Feed your mind with the best Australian stories and national discussions.
Fellowship Presentation: Revising the Life of Bennelong
56:49While Bennelong is a name well known – the truth of the man is still misunderstood by many. In her presentation, Professor Kate Fullagar aims to explore the truth of his history by presenting neglected evidence about his latter life. She will also compare the work of Bennelong to that of some of his contemporary First Nations negotiators in other parts of the Pacific. Professor Kate Fullagar is a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow.
Curator Talk: Why the Artists of the Picturesque Atlas Matter
52:58Learn the extraordinary story of the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia and its impact on the Australian art-world between 1885 and 1900. At this event you'll hear from Dr Gary Werskey, co-curator of the Library's current exhibition A Nation Imagined: The Artists of the Picturesque Atlas, who will explore why a group of American artists and entrepreneurs joined forces with Sydney's artist-illustrators in the production of this landmark publication, and how they ultimately shaped the direction of Australian art and put it on the world's stage. A Nation Imagined: The Artists of the Picturesque Atlas is presented in partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales and will be open until Sunday 11 July 2021. The exhibition was co-curated by Dr Gary Werskey, Honorary Associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney and author of Picturing a Nation: The Art and Life of A.H. Fullwood, and Natalie Wilson, Curator of Australian and Pacific Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
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Fellowship Presentation: The Dreamworlds of Empire
33:24Dr Andrew Levidis explores the transnational network of bureaucrats, soldiers and propagandists, who served the Japanese and Manchukuo empires and their role in shaping right-wing and socialist politics in Cold War East Asia. It rethinks the transitions from empire to Cold War beyond the binaries of superpower conflict and national experience of decolonization.
The Life of a Spy: In Conversation with Rod Barton
1:04:21What do you expect when graduating with a science degree? To disarm militia in war-torn Mogadishu? To search out Iraq’s elusive weapons of mass destruction? Do you wonder what a spy does? Join former Australian intelligence officer and author Rod Barton in conversation with ABC journalist and author Michael Brissenden, as Rod discusses his new memoir, The Life of a Spy. Rod Barton is a former Australian intelligence officer. After starting his career with the Australian Government as a junior scientist, he led an extraordinary life of espionage, working with the UN and several spy agencies, searching for illegal weapons and Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction
Tracking Charlotte: In Conversation with Judith Crispin
49:37“For generations my family wanted to conceal their Aboriginal roots. Our darker complexions, I was told, harkened back to Spanish sailor shipwrecked near Scotland, or invading Moors…The lie was only a few generations back, but it took me almost twenty years to uncover”. Dr Judith Crispin, the 2020 Honorary National Library Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing, shares her journey to uncover the truth about her ancestry, and the Hidden Generations. Join us as Judith reveals how she came to write an imaginary biography in honour of her Grandfather’s Grandmother, Charlotte, informed only by entries in a ledger, a single photo, and the drawings of Charlotte’s countryman, artist Tommy McRae. Dr Judith Crispin is a poet and visual artist with a background in music. She has two published poetry collections, The Myrrh-Bearers (Sydney: Puncher & Wattmann, 2015) and The Lumen Seed (New York: Daylight Books, 2017). Judith founded the poetry reading series at Manning Clark House and is currently poetry editor for The Canberra Times. Much of Judith’s writing is centered around the experience of searching for her Bpangerang ancestry, and her long-term friendship with Warlpiri people.
Fellowship Presentation: The Eastern Isle - Norfolk Island in colonial art and writings
47:14The colonial heritage of Norfolk Island is little known to most Australians. 2020 NLA Fellow, Alisa Bunbury’s recent research comprises a careful and structured examination of visual imagery created during the various stages of its settlement during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These images show the difficulties of contact and communication with its steep cliffs and dangerous reef; the clearing of the land for agricultural purposes; the indigenous flora and fauna, including rare documentation of species driven to extinction; and the built environment, including the long-demolished first settlement and the later penitentiary buildings, the ruins of which are now World Heritage listed. Written records and recollections complement the visual material, ranging from diaries, letters and naval journals to published accounts of visits, official appointments or the horrendous treatment endured by convicts imprisoned there. Alisa’s research aims to bring the numerous stories of this tiny island to light in time for the 250th anniversary of the Resolution's crew sighting Norfolk Island in 2024.
Fellowship Presentation: Darkened Rooms - Death, Spiritualism and the Great War
44:51Over 400,000 men enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces to fight in World War I. Nearly one in every five of them was never to return. As every strata of society searched for meaning amidst such cataclysmic loss, many turned to Spiritualism — a fringe religion built on the belief that “death is not a cessation of life but a mere change in condition” and that those who had passed on could communicate with the living. Why did so many rational men and women place their faith in Spiritualism? How did spirit mediums convince them that communication with the dead was possible? And what was the impact of Spiritualism on the Australian experience of the Great War? Author Nadia Bailey is drawing from her research in the Library's collections for her historical novel in progress. Nadia Bailey is a Melbourne-based author, journalist and editor. She was the 2019 UNESCO City of Literature Creative Resident in Kraków, Poland, and a 2018 Midsumma Futures Fellow. Her essays, short fiction and poetry have been widely represented in anthologies and journals, and she has published several books on popular culture with Smith Street Books.
Canberra: Part of the Nation's Capital with Jack Waterford
1:03:34Jack Waterford AM delivers the 2021 Canberra Day Oration, Canberra: Part of the Nation's Capital, presented by the Canberra & District Historical Society. From its foundation in 1953, the Canberra & District Historical Society has promoted the annual observance of Canberra Day on 12 March. In the years that follwed, the Society celebrated Canberra Day in a variety of ways, including Pioneer Gatherings, exhibitions, essay competitions, orations and commemorations at the Commencement Stone. In 2002 the Society re-introduced the Canberra Day Oration, with Professor Don Aitkin as the first orator. Since then the Canberra Day Oration has been an annual event, held on 12 March. Image: Valentine & Sons. (1910). Canberra the capital of Australia, sketch view looking west Retrieved January 27, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-153091444
2021 Creative Arts Fellowship Presentation Frank: Hurley in Antarctica
54:222021 Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing, Dr Jordie Albiston, discusses her research process at the National Library for her new poetry project ‘Frank’. ‘Frank’ comprises of poems based on the diaries of James Francis Hurley from two Antarctic expeditions (under Mawson, and then Shackleton) and his subsequent picture-show tour. Approximately 120 poems offer a poetic mosaic of Hurley's experiences as man and Antarctic photographer, at the end of the heroic age of exploration. Individual diary entries will be redacted to poetry while honouring the unique specificities — vocabulary, rhythm, tone — of Hurley's voice. This transformative shift aims to generate a fresh viability for such documents, enabling a contemporary audience to interact with, and appreciate archival accounts on a completely new range of levels: from the formal and literary level of 'text', to the universal and philosophical level of what it means to be human. Image: Hurley, Frank (1910), [Frank Hurley photographing from the tip of the jib-boom of the Discovery, Banzare, 1929-1931] [Antarctica], (detail), nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn92416