Australian history and society

Download 1.48 Mb.
Size1.48 Mb.
  1   2


Semester Two, 2008

Unit Code:


Unit Title:


Credit Points:


Tuition hours per week:

Lectures: One two hour lecture

Tutorials: One tutorial a week

Teaching mode:


Unit Coordinator/Lecturer:

Dr Shane Burke and Dr Leigh Straw

(All queries should be addressed to Shane)


9433 0576, 042 983 2541


Office Location:

ND24/102 – School of Arts & Sciences, corner Croke and Mouat Streets

Unit Coordinator Hours:

I will be in my office most times except Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoons

Tutor Name/s:

Dr Leigh Straw and Dr Shane Burke


9433 0108 (Leigh) OR 9433 0576 (Shane)

Email: OR

Office Location:

ND24/108 (Leigh) OR ND24/102 (Shane)

Tutor Consultation Hours:

Leigh will advise students of her consultation times in Week 1’s tutorials.

Academic Staff


Dr Shane Burke is a lecturer with UNDA specialising in Western Australian history and archaeology. He received his PhD from the University of Western Australia for his research into the 1827 to 1860 archaeology of the British settlement of the Swan district Western Australia. He is interested in the archaeology and history of Western Australia’s colonial period. He is presently researching the 1830 dated Peel town near Kwinana.
Please do not hesitate contacting Shane if you have any queries regarding the unit. He can be reached outside of class times on or by the telephone numbers on page 1.


Dr Leigh Straw is a lecturer in Australian history and Aboriginal Studies. She also lectures in Modern American, British and European history. Leigh completed a PhD in Australian history in 2004 and is currently researching Scottish migration to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).

Unit Aims

This unit aims to provide US Study Abroad students with a substantial overview of Australian history and an analysis of the evolution of contemporary Australian society. It covers major themes and events in Australian history and offers a context for comparison with aspects of American history and society. A principal theme of the unit is of the small and isolated early settler population coming to terms with an unfamiliar and often hostile environment in one of the most remote parts of the British Empire. The unit examines Australia’s long pre-history before European arrival, and emphasises the changing pattern of Aboriginal/white relations – from armed friction on the frontier during colonial times, to the beginnings of a search for reconciliation. The brutal nature of the convict system, the desperate expansion of the gold period, and the sacrifices of Australians during the ‘Great War’ are all examined in some detail. Australia’s changing relationships with its powerful allies – Britain and the United States – are also examined. Through it all, Australia has had a bloody, determined and vibrant history as the ‘great southern land’ has, through the struggles of its migrants and indigenous people, been transformed into a modern society.

Semester Outline



Lecture and Seminar Topic




1 Aug

Studying Australian History/Australian Identity


Welcome and intro


8 Aug

Prehistory of Australia


Outpost of Empire


15 Aug

The Convict System


The Convict Stain


22 Aug

The Colonial Frontier and Aboriginal History


The Frontier


29 Aug

Gold, federation, and the rise of white Australia


Gold and Federation


5 Sept

The Great War: Australia’s Empire War


Anzacs and the Home front


12 Sept

Walking tour of Fremantle


No tutorial


19 Sept

FILM: Gallipoli (Dir. Peter Weir)


No tutorial


26 Sept

Australia’s World War Two: Australia, Japan and the United States


WWII and Ashes of Empire


No lectures or tutorials


10 Oct

Post-war migration, communism and Australia in the sixties


Menzies’ Australia and Australia in the Sixties


17 Oct

The Fight for Recognition: Aboriginal Issues 1967-2007


After the Referendum


24 Oct

From Keating to Howard


Movies from the Keating and Howard era


31 Oct

Unit Overview and Exam Preparation


Unit Overview and Australia’s Future

For a pass or better in this unit you are required to complete four pieces of assessment. Completion of all four elements is mandatory.
All written work must be submitted in accordance with the history formatting (see Footnoting) as laid out in the College of Arts and Sciences Referencing and Style Guide, 2008, available on the Arts and Sciences homepage at


Group Assignment – Heritage Walking Tour


Week 10 Thursday 9 Oct


Position Paper


Week 12 Thursday 23 Oct


Course research and class engagement






Exam period TBA

Written assignments must be submitted on time and in accordance with the unit convenor’s requirements. Cover pages can be downloaded from the university’s web page and should accompany all pieces of written work. Please note to use Australian English spelling for all written work. Simply change one’s computer language to English (AUS).

