore itself apart over the question of conscription.  As more and more men became casualties of the Somme campaign – 23,000 Australians in the seven weeks from 19 July 1916, more than a quarter of these...

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24 November 1859 – First Publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species

2009 was unofficially declared the year of Charles Darwin. It marked both the bicentenary of his birth and the sesquicentenary of the publication of his most significant treatise, On the Origin of Species. It is difficult to overstate the...

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Woodstock: Three days of peace and music, Malcolm Allbrook

If everyone who had claimed to have been at Woodstock on the week-end of August 15-17 1969, had actually been there, attendance would have been in the millions, rather than the estimated 400,000 who actually made the journey down a congested New...

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Earle Page and Robert Menzies – How to be Remembered for the Wrong Reason

On 13 September 1939, Earle Page resigned as leader of the federal parliamentary Country Party, ending an 18 year reign. This was the belated outcome of his attack of 20 April that year on the personal worthiness of Robert Menzies to serve as Prime...

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A Bi-Focal Image of the Cold War - July 1957: Dr Marie Kawaja

On 1 July 1957, at the height of the Cold War, the International Geophysical Year (IGY) – the most comprehensive international scientific study ever undertaken, was launched. For a brief moment, the IGY would bridge the east-west divide when...

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Huzzah! Long Live the Prince of Wales?

Like her father’s, HM Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is marked officially in early June to allow, it’s said, for British summertime ceremony. Yet an actual birthday on 10 June 1688 made all the difference in the eventual rise of the...

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The Easter Rising, Northern Ireland and Commemoration.

By Eamonn McNamara On 24 April 1916, a group of armed men and women occupied the Dublin General Post Office (GPO) while their leader, Pádraig Pearse, read a proclamation declaring an independent Irish Republic. Over the next week, fierce...

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El Niños that have shaped us

By Rebecca Jones Three women carting water in South Australia c.1930 (State Library of South Australia) Since May 2015 much of eastern Australia has been gripped by a strong El Niño.  Dams, tanks and reservoirs have dried and the sky is...

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Encounter and Colonisation

By Tom Griffiths    The diversity of Aboriginal Australia (map created by David R Horton, © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996). The School of History at ANU teaches an exciting first-year...

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Remembering the Dead

Remembering the Dead Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, 7 November 1920. Imperial War Museum. In November of 1920, Britain entombed its ‘Unknown Warrior’ in Westminster Abbey. In the wake of the First World War, partly...

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Agincourt: An Ambivalent Anniversary?

Our king went forth to Normandy With grace and might of chivalry There God for him wrought marvellously Wherefore England may call and cry Thanks to God, Give thanks to God, England, for this victory.1 Thus begins a rousing song celebrating...

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Medieval Manuscripts and Digital Humanities

The Rothschild prayer book (c. 1515 – 1510), famous for its luxurious decoration and exquisite miniatures painted by leading Flemish artists, is a fine example of the most popular form of medieval book – the Book of Hours. This form of...

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A Monarch’s Birthday

On 4 June 1738, a baby was born in London. Named George, he was the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and he would grow up to be a king. As George III, he ascended to the British throne in 1760, the third monarch...

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The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on 14 April 1865 occurred with the assailant’s vow, sic semper tyrannus! (thus always to tyrants). Facing the imminent defeat of the secessionist cause, Confederates engaged in last-ditch...

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Debating ANZAC

A small group of Australian soldiers at the Mena Army Camp, a few miles from Cairo, ca. 1915. Australian War Memorial, H02272 In Australia and New Zealand we tend to associate the start of the Gallipoli Campaign with 25 April 1915 – the date...

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Queen Victoria and Aboriginal people

Queen Victoria and Aboriginal people On 22nd January 1901, Queen Victoria died. She had reigned for sixty-three years, a record among British monarchs that is still unsurpassed. As a young woman Victoria had come to the throne in mid-1837, just six...

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The Native Title Act at twenty-one

On 19 December 1993, after months of debate, the Native Title Act finally passed a fractious senate and became the law of the land. The government of Paul Keating had responded to the landmark decision on Mabo v Queensland (No 2) brought down by the...

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Democratising the University

Democratising the University In November 1959 a group of experts in education and economics gathered at The Hague under the auspices of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation. The meeting’s title – ‘Techniques for...

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October 1656: Did God look like an Englishman?

James Nayler spent most of October 1656 hungry. Although those arrested for vagrancy in Cromwellian Exeter might have expected a meagre ration, Nayler, a leading member of the Society of Friends, fasted during his incarceration in order to...

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Australian Forces engaged in their first action of World War One

One hundred years ago this month Australian forces were engaged in their first action of World War One: capturing German New Guinea and dismantling the vital communication systems that supported German naval assets based in the Pacific.  Within...

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This Month in History

  August 2014 marks the beginning of the Centenary of the First World War. Involving  72 nations and their colonies in military theatres in Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Dardanelles, East and West Africa, the South West...

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Joan of Arc: Leadership, Transvestism, and Gender Anxiety – Not Just Medieval Concerns?

  After several years of deliberations, on 7 July 1456 Joan of Arc was pronounced ‘freed and cleansed’ of the charge of idolatry that had seen her burned at the stake in Rouen in 1431. As political as the original trial run by Anglo...

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6 June 1944: ‘The longest day’

D-Day – 6 June 1944 – is often referred to as the most crucial day in the history of the Second World War, and even as the last, greatest military operation of its kind. After years of intricate planning, early that morning over 160 000...

