John Hirst


11 ENTRIES John Hirst is a historian, social commentator and emiritus scholar in the history program at La Trobe University. His books include The Australians: Insiders and outsiders on the national character since 1770, Freedom on the Fatal Shore: Australia’s first colony and The Shortest History of Europe.


A young boy holding two dead possums at a trappers camp in the Blackall district, Queensland, 1908

Don Watson

Shaped for good purpose

From stick insects to swagmen in Don Watson’s ‘The Bush’

Why is Australia not a republic?


Why is Australia not a republic?

With all the changes wrought by World War II, Australia was in the 1950s still a British society. I can testify to that. In school I learnt British history, geography and poetry. At recess we played a rough game known as British bulldog. On Monday morning …

The Australian Garden. © John Gollings / Taylor Cullity Lethlean


Work of wonder

The Australian Garden

Manning Clark with his image, as sculpted by Ninon Geier, c. 1985. Courtesy of the National Library of Australia.


A grand history

Mark McKenna’s ‘An Eye for Eternity’


Public goods & pipe organs

If a town hall has an organ should it also have an official town-hall organist? I thought I took a wide interest in public affairs but until I met Professor Ian Harper, who was in charge of refurbishing the organ in the Melbourne Town Hall, I had never …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.


Following Menzies

What should the Liberal Party do when Labor governments favour private enterprise, contracting out and selling off? Join in, of course. In August, Barry O'Farrell, the leader of the New South Wales Liberals, refused to join in when Morris Iemma's Labor …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.


An indigenous game

Aboriginal people make up 2% of the population and 10% of footballers in the Australian Football League. As anyone who has seen them in action will attest, they seem made to play the game, but were they makers of the game as well? Their role in the game's …

An oddity from the start


An oddity from the start

Convicts and national character

Australian Government poster - "Australia: land of Tomorrow", by Joe Greenberg, 21 September 1949, National Archives of Australia



The official history


Political courage

Some Australian examples


The first XI

The best Australian history books