Assignments must be lodged with the College of Arts and Sciences office in ND19 (opposite Blink Coffee on High Street) no later than 4pm on the due date. Assignments received after this time will be marked as having been received on the following day.
1 Group Assignment: A heritage walking tour of Fremantle
Students need to form groups of five people. The assignment is to create a written, self-guided walking tour of Fremantle with an emphasis on its historical sites of significance.
Length: 3500 words.

Due Date: Week 10; Thursday 9 Oct by 4 pm, School of Arts and Sciences ND19 (opposite Blink Café in High Street)

Value: 40%

Feel free to be as creative as possible. To add colour and interest to your project, groups might wish to include maps, photographs, historical documents or cartoons, reprints of newspaper headlines and possibly even an audio or electronic/digital accompaniment. The possibilities for a rich and creative project are endless.

Each project should include the following:

  • A short overview of the history, geography and significance of Fremantle. This is one of the most important components of the assignment. (I suggest up to one-third of the length of the word limit);

  • A suggested route for the historical walk, though you may wish also to include sites of interest freely available on such public transport routes as the CAT bus;

  • Mention of sites of significance on your suggested routes (of an unlimited number); and

  • Detailed information regarding at least 12 of the sites on your suggested route.

Do not forget to:

  • Use a range of detailed, scholarly sources to provide the background information to your research on Fremantle and its local history;

  • Use scholarly secondary and primary sources to research the history of your chosen sites;

  • Reference your work with footnotes where appropriate (see the College of Arts and Sciences Referencing and Style Guide);

  • Provide a bibliography of all the sources you have used (again, see the style guide on how to set this out).

Each assignment should use a good range of primary and secondary sources. Be careful to use sources that are reliable, authentic and well researched. Avoid the use of ‘popular’ literature and shallow websites.

Note that the Fremantle Library has a fantastic local history collection, and its librarian is well trained to assist you in this assignment. The J.S. Battye Library of WA History (Alexander Library Building, Third Floor Perth Cultural Centre) is another place worth using for sources.
St Teresa’s library has a rich collection of electronic Databases dealing with Australian history. ‘Australian Public Affairs - Full Text’, ‘Science Direct – Health Sciences Collection’ and ‘Academic Search Primer’ are three of the best, but try others via the homepage’s Subject List on the Database’s right hand side.

You might wish to select some of the following sites for your research, but be brave and original. Just remember to research your sites, your local history, and your proposed route thoroughly.

Do not to forget to use sites of nineteenth and twentieth century significance:

  • Fremantle Prison

  • Round House

  • Port

  • CY O’Connor statue, Fremantle Port

  • Fremantle Passenger Terminal (Victoria Quay)

  • Rouse Head

  • Fremantle Bridge (Stirling Hwy)

  • Old colonial jetty (on Bathers Beach)

  • Bathers Beach

  • Fishing Boat harbour

  • Esplanade Hotel

  • Bannister Street

  • Explorer’s Monument, Esplanade park

  • Paddy Troy benches

  • Moore buildings

  • Lionel Samson building and business, Cliff Street

  • Former Drill Hall and naval officer’s buildings (now ND24)

  • Water police townhouses, Marine Tce

  • Prison warder’s cottages, Henderson Street

  • Fremantle court house – take your pick

  • Fremantle markets, South Terrace

  • His Majesty’s Hotel

  • Town Hall

  • Maritime Museum, new building

  • St John’s Church

  • St Patrick’s Basilica

  • Fremantle Train Station

  • Old Post Office

  • South Terrace coffee strip

  • Old Papa’s café (can you find where it used to be?)