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Rather different? Consistency in the inconsistency of government response to drought

Image: Wheat paddock near Wangaratta, Victoria, circa 1920s. Loans for seed wheat are one of the ways that Australian governments have assisted drought-affected farmers. Photo courtesy of Margaret Pullen. In May 1989, the Labor government appointed...

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1914: A Monument to Drought

In April, cereal farmers in south-eastern Australia look to the sky, look to the soil and prepare to sow.  One hundred years ago, in 1914, after a dry spring and summer, rain fell in April giving farmers the confidence to sow.  Across the...

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Afterburn: The emotional legacy of bushfire

In the forests and valleys of the Victorian ranges, Aboriginal people knew March as the Eel Season, a time when hot winds ceased, temperatures cooled and eels were ready to be harvested from the rivers.  It was a time also of diminishing...

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Claim Sunk by Pen of a Swordsman

In December 2002, when the High Court of Australia rejected the final appeal in the Yorta Yorta native title case, a headline in The Age announced: ‘Claim sunk by pen of a swordsman’. The man in question was Edward M. Curr (1820-1889),...

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What If Kennedy Hadn’t Been Assassinated?

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd 1963 created perhaps the most intriguing “what-if” in 20th century political history. What if Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated? What if he had been re-elected for a...

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In October the Blind Traveller embarked on a novel excursion to Jervis Bay

In October 1831 James Holman, aka the Blind Traveller, embarked on an ‘expedition of a more novel character’ than any of his previous travels, to discover a new route from Argyle to Jervis Bay. Given Holman had previously travelled...

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This Month in History: Lessons in Cookery - September 1897

On September 20, 1897, the last in a series of cooking classes was held at the Brisbane School of Arts. That afternoon participants in the class were regaled with an advanced lesson in ‘Ice Cream and Confectionery’. Their instructor,...

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High Ideals and Heavy Rains: the Eglinton Tournament, 1839

In August 1839, the Eglinton Tournament, one of the most ambitious, widely-anticipated, and yet ill-fated efforts to revive the medieval past in Britain took place in western Scotland. Ever since Henry VIII acted out his fantasy of hunting with...

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Scandal at the stock exchange, success in the colonies

At the end of July 1827 London’s financial world was rocked when Stock Exchange trader James Henty defaulted on his creditors. It was, according to the newspapers, ‘one of the most extensive failures that ever occurred’ ...

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Fiftieth Anniversary of Britain's Profumo Affair

It is fifty years since Britain’s Profumo Affair climaxed; an apt description because it was the sex scandal of the century. On 5 June 1963 forty-eight year-old John Profumo resigned as Secretary of State for War and from parliament after...

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This Month in History - Nimbin Dreaming

Held from 12-21 May 1973, the Nimbin Aquarius Festival was a watershed event in the growth of an alternative movement in Australia. A salient feature of the festival, both at the time and in recollection, was its incorporation of Aboriginal culture...

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London's Letter Books April 1529

London's Letter Books April 1529 (London Metropolitan Archives COL/AD/01/014) The Courts of Alderman and Common Council met in London, sometimes every week, to discuss those matters that affected all Londoners, including freemen (who had...

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A city of the future?

Inevitably, the celebration of the centenary of Canberra’s foundation on 12 March 1913 centres on the bold vision in the Griffin’s prize-winning plan for the city. ‘I have planned a city that is not like any other in the world...

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‘Black’ days of bushfire

February is the height of the bushfire season in southern Australia and a month that haunts us with the threat and memory of great fires.  Canberrans have just reflected on the ten years since 18 January, 2003, when bushfire roared into the...

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Bennelong embarks on his great ocean voyage - December 1792

In December 1792, the cultural explorer Bennelong, an Eora man of the Wangal clan, set off on the long ocean voyage from Sydney Cove. This placed him in a position to personally examine the country of the Englishmen. His sponsor was the Governor of...

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Beauty, power and myth in the Middle Ages

On St Andrew’s Day, 30 November 1340, one of the greatest cultural patrons of the later Middle Ages was born: John, the Duke of Berry. A bibliophile and lover of all things beautiful, the duke commissioned some of the most outstanding artworks...

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Criminology by the stars

On September 24, 1605, Edward Gresham drew up this horoscope (transcribed opposite from British Library, Sloane MS 3857, f`100v) for George Benson. So why list it as this month’s featured event? Because it would be almost another 150 years...

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This month marks the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

What happened on the morning of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington—and above rural Pennsylvania—is well known.  Nineteen men, affiliated with a Sunni Islamist group, the ‘International Islamic Front for Jihad Against...

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This month in history - August 1912

I wonder what Octavia Hill would have thought of the hit TV drama Downton Abbey? Hill, who died one-hundred years ago this month, was a co-founder of the National Trust in 1894. But historic buildings were not her immediate interest. Indeed, she is...

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This month in history - July 1961

It was a cold and foggy winter morning in Canberra on 10 July 1961 when the Australian Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies, opened the First Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. Menzies joked that the delegates were being treated to ‘a proper...

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This month in history - June 1769

On 3 June 1769, astronomers around the world gazed through telescopes in feverish excitement, watching a small black dot pass across a large orange disc. They were observing the transit of Venus across the Sun and they were timing it. The event...

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Updated: 22 September 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher