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The Use and Abuse of Australian History - Graeme Davison

The Use and Abuse of Australian History

Paperback Published: 1st March 2000
ISBN: 9781864487206
Number Of Pages: 336

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In the age of Mabo and the Republic, history is often in the headlines. The past is always with us, not only in debates about land rights and Aboriginal reconciliation, but in national celebrations and demands for national heroes, and in more private and local concerns with family history, historic buildings, school history and living history museums. Even the forecasts of management experts and the arguments of gun rights activists appeal to the past. The past can inspire, console and condemn, sometimes all at once.

How do Australians use, and sometimes misuse, the past? What are the private and public purposes it serves, and what dangers attend its abuse?

Graeme Davison has observed these debates at close quarters, as a historian and commentator on national celebrations, heritage, museums and other forms of public history. The Use and Abuse of Australian History is a wide-ranging and perceptive analysis of the many ways in which the past enters everyday life in Australia, and a powerful plea for the critical and imaginative study of history.


1 Introduction: Australian history on the eve of the millennium

2 The last hero? History and hero-worship

3 Monumental history: Do statues (still) speak?

4 The Great Voyage: National celebrations in three new lands

5 Ancestors: The broken lineage of family history

6 Heritage: From patrimony to pastiche

7 Antiques, shrines and documents: What makes a building historic?

8 Sacred sites: The battle for historic churches

9 Living history: Touring the Australian past

10 'A neglected history': Has school history lost the plot?

11 Community: The uses of local history.

12 Turbulent times: The historical vision of modern management

13 'A vote, a rifle, a farm': Unnatural rights and invented histories

14 Conclusion: Is history useful?



ISBN: 9781864487206
ISBN-10: 1864487208
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st March 2000
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 14.0  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.52
Edition Number: 1