  • Il Ciao restaurant (local eating landmark)

  • Old Mill, Essex Street (now swanky apartments)

  • Whaling tunnel, beneath the Round House

  • German consulate building, Mouat Street

  • Wreck of the Batavia

  • Commissariat building (now the Maritime Museum shipwrecks gallery)

  • Strelitz buildings, Mouat Street

  • Western Australian Bank building, 22 High Street

  • Bateman buildings, Croke Street (now ND law library)

  • Norfolk Hotel, corner Norfolk St and South Terrace

  • Tom Edwards memorial fountain, St John’s Square

  • Victoria Hotel, 179 High Street

  • South Beach

  • Fremantle Cemetery

  • Fremantle Arts Centre

  • Fremantle Oval

2 Position Paper
Students are required to write a well-researched and thoughtfully constructed position paper on one of the questions offered in the last pages of this outline.
Length: 2000 words.

Due Date: Week 12; Thursday 23 Oct by 4pm School of Arts and Sciences ND19 (opposite Blink Coffee in High Street)

Value: 20%
Students are required to write a well-researched and thoughtfully constructed position paper on ONE of the following questions:

  1. Humans have lived in Australia for thousands of years. What mechanisms did they use to survive?

  1. Was deterioration in relations between Aborigines and Europeans inevitable in the first decades of colonisation?

  1. What is meant by Australia’s pioneer heritage? Is it still relevant today?

  1. Critically assess the extent to which the Anzac Legend has shaped Australian national identity.

  1. Critically assess the impacts of immigration on post-war Australia?

  1. To what degree has Australia fought the wars of other nations?

  1. Critically analyse TWO issues that have most affected Australia since the 1950s?

Each position paper should be thoroughly researched with real use of at least the following:

  • 2 – 3 primary sources

  • 5 books

  • 3 – 5 journal articles

You must use academic sources for your research. The bibliography should not consist mainly of online sources (with the exception of library journal databases).

You are encouraged to use sources from the set text, Making Australian History, but your research must also go beyond this text.
Each position paper should be formatted according to the requirements of the College’s referencing and style guide.
Libraries which have material of use in constructing this assignment include:

  • Notre Dame University;

  • Murdoch University (ND students have reciprocal borrowing rights at Murdoch);

  • University of Western Australia; and

  • Battye Library and State Reference Library, Alexander Library Building, Perth.

3 Course research and class engagement
Each week you are assessed based on your ongoing research and preparation for each lecture and seminar, your sophisticated engagement in class discussion and enthusiastic participation in all other class activities. Students cannot ‘just turn up to class’ and pass this assessment of the course. Rather, students must clearly demonstrate thorough research, regular participation and effective involvement in all discussions.
Value: 10%
4 End of semester exam
The AL375 exam will consist of a list of essay topics from which you will choose two topics to write an essay in response to each. The essay topics will be based on the general themes of the unit as raised in lectures and seminars.
Length: 2 hours

Date: to be advised

Value: 30%
Late Submissions
Assignments must be lodged with the College of Arts and Sciences office in ND19 no later than 4pm on the due date. Assignments received after this time will be marked as having been received on the following day.
Your assignment will be subject to a 10% per day penalty if it is submitted late.
If there are any problems in submitting your assignment on time, please see me before the due date. If illness is a factor, a medical certificate must be produced and attached to your application for extension.
NOTE: Computer or technical problems are not grounds for extension or special consideration. ALL students MUST back up their work on a USB drive, CD-Rom or floppy drive.
If you are having serious problems in meeting the requirements of the unit, please speak with Dr Burke.
PLEASE NOTE: I encourage you to travel and see Australia’s diverse environment during your time at Notre Dame, but travel for the purposes of tourism is NOT a valid excuse for late submission of work. Prepare in advance.
Field Trip
A field trip is organised as part of this unit. The field trip is to an outlying Aboriginal community near Broome in the Kimberley region for five days - to study the life and history of the indigenous people of Australia and to experience the ‘outback’.
One two-hour lecture occurs each Friday from 8:30 to 10:30am in room ND1/103.
Students are expected to attend all lectures. While the lecture period is two hours long there will be a break between the first and second half. Each lecture period will address a specific topic covered in the unit outline.
All students will also be allocated to a tutorial group. The tutorials will be held on Friday mornings at either 11.30am or 12.30pm.
Students must attend all seminars and prepare adequately in advance by reading all of the required texts for that week.
In accordance with the School of Arts & Sciences Regulations Chapter IV:
4.1.1 A student who is absent from a unit without the approval of the Course Coordinator or Unit Coordinator from its scheduled lectures, tutorials, workshops or any other teaching period outlined in the unit outline may receive a Fail (F) grade for the unit.

4.1.2 Arrival at any teaching period more than 10 minutes after the commencement of the class may be deemed to constitute absence.

4.1.3 Full time attendance at all scheduled practicum/internships/fieldtrips, including necessary briefing sessions, is compulsory.
Reading for Seminars
All students are expected to do the essential reading for each week's seminar. Active participation in, and contribution to, seminar presentations and class debates counts towards your final grade.
The required text for this unit is:
Deborah Gare and David Ritter (eds) Making Australian History: Perspectives On The Past Since 1788, Thomson, South Melbourne, 2008.
This text provides students with a multi-authored collection of primary and secondary sources through articles, documents and short essays. It is an excellent text for studying Australian history and co-edited by our own Associate Dean, Deborah Gare, who will also give guest lectures.
Other recommended texts:
David Day, Claiming a Continent: A new history of Australia, 3rd edition, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2001.
Day’s history is a recent (and many students think interesting and lively) interpretation of Australia’s past. It is a recommended text but is not required.
Stuart Macintyre, A Concise History of Australia, 2nd edition, CUP, Melbourne, 2004.
Manning Clark, A Short History of Australia, Penguin, Melbourne, various editions.
Clark’s is a dated but classic history of Australia. The author was a seminal historian of Australia from the 1950s until his death in the early 1990s, and much of which has since been written is in many ways a response to Clark.
Essential Reading
The essential reading for each week is indicated within each seminar topic. Students are expected to read at least the essential reading. If you encounter problems getting hold of the essential reading, it is important that you read something from the supplementary reading list instead.
Further Reading
Essential readings do not cover all readings in each section of the Making Australian History text. You are most welcome to read through all the readings in each set section if you desire.
You will see that further reading titles are suggested within each thematic section of your set text, Making Australian History. Please feel free to consult these readings if you wish to extend your research on each topic further than the essential readings.
Further reading not available within the set text can be located in our own library, and many more in such libraries as the University of Western Australia (Nedlands), Murdoch University (Murdoch) and the State Reference Library (Alexander Library Building, Perth). All of these libraries are easily accessible by public transport from Fremantle.
Australian History and the Internet
Unless you are accessing primary sources, the internet is NOT generally suitable as a reference or source for your assignment research. If in doubt, see your academic staff.
While the internet can provide an interesting source of general background information, it is no substitute for ‘hard sources’ and solid research. For your interest, the National Library of Australia’s site, Australian History on the Internet, has some interesting links and primary sources. See:
Or visit Australian history links -
Many of the founding primary source documents of Australia are also available on the web. See
Please consult the College of Arts & Sciences style and referencing guide for more information on appropriate referencing.

All students at Notre Dame have an automatically generated webmail account. This is the address that all University staff will use to communicate with students by email. Important information relating to this unit (eg exam information, assignment extensions) will be conveyed to students via their student email account.
Students are expected to check their webmail account at least ONCE A WEEK.
Staff will not accept responsibility for students failing to check their student email account for important unit information.

The University seriously regards any acts of dishonesty in assessment such as plagiarism, collusion, re-submission of previously marked work in different units, copying and theft of other students’ work. You may not copy the work of another person, or have any other person write your work, assist you in your research and writing or do your research and writing for you.
If you present as your own work any quotes or ideas which come from someone else, without acknowledging the source, you have plagiarised.
All of the above behaviour amounts to academic dishonesty and will be viewed as serious misconduct by this University, resulting in penalties.
You are permitted to discuss ideas with other students but when it comes to writing the answers the work must be all your own, unless it is clearly a group assignment, acknowledged as such by the unit coordinator.

This Unit Outline provides students enrolled in the unit with important information regarding the unit’s outcomes, lecture and tutorial times, program outline, assessment structure, resources and texts.
Students are expected to have read and understood this Unit Outline in conjunction with the University’s General Regulations and relevant School Regulations as well as any other policy, guideline or procedure referred to in this document. University regulations can be accessed from:

Seminar Topics
Week 1

Introductory Tutorial
No readings: introductory seminar.

