University of Southern Queensland History Book Award shortlist

Armenia, Australia and the Great War cover

Armenia, Australia and the Great War

Vicken Babkenian & Peter Stanley

NewSouth Publishing

About the book

Australian civilians worked for decades supporting the survivors and orphans of the Armenian Genocide massacres. 24 April 1915 marks the beginning of two great epics of the First World War. It was the day the allied invasion forces set out for Gallipoli; and it marked the beginning of what became the Genocide of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenians. For the first time, this book tells the powerful, and until now neglected, story of how Australian humanitarians helped people they had barely heard of and never met, amid one of the twentieth century’s most terrible human calamities. With 50 000 Armenian-Australians sharing direct family links with the Genocide, this has become truly an Australian story.

About the authors

Vicken Babkenian is an independent researcher for the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Sydney, and a committee member of Manning Clark House, Canberra. He has written several articles on Australian international humanitarianism for newspapers and peer-reviewed history journals.

Peter Stanley is one of Australia’s most distinguished and active military historians. The author of 30 books, including Bad Characters – joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History in 2011. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2014.

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Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and reconstruction in the 1940s

Stuart Macintyre

NewSouth Publishing

About the book

In this landmark book, Stuart Macintyre explains how a country traumatised by World War I, hammered by the Depression and overstretched by World War II became a prosperous, successful and growing society by the 1950s. An extraordinary group of individuals, notably John Curtin, Ben Chifley, Nugget Coombs, John Dedman and Robert Menzies, re-made the country, planning its reconstruction against a background of wartime sacrifice and austerity. This book shows the 1940s to be a pivotal decade in Australia. Macintyre reminds us that key components of the society we take for granted – work, welfare, health, education, immigration, housing – are not the result of military endeavour but policy, planning, politics and popular resolve.

About the author

Stuart Macintyre AO is an Australian historian, academic and public intellectual. He is a former Ernest Scott Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Australia’s Boldest Experiment was awarded the 2016 Ernest Scott Prize, and is shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Australian History Prize.

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The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia’s Northern Trading Network

Julia Martinez and Adrian Vickers

University of Hawaii Press

About the book

Pearling, one of Australia's most valuable industries, flourished in the waters off northern Australia from the 1870s to the 1970s. This history builds a picture of a frontier industry that stretched from the Torres Strait to Broome and extended across to the islands of eastern Indonesia. Thousands of indentured workers came to Australia, some settling and marrying Indigenous women, some joining elite Australian forces during World War II. Working from the naturalisation records of men like Abdoel Gafoer, this history traces the moving life stories of those who worked and lived within this northern Australian maritime network.

About the authors

Associate Professor Julia Martínez, ARC Future Fellow at the University of Wollongong, is an historian of labour and migration in Australia and Asia. Her current projects include a co-authored book on colonial domestic service; an edited book on Chinese women in Australia; and a history of 'traffic' in women and children.

Professor Adrian Vickers, Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, is an internationally recognised scholar of modern Indonesian history and culture. He is Director of Asian Studies at the University of Sydney, and has been a Visiting Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the National University of Singapore.

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The Unseen Anzac cover

The Unseen Anzac

Jeff Maynard

Scribe Publications

About the book

Cameras were banned at the Western Front when the Anzacs arrived in 1916, prompting correspondent Charles Bean to argue continually for Australia to have a dedicated photographer. He was eventually assigned an enigmatic polar explorer — George Hubert Wilkins. Within weeks of arriving at the front, Wilkins’ exploits were legendary. He did what no photographer had previously dared to do. He went ‘over the top’ with the troops and ran forward to photograph the actual fighting. Wilkins ultimately produced the most detailed and accurate collection of World War I photographs in the world, which is now held at the Australian War Memorial.

About the author

Jeff Maynard is an author and documentary maker. His books include Niagara’s Gold, Divers in Time, and Wings of Ice. He is a former editor of Australian Motorcycle News, and retains a keen interest in classic motorcycles. He is a member of the Explorers Club and is on the board of the Historical Diving Society. Jeff continues to research Sir Hubert Wilkins and locate his records and artefacts in Australia, Europe, and the USA. Jeff lives in Melbourne with his wife, Zoe, and their family.

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The Oldest Foods on Earth: A history of Australian native foods with recipes

John Newton

NewSouth Publishing

About the book

We celebrate cultural and culinary diversity, yet shun foods that grew here before white settlers arrived. We say we revere sustainable local produce, yet ignore Australian native plants and animals that are better for the land than those European ones. John Newton boils down these paradoxes and more, as European Australians begin to accept and relish the flavours of Australia, from kangaroo to quandongs, from fresh muntries to the latest addition, magpie goose. With recipes from chefs such as Peter Gilmore, Maggie Beer and René Redzepi’s sous chef Beau Clugston, The Oldest Foods on Earth will convince you that this is one food revolution that really matters.

About the author

John Newton is a freelance writer, journalist and novelist. He writes on food, eating, travel, farming and associated environmental issues. His most recent books are Grazing: The Ramblings and Recipes of a Man Who Gets Paid to Eat (2010) and A Savage History: Whaling in the Pacific and Southern Oceans (2013). In 2005 he won the Gold Ladle for Best Food Journalist in the World Food Media Awards

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Gay Sydney: A History

Garry Wotherspoon

NewSouth Publishing

About the book

Garry Wotherspoon’s Gay Sydney: A History is an updated version of his 1991 classic, City of the Plain: History of a Gay Sub-culture, written in the midst of the AIDS crisis. In this vivid book Wotherspoon traces the shifts that have occurred since then, including majority support for marriage equality and anti-discrimination legislation. He also ponders the parallel evaporation of a distinctly gay sensibility and the disappearance of once-packed gay bars that have now become cafes and gyms.

About the author

Garry Wotherspoon is a historian, former Sydney University academic, and a former NSW History Fellow. His books include Being Different: Nine gay men remember. He co-authored, with Clive Faro, Street Seen: A history of Oxford Street.

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