Matthew Firth, Reformation or Rebellion: Convict Discipline and the Lash, 1788 – 1838.
Masters, University of New England
Early European settlers in Australia needed to become self-sufficient to establish viable colonies thousands of miles from Britain, requiring a disciplined, productive workforce. With workers drawn entirely from a convict population, the colonial administration faced considerable challenges in extracting profitable labour. This article explores the role that flogging played in enforcing work- discipline, with particular attention to the relationship between the lash, alternative disciplinary punishments and labour incentives. Focusing on the evolution of labour incentives between 1788 and 1838, the article uses governmental reports and eyewitness accounts of discipline in the colonies to identify the changing policies of the colonial government toward flogging. In doing so, it seeks to analyse the balance between discipline and inducement the colonial authorities were required to strike under the influence of British penal philosophy and the immediate labour requirements of the colonies.
Melissa Laughton, History and the Subliminal: Uncovering Ideology in Historical Films.
Masters, University of New England
Historical film is an increasingly popular form of entertainment and education in the twenty-first century. However historians have raised concerns about the distortion of historical fact in film for the sake of entertainment. This paper explores this concern through analysis of three significant films produced over a period of fifty years. Casablanca, Breaker Morant and Pocahontas are films that claim to retell historical events. Analysis of the films suggests that underlying ideologies are hidden within engaging visual representations of events and people, either untrue or altered. This analysis adds to the discussion about the implications of the increasing popularity of film as a method for learning history. It suggests critical discernment on the part of historical film audiences is required, to ensure the subliminal ideologies are uncovered by an aware general public. Critical engagement should ensure history is not forever altered by a film script.
Special theme: World War I, War and Memorialisation
Elizabeth Morgan, Waking Albury’s Dead: An Investigation into How Tombstones and Epitaphs in the Cemeteries at Albury, NSW, Reflect Grief and Memorial Trends.
Second Year Undergraduate, University of New England
This article examines the cemeteries at Albury, New South Wales, in order to track changes in Australian memorialisation traditions since the mid-nineteenth century. The Victorian ‘cult of mourning’, arising from Georgian traditions and modified to particularly Australian habits in the colony, emphasised public displays of grief. The dual processes of secularisation and World War I brought an end to public grief and, following World War II, death became taboo, as medicine and bureaucracy moved death out of its traditional place in the home, into cemeteries styled as landscaped gardens. The work of psychiatrists in promoting the acceptance of grief in the late twentieth century has allowed the public celebration and memorialisation of the dead to become culturally appropriate again. Rather than grand Victorian funerals, however, this memorialisation takes the form of more individual and customised gravestones, ‘In Memoriam’ notices in newspapers and, in the case of those cremated whose remains are scattered rather than interred, no permanent memorial at all.
Jackie Lobban, Homogenous Heroes, Selective Memory & Exclusive Myth: Representations of War and Military History in Modern Australian and New Zealand Children’s Literature.
Third Year Undergraduate, University of New England
Children’s literature is a key means by which societies, cultures and nations indoctrinate the next generation with their values, beliefs and collective memory. Since the late twentieth century, war has been a recurrent theme within Australian and New Zealand children’s literature. However, in attempting to convey the experience of war to younger generations, these texts have helped to depict and perpetuate certain perspectives of war and military history. This article examines how modern Australian and New Zealand children’s literature has perpetuated (and, in some cases, challenged) notions such as the ANZAC legend, gender roles, representations of ‘the enemy’ and the glorification of war and militarism. Images and text are presented as being integral to the formation of historical understanding and to national memory. The article aims to illustrate the centrality of children’s literature to national memory and to the avoidance of historical amnesia. It concludes that, while there has been a shift towards transnational and inclusive historiography, much of children’s literature remains in the grip of the ‘cult of ANZAC’, with prejudices, silences and misrepresentations permeating this literary space.
Emily Gallagher, ‘The First Casualty When War Comes is Truth’: Neglected Atrocity in First World War Australian Memory.
Fourth Year Undergraduate, University of Notre Dame
The construction and glorification of the ANZAC legend in Australia has resulted in a patriotic identity that romanticises war and dissociates its brutal reality. Exploring the extent of these romantic influences, this article examines how terror and atrocity have been neglected in World War I (WWI) history, and reflects on recent academic critiques of the ANZAC myth. An examination of the nature and use of chemical warfare in WWI and historiographical analysis of Australian scholarship on the war form the foundation of case evidence. Complementing this analysis, the concept of ‘joyful slaughter’ is discussed as a lens through which the truth of war can be exposed.
Patrick White, ‘A Chain of Fortuitous Circumstances’: The Sudden Rise of a Military Base in Townsville.
Postgraduate, James Cook University
This article demonstrates how Australia’s defence planning and foreign policy perspectives became linked to the civilian development of northern Australia during the 1960s. It discusses the role of the politics of northern development in establishing Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. It investigates the events associated with the planning, development and opening of Lavarack Barracks during its formative years between 1964 and 1966. To provide a better platform for understanding and analysing these events and their consequences, this research centres on the factors motivating the Federal Government’s decision to expand the Army’s resources and the decision to locate the base in Townsville.