Australian PrehistoryHistory - AustralianAustralian CultureAustralian Identity



"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time"
- TS Eliot

First published: 2000

To make contact: convictwally@hotmail.com

The political advocacy of this site’s history

In Australia, many people speak about history with a degree of trepidation. This is probably because history has often been used to vilify social groups. For example, the trade of women in pre-colonial and early colonial Aboriginal societies has been used to vilify contemporary Aborigines. Likewise, the annexation of Australia by the British in 1770 has been used to vilify cotemporary white Australians that may or may not be of British descent.

Sometimes the vilification stems from some kind of advocacy for one group over another. Sometimes it stems from a quest for contemporary justice aimed at remedying historical wrongs. Sometimes it stems from an identification with a political, ideological, socio-economic or racial group and a desire for that group to have status over another.

This site takes a more of a restorative approach to the past in that it tries to humanise people that some people may define as victims and others as perpetrators. As Truth and Reconciliation Commissions have shown, it is only once a common humanity has been appreciated that true stories of the past can be told and considered without fear of prejudice and rejection.

Resources used in this site

The author comes from Australia's humanistic tradition which tends to believe in the 'goodness' and even wisdom of the non-intellectual mainstream. It is a tradition that the likes of poet Henry Lawson, photographer Max Dupain and film director Peter Weir have sometimes been associated with. For some critics, this has made the site an example of Australian anti-intellectualism. Maybe that is true but some "intellectual" sources are also used. In any case, it is not very intellectual to accept a resource based on its title rather than its substance.

A scene from Peter Weir's Gallipoli showing how ignorance can sometimes be the voice of wisdom and confusion can be a sign of intelligence.

Max Dupain

Photographer Max Dupain was sometimes criticised for lacking 'angst' in his work. It did not bother him as he wrote that his work "reflects the wonderful life I have enjoyed as an Australian." The Sunbaker 1937, is perhaps the classic example of his approach.

Referencing the author of this site

It is not necessary to cite the author of an article obtained online. Students merely need to state the title of the article, the web address and date of access.

As a resource that draws information from the web, from newspapers, from books, from academic publications, from life experience, and from conversations in the pub, sometimes it uses the Wikipedia style system, sometimes it used formal academic referencing and sometimes it uses the newspaper referencing system which relies on journalists quoting words and faith being extended that the journalist is being honest.