Controversies in Australian History

Subject HIST30064 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29 hours – 12 x 1.5 hour lectures and 11 x 1 hour tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Andrew May



Subject Overview:

This subject examines controversial episodes in the Australian past that commanded public attention, gave rise to heated argument and exposed national divisions. Controversies such as the Myall Creek Massacre, the Eureka rising, the campaign for female suffrage, the conscription referenda in World War One, the Wave Hill walk-off, the Dismissal of 1975 and Pauline Hanson's maiden parliamentary speech threw up competing interests and generated alternative notions of entitlement. The outcomes had lasting consequences. By studying a number of controversies over 200 years of white occupation of Australia, the subject also reveals changing preoccupations of race, class, gender, nationality, as well as changing forms of popular participation and public accountability. By considering how the controversies arose and how they were handled the subject provides insight into public life, the creation of consensus and the legitimacy of national institutions. The controversies gave rise to shared memories and competing traditions. They have shaped Australian history and continue to generate alternative interpretations. The subject thus introduces students to some of the key moments in the country's history.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • have developed an appreciation of changing expectations and public engagement;
  • have developed a capacity to analyse competing interpretations of historical events; and
  • possess an enhanced understanding of popular memory and historical argument.
  • A 250 word essay proposal due early in the semester (10%)
  • A 2250 word research essay due in the second half of the semester (45%)
  • A 1500 word reflective essay due at the end of semester (35%)
  • Tutorial participation (10%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available on line.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - History
Graduate Diploma in Arts - History

Download PDF version.