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Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson: Serving and leading in wartime Egypt

The line of horses struggled in the desert hills, their fetlocks sinking deep in the soft, burning sand. The dust stirred by their efforts rose in the still, searing air. The relentless sun seemed intent on delivering one message: ‘Go home, Aussies. This place is for camels, not horses.’ It was the Sinai Desert, 1917 […]

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Arthur Stace: ‘Mr Eternity’

On New Year’s Eve 1999, an estimated 2 billion television viewers around the world watched Sydney’s spectacular millennium fireworks celebrations. The year 2000 was going to be a big year for Sydney. It was going to host the Olympic Games later in the year, and the whole country – actually, the whole world – was […]

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Caroline Chisholm: The Immigrant’s Friend

A French historian, Michelet, wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald of 8 February 1911: The richest and most powerful Government of the world, master of India and a million men, failed in the colony, where a single woman succeeded through her force of character and vigour of soul. Without fortune or help she did more for the […]

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Arthur Phillip and his associates: Caring for the First Fleet and the Colony

This is not only a story of what happened on Noah’s Ark, this is what happened as Captain Arthur Phillip prepared to bring the First Fleet to Australia. Each of the eleven vessels was like a mini-Noah’s Ark. In this and many other ways, Phillip and his associates were preparing for a trip that would […]

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Andrew Gillison: Brave Gallipoli Chaplain

The convoy of nervous soldiers sailed towards Anzac Cove. The plan was to storm the peninsula and defeat the enemy Turkish soldiers. It was hoped that this would help to speedily win the war. But they had no idea what lay ahead. Later in the day, they transferred from their ships into smaller boats and […]

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Arthur Smith Arnott: The Original ‘SAO’

Australians have always shown a bit of creativity with their favourite biscuits. Just eating them is not enough. We like to play with them!  Long before someone thought to bite the corners off a Tim Tam and slurp coffee up through the centre, millions of Aussie children squeezed thin yellow and black worms out of […]

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Bill Ferguson: Indigenous Civil Rights Leader

In December 1949, Bill Ferguson made this commitment to his people in a political speech: To all you people of Aboriginal blood, I say … I am fighting for your freedom. Aboriginals still live under laws meant only to control criminals and lunatics: they are not allowed ordinary human rights … I can promise you […]

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Bob Mellows: Caring about Safety at Work

A smouldering fire in a timber pumphouse deep underground led to one of the most terrible mine disasters in Australian history. It also led to one of the greatest rescues – a triumph of human determination and cooperation. More than a century ago, on 12 October 1912, the day’s shift of copper miners headed deep […]

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Captain James Cook: a Man of High Morals

He was standing at the water’s edge facing advancing Hawaiian warriors. Unfortunately, at that crucial moment, some of his men started shooting from the boats. As he turned to stop his men from firing, he was fatally stabbed and fell face-first in the water. This is the story of James Cook’s death. The nation of […]

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David Garland: the Man who Invented Anzac Day

The catch cry of Chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel Canon David Garland was ‘nothing is too good for our soldier boys’. This shows the heart of a man dedicated to the soldiers he served. Born in Ireland in 1864, Garland migrated to Australia at the age of 22. He successfully campaigned for religious education to be introduced into […]