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Snapshots of Australian History

These stories explore many themes and raise various issues related to aspects of Australian history.

Themes often become clearer if you try to answer a specific question. It can be interesting to ask yourself a question from a personal perspective, such as: 'Where are my family and I placed in Australian history?' or 'How has my family witnessed change in Australia’s history?'.

You may want to explore a broader theme, such as: 'How do we function as a community?', 'What has instigated change in Australia?' or 'What factors place stress on an individual or a community?'


Australia has a culturally diverse population. The majority of Australians are descendents of people who left their communities to form another as they migrated to Australia. About one quarter of people currently living in Australia have migrated from overseas.


Reconciliation has been a catchcry for many Australians in recent years. What does reconciliation mean to you? What does reconciliation generally mean in the Australian context? Why is there a perceived need for reconciliation?

The Stolen Generation

The removal of Aboriginal children from their parents was an ongoing practice that did not just span one generation – it spanned many. It was also only one aspect of a much broader undermining of Indigenous culture and disempowerment of Indigenous people in Australia since white settlement.

Indigenous cultural identity: past and future

To a very large extent, whoever holds the camera controls the depiction of the subject. Similarly, whoever writes the history books determines the perspectives of written history, and whoever controls the education of the young determines past interpretations and influences future beliefs.


These stories explore the racism that underpinned discrimination towards Indigenous Australians before and after World War I. How can events in history influence the present and future direction of a democracy?

World War II

World War II began on 1 September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland without warning. By the evening of 3 September, Britain and France were at war with Germany, and within a week, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa had also joined the war.

The Vietnam War

After World War II and the Korean War there was growing concern about the spread of communism. In 1961 the government in South Vietnam requested security assistance from the United States and its allies. Australia supplied 30 military advisers to South Vietnam in 1962.


It is often said that ‘Australia is the land of the long weekend’. It is also said that ‘Australians don’t live to work but we work to live’. While we might appear to enjoy our leisure time and recreation, statistics indicate that we are getting less of it.

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