Author Archives: Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds

About Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds is an eminent Australian historian.

HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia goes fishing in troubled waters.

A few weeks ago Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned ‘ China’s  actions in the South China Sea’, adding that in recent days the Australian frigate HMAS Parramatta had been conducting exercises with two American naval vessels as they ‘passed through … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Between America and China?

 In his Lowy lecture delivered in Sydney last October Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared that ‘Australia does not have to choose between the United States and China.’

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 13 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. James Cook and the Contested ‘Discovery’ of Eastern Australia

With the widespread reporting of this year’s diminished Anzac Day, it seems we have forgotten another notable Cook cancellation. Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Thoughts on an unusual Anzac Day

This Anzac Day we should question the relentless militarisation of our history and the cult of the digger. These ideals make it easier for Australian governments to commit to wars overseas and more difficult for critics to engage in serious … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 4 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS supports Pearls and Irritations.

As a daily reader of Pearls and Irritations and an occasional contributor, I am keenly aware of how important it is both to me personally and to the community at large.

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HENRY REYNOLDS.- When will we see a cost-benefit of our meddling in the Middle East?

By the end of this year Australia will have begun the process of removing our armed forces from the Iraq and Afghanistan or at least be considering what can fairly be termed a retreat after a series of engagements lasting … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia Day or dying in a ditch for January 26.

Australia Day divides rather than unites the community which we presume is the key reason for having a national day in the first place.

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 6 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. ‘Strange situation’: Why Australia must strike a treaty. (SMH 1.6.2019)

In ringing tones the Uluru Statement declares the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign nations of the Australian continent and possessed it under their own laws and customs. Sovereignty has never been ceded or extinguished, and … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Indigenous affairs | 2 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS.  The centre cannot hold.

In a recent article in the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat drew attention to the Australian elections and the cotemporaneous triumph of Narendra Modi in India and of Nigel Farage in Britain’s European elections. Each represented a surge in … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Anzac Day.

As we approach Anzac Day for another year, its national significance is reaffirmed. But we are so familiar with the accustomed ritual and rhetoric that it escapes critical scrutiny. And its sanctity places it outside the reach of sceptical inspection. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. The Debate About Anzus and the Defence of Taiwan.

 Last week Pearls and Irritations printed spirited contributions by Hugh White and Cavan Hogue about the future of Anzus and the American Alliance. They were both responding to an earlier paper in The Strategist, the in- house journal of the … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. January 26….. and our Declaration of Dependence.

As we approach another Australia Day, public interest quickens and rhetoric escalates. On both sides of the front line the old trenches are reoccupied and well-known strategies rehearsed. The hostility of indigenous Australians looms large in the thinking of both … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. When will it end?

Three days after the Abbott government was sworn in on the 18th of September 2013 the new defence minister Senator David Johnston made a statement to the media. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he wanted the military to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 6 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. The Best of 2018: Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’.

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Has the Cavalcade of Commemoration Finally Halted?

With Remembrance Day behind us we may finally have some relief from the relentless commemoration of conflict which began twenty years ago and climaxed with the centenary of the First World War. Historians of the future may well wonder where … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 7 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Mateship Multiplied.

I was idly trawling through the many programmes available on the hotel’s television and came upon the History Channel. To my surprise there was a feature about what was called Australia’s 100 years of mateship with the United States although … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Henry Reynolds: Australia was founded on a hypocrisy that haunts us to this day.

US slave owners wrote and spoke about liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness. Similar hypocrisy, buried in the foundations of settler Australia, has escaped comparable scrutiny.

Posted in Indigenous affairs | 2 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Ethno-nationalism and Australia’s place in the world.

Ethno-nationalism is resