Broadsheets, broadcasts and Botany Bay: history in the Australian media

Bridget Griffen-Foley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The “Australians and the Past” survey in the late 1990s showed that the vast majority of people gained their principal historical understanding from some form of entertainment across their lifetime. for over a century the media has been a key source in the development of Australians’ historical understanding and historical consciousness. This article explores some of the many ways history has been presented by Australian journalists and other media practitioners, focusing on the press and radio, since World War I. The article surveys the coverage of the 1938 sesquicentenary of the British settlement of Australia, history pages in Australian newspapers, and an unusual historical newspaper published in 1948-9. it traces how the emergence of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and commercial radio during the interwar years created a new outlet for popular historians led by Frank Clune and distinguished professors such as S. H. Roberts. in doing so, it considers the role of journalism, and the media more generally, in creating a national narrative around Anzac Day; recognising indigenous dispossession; and facilitating the emergence of Australian public historians and intellectuals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow Journalism uses history
EditorsMartin Conboy
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780203722145, 9781135739041
ISBN (Print)9780415622905
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

Publication series

NameJournalism Studies: Theory and Practice
PublisherTaylor and Francis

Bibliographical note

First published in 2011 in Journalism Practice 5(5), pp. 566-583. DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2011.601910


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