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Jean Walker

Australian History

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G’day, Jean. Thank you for pointing out this debate. My own interest in Australian history has up till now been an interest in the contribution of aviation, particularly the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and QANTAS. (In fact I have to confess doing virtual flying on my computer for QANTAS VIRTUAL AIRLINES for the last 5 years – perhaps a reflection of the pressures of teaching in a comprehensive school!)

In addition to the reference you gave I found the arguments highlighted in http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4817 very familiar. I also couldn’t help noticing that demands for a coherent ‘story’ for Australian History seem to coincide with ANZAC day. In Britain a similar demand for ‘the facts’ is often linked to a reference to the Battle of Trafalgar. This seems OK, provided the person who teaches this kind of history is a historian and not just into imparting myths or one narrow version of the story. As I understand it there aren’t enough history teachers in Australia to ensure this happens. If there’s one thing worse than very little history being taught in schools it’s a lot of history being taught badly.

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