Parliament, Melbourne, 1901

The Friends of the National Library of Australia present an opportunity to question two of Australia’s most eminent and most productive historians. Professor Frank Bongiorno and Professor Peter Stanley will think aloud about where Australian history is now and where it is going.

The session will be moderated by Dr Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, a former Director-General of the National Library.

To pigeon-hole the two historians is impossible. Frank’s Sex Lives of Australians (ACT Book of the Year 2013) and Peter’s Bad Characters (recipient of the Prime Minister’s History Award 2011) take us into the private lives of Australians. Do these two historians have anything else in common? One a social/political historian, the other a military historian. You can explore with them how they see and write history.

Join the Friends for a night that will be thought-provoking, informative and fun. Come with your questions and be ready to argue and provoke! 

About the speakers

Frank Bongiorno is Professor of History at the Australian National University. His books include The Sex Lives of Australians: A History (2012), The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia (2015) and Dreamers and Schemers: a Political History of Australia (2022), whichrecently won the Australian Political Studies Association Henry Mayer Book Prize and ACT Book of the Year. Frank is President of the Australian Historical Association and the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Dr Anne-Marie Schwirtlich has led the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Victoria and the National Archives of Australia. She is a member of the Council of the ANU.

Peter Stanley is one of Australia’s most prolific military-social historians and the author of over 40 books. He was formerly Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial and recently retired as Research Professor at UNSW Canberra. He has just delivered to NewSouth Publishers what will be his 45th book, Beyond the Broken Years: Australian Military History in a Thousand Books. He also writes fiction and ‘his novel of sport and war in the islands’, The Sherrin will be published by Big Sky in 2025.

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Image: Mr Kingston introducing the first Commonwealth Tariff in Melbourne, 1901,

Type Special event