Scott Morrison should use Cook's 250th anniversary to insist Britain return the Gweagal shield | Paul Daley

The artefact, held by the British Museum, is a symbol Indigenous survival, resistance and endurance

Depending on where you stand, an upside of Australia’s coronavirus lockdown has been the abandonment of some of the more public and political elements of national celebrations to commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s arrival.

Hope, love and fear: why Moby-Dick is the perfect novel for our times | Paul Daley

I’d read it before but this time I found Captain Ahab more disturbed – and disturbing

Many readers have expanded their ambitions in these times of social isolation, disappearing into books that have previously beaten them.

Tolstoy’s War and Peace is mentioned often, along with Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy.

Great beasts and American exceptionalism: the world through the eyes of a mammoth

In an ambitious, hilarious, clever beast of a novel, Chris Flynn excavates the strange fascination powerful men have for big pets

A story of man’s self-destructive impulse to conquer nature and about American exceptionalism, with detours through Napoleonic France and the end of the Irish rebellion in 1801 … narrated by a 13,000-year-old fossilised mammoth?

Work after coronavirus: how will it change when the lockdown is over?

Entrenched unemployment? A permanent embrace of work from home? Several orthodoxies have emerged about the near future of employment

This is the first in our series on Life after lockdown, which looks at how the Covid-19 pandemic could change Australia for good

As Australia surveys the labour market wreckage of almost two months of pandemic-inspired physical isolation, several orthodoxies have emerged about the way we will work when the restrictions are eventually lifted.

Commemorating Captain James Cook’s arrival, Australia should not omit his role in the suffering that followed | Paul Daley

He arguably paved the way for the terrible experiences of generations of Indigenous people

James Cook’s critics can relish the irony that a global pandemic has diminished the planned lavish commemorations of his east coast Australian arrival 250 years ago today.

Many Indigenous people and supporters of their causes and sensibilities rightly view the lieutenant as the doorman for so many ills that followed, including the smallpox epidemic of 1789 that killed as many as seven in 10 Aboriginal people of the new colony for which Cook’s arrival paved the way.

Politicians, take note this Anzac Day: coronavirus is a pandemic. It is not a war | Paul Daley

Stand by for speeches conflating the Australian experience at Gallipoli with the mitigation of a health and economic threat

Our politicians have been insisting this Anzac Day will be “unlike any other”.

Yes, isolation will prevent most from attending traditional services. Commemoration, as with so much else today, will be largely virtual – a matter of mind over place, imagination over reality.

We are witnessing a critical time in history. You should keep a diary | Paul Daley

The Covid-19 crisis has impelled me to record my impressions of this altered world. The joy of the archive is that one person’s dross is another’s gold

A decade ago when researching a book about Canberra the first thing I did was trawl the archives for narrative voices.

A broken-down oar, a pink dummy, a fine kid glove: mystery beach offerings in a mysterious time | Paul Daley

The most unlikely things have recently found a crevice in my consciousness

The old wooden oar had been in the water a long time. Its grip was almost rotted through. Little white barnacles had attached to the blade. Its rubber collar was corroded.

Coronavirus shutdown has left a hollowness in the life of this AFL fan | Paul Daley

Trips down memory lane help ease the pain but nostalgia can only fill so much of the void

Given how a week seems like a month in this sombre and over-eventful new epoch we find ourselves in, a footy season may well be a decade. Foregoing the rituals that underscore the cadence of our lives is one of the hardest things about now. For many, including me, a big loss is Australian rules football.

We face a pandemic of mental health disorders. Those who do it hardest need our support | Paul Daley

Ironically, there has never been a time when we need to be – metaphorically – in tighter social embrace

Yes, this is a frightening, deadly viral pandemic. But another plague, one we are not hearing nearly enough about from our leaders, will arrive in a wave just behind it.

That is the pandemic of severe depression and anxiety that will sweep over the world as the unemployment rate pushes into previously unseen digits, families who’d prefer to be socially distant are thrust together and young people are denied the certainty and structure of school.