Outside Off – Riot of 1879

Written by Maximilian Reid, RAHS volunteer RIOT, BETS AND CLASS “Cricket is now the prevailing amusement of the day. Let no man henceforth set up for a sporting character whose name is not enrolled among the ‘gentlemen cricketers’ of Sydney”[1] The Sydney Gazette, on the formation of a new cricket club, 1832. Victorian gentility, civility, and sobriety. If there is ever an image to be conjured of early colonial cricket, it seems to be this one.[2] However, early colonial cricket … Read More

Significance of St John’s Cemetery Parramatta

Written by Judith Dunn, RAHS Councillor and President of Friends of St John’s Cemetery In these days of a seemingly mad scramble to develop any conceivable space, the importance of our heritage is sometimes being overlooked by developers.  St John’s Cemetery at Parramatta is the oldest remaining European cemetery in Australia, the first burial recorded on 31 January 1790.  State Heritage listed in 1999, it neatly encapsulates and reflects the early growing town revealing local work trends, prosperity and poverty, … Read More

National Volunteer Week 2020

Every year, National Volunteer Week celebrates the contributions of our nation’s volunteers towards charities, organisations, communities, and the country as a whole. This week (18 – 24 May) marks National Volunteer Week 2020, with the theme: “Changing Communities. Changing Lives.” The Royal Australian Historical Society is indebted to our volunteers who regularly contribute their time and effort across all facets of our organisation, from library services to digital content. On the RAHS Instagram this week we featured a selection of … Read More

Chinese Migrant Culture on the Georges River

Chinese Australian Historical Society Appeal for Information This exhibition intends to uncover the identity and stories of people and places in the Georges River area, associated with Chinese migration history, incorporating historical material, personal stories and artist’s interpretations, visualising stories of place and migrant experience The focus on the urban environment of Hurstville and surrounding suburbs celebrates the long association with Chinese culture in the Georges River area. The historical, social and cultural context for the migration of the Chinese … Read More

Kamay Botany Bay: Endeavour 250

Wednesday April 29, 2020 marked 250 years since Lieutenant James Cook and his crew on the HMB Endeavour landed at Kamay Botany Bay in 1770. His landing was challenged by two men from the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal nation. The Endeavour voyage to Botany Bay is a defining moment in Australia’s history, but it also remains one of the most divisive. The event has been celebrated as a foundation moment, contested as the beginning of British imperialism, and more … Read More

Shortlists announced for Australian History Awards

Shortlists for the 2020 Ernest Scott Prize and Dick & Joan Green Family Award for Tasmanian History were announced this week. Ernest Scott Prize The Ernest Scott Prize for History is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia and New Zealand or to the history of colonisation published in the previous year. Bedlam at Botany Bay by James Dunk (NewSouth, 2019) The Seventies: The personal, the political and the making … Read More

J.W. Lewin: Australia’s first free professional artist

State Library of New South Wales:  Scholar Talk John William Lewin (1770-1819), Australia’s first free professional artist, arrived in Sydney in 1800. His career trajectory, from working-class natural history illustrator to (at least in his own eyes) Australia’s first gentleman artist, provides a fascinating reflection on the motivations of the making of colonial art. About the speaker: Richard Neville is the Mitchell Librarian and Director of Education & Scholarship at the State Library of NSW. With a research background in nineteenth … Read More

Mixed Media on Chinese-Australian history

The Chinese Australian Historical Society have kindly put together a series of links to lectures, documentaries and interviews on a variety of topics related to Chinese-Australian history. New Stories, Bold Legends – a Podcast series by Valerie Khoo Mirroring the past lecture series – from the Australia China Institute of Arts and Culture:                An overview of Chinese Australian history (with English transcript)                Before there was Gold (pre-1788 to 1818)   … Read More

RAHS AGM in 1919 – The impact of the influenza

In the extraordinary times of COVID-19 that we presently find ourselves, adjustments have had to be made to how we maintain safe social distancing. As our members would be aware, the Royal Australian Historical Society Annual General Meeting was held in a novel way this year – via Zoom video conferencing. Given these circumstances, you may be wondering, how was the AGM held in 1919 during the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic? The following is an extract from The Daily Telegraph, dated … Read More

Anzac Day 1918: Different, but not forgotten

An Australian flag laid on the grass surrounding the memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Photograph by Marie-Paule Bonte, 2020.

Written by Elizabeth Heffernan, RAHS volunteer The twice-a-day Amiens train rattles into Villers-Bretonneux station, dead autumn leaves swept to the sides of the platform and rusted overpass looming above the tracks. The small, French village is silent, cobbled streets empty in the early morning gloom. Google Maps points the way past the houses and into the fields beyond; the path laid out before us is slippery with mud and wet cut grass. Fresh rain promises. It is three kilometres from … Read More