Week 2

Outpost of Empire’

Tutorial Discussion:
What were the main motives behind British interest in Australia? Were the British merely establishing a penal colony or were there other benefits for the Empire?
Essential reading:

Making Australian History: SECTION 2
Primary Sources
John Howard, The State of Prisons in England and Wales, 1777
Lord Sydney, Plan to establish a penal colony in New South Wales, 1786
Secondary Sources
The Tyranny of Distance – Geoffrey Blainey
1783-1870: An expanding empire – P. J Marshall
Further reading:
Consult the further reading list in Gare and Ritter (eds), Making Australian History, p. 62.

Week 3

The Convict Stain’

Primary sources used in SECTION 4 of your set text are available online. The tutorial discussion this week will be based on your research of the sources online.

  1. Get on a computer, connect to the internet and go to the website “Convict stories” (

  1. Browse through the list of individual convicts transported on particular ships. Pick out a few random convicts, click on a name, and have a look at how and why they ended up in Australia, and what happened to them after transportation. Remember that most of these notes were written by descendants of the convicts. To what extent has this resulted in a particular telling of the convict story? Print out, and/or make notes to bring to class about one of these convicts. (why was s/he transported? What happened to him/her in Australia?).

  1. Now go to the details on the last convict ship to Australia, The Hougoumont, which arrived in Fremantle in 1868 (Visit (Alternatively, go to the search function of the previous page and type in “Hougoumont”).

  1. Read the background details about the ship and its prisoners. Now scroll down to the specific details about each prisoner. Scroll left to right to read the individual details for each convict. You can also click on “physical description” to get more background, as recorded by the prison authorities, on the person’s marital status, occupation, height, distinguishing characteristics, etc.

  1. Examine the personal data for the prisoners. Who are the “Fenians” identified in the far right column of the log? How many were there on the Hougoumont? What was their crime? (you will obviously have to research beyond this site to find the answers).

  1. Now look at an individual convict from the Hougoumont. What was his crime? His sentence? His age? Where was he from? What was his occupation? Was he married or single? Anything interesting about his other personal details (view by clicking on “physical description”)?

  1. Now try to get a general sense the overall spread of convicts on the Hougoumont. What is the average age for instance? What was the average length of sentence? What was the average height? Where were they from? How many were skilled tradesmen and how many were “labourers”? Do any appear to be from wealthy or middle-class backgrounds (check occupations)? What was the most common criminal offence of those aboard the Hougoumont? What was the most unusual crime someone was sentenced for? What was the age of the youngest convict? And the oldest? Were most of the convicts sentenced for ‘serious’ or ‘petty’ crimes? What, if anything, does all this data tell us? Feel free to work in groups to get an overall sense of the answers to these questions.

Essential secondary source reading:
Counting the Convicts – The unlikely love affair between convicts and historians – Deborah Oxley
Further reading:
Consult the further reading list in Gare and Ritter (eds), Making Australian History, p. 131.

Week 4

Debating the Australian Frontier

Tutorial Debate:
Australia was settled peacefully and what took place on the Australian frontier between Aborigines and Europeans did not constitute a war.

Essential reading:
Making Australian History: SECTION 6
Primary Source
Henry Reynolds and Keith Windschuttle, ‘Debate rages over “peaceful” white settlement’, ABC Lateline broadcast, 2001.
Secondary Sources
Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience – Bain Attwood and S. G. Foster
Genocide in Australia? – Dirk Moses
Further reading:
Consult the further reading list in Gare and Ritter (eds), Making Australian History, p. 189.

Week 5

Gold and Federation
Tutorial Discussion:

Why did the Chinese become such a focus for discontent on the Goldfields?

What are the main components of Ward’s ‘Australian legend’?
• In what ways are gold and federation linked?

Essential reading:
Making Australian History: SECTIONS 7 and 8
Primary Sources
‘The attack on the Eureka Stockade’, Geelong Advertiser, 1854
‘The Lambing Flat Riots’, Sydney Morning Herald, 1861
Henry Parkes, Tenterfield Speech, 1889
Secondary Sources
The Australian Legend – Russel Ward
Inventing Australia – Richard White
To Constitute a Nation – Helen Irving
Further reading:
Consult the further reading list in Gare and Ritter (eds), Making Australian History, pp. 221 and 255.

Download 1.48 Mb.

Share with your friends:
  1   2

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page