Articles

Both major parties were suckerpunched into supporting the $500m war memorial expansion | Paul Daley

The fear of being seen to disrespect Anzac has meant political support for the unnecessary expansion

Australia has not witnessed a more profligate cultural expense proceed with such a shamefully reckless absence of political scrutiny as the proposed half billion dollar expansion of the Australian War Memorial.

Eddie McGuire is too frequently bringing shame and embarrassment to Collingwood | Paul Daley

Casual, unintended discrimination has the very same impact as the intentional

Eddie McGuire could tell you that successful football clubs, like most enduring political parties, stand on history, myth and memory – handed down supporter to supporter, father to daughter, mother to son, decade after decade, even century after century.

Sydney moves to autumn without drumroll - surprising for this drama queen of a city | Paul Daley

I’m celebrating a change of season whose signs I’ve come to long for and celebrate

Born on the second day of autumn, it’s little wonder I’ve always felt most at home in cities where that season celebrates itself with dramatic shifts of hue and climate.

Melbourne. Canberra. London. And Canberra again, where the Limestone Plains – and the hundreds of thousands of European trees imposed upon them – segue from verdant to every glorious variation of russet and gold, as the air sharpens under an ever more vivid, clear cobalt sky.

'A big jump': People might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought | Paul Daley

The result of 11 years of research suggests that human habitation could stretch to 120,000 years

Extensive archaeological research in southern Victoria has again raised the prospect that people have lived in Australia for 120,000 years – twice as long as the broadly accepted period of human continental habitation.

Decolonising the dictionary: reclaiming history for the forgotten | Paul Daley

An upgrade of the Australian Dictionary of Biography is long overdue – it’s time to include the many women and Indigenous leaders time forgot

You’re a student writing an essay or a journalist traversing uncertain historical terrain and you want to know a little, for example, about colonial leader Lachlan Macquarie, pioneering “settler” John Batman or former governor general William Slim.

Why Blackburn’s whip is a shocking reminder of Australia's history | Paul Daley

The whip is the only surviving documented wooden artefact from the first fleet’s encounter with Aboriginal people

If a single item could encapsulate the clash of Indigenous and European cultures and laws that began with the arrival of the first fleet, it is almost certainly one held in the collection of the South Australian Museum.

Celebrating nationhood on 26 January has become a gratuitous act of hostility

Until Australia deals with the unfinished business of Aboriginal sovereignty there will be no appropriate date to celebrate a supposedly unified nation

Another year passes and as Australia emerges from its summertime slumber so, too, does the now predictable “debate” about 26 January, rearing its head like some perennial Jabberwocky to the elites of media and politics.

What is Christmas about but memories as we age? | Paul Daley

Christmas has become a time of ghosts. Of my parents, of children who became adults, of dogs passed

After more than half a century of Christmases, memories still seem to somehow attach themselves, limpet-like, to unlikely gifts.

So many presents except books – I always keep books – end up, I hate to say, forming part of my life’s landfill. But there are a few unlikely stayers, simple gifts that keep on giving to the memory if not exactly to the prosaic practicalities of my life.

The moment that forever changed my perspective on Anzac mythology | Paul Daley

The Surafend massacre shows that the core business of good history must always be the preservation of memory

One winter’s morning a decade ago while in the late stages of archival research for a book about the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East during the first world war, I came across a file that would forever alter my perspective on Anzac mythology.

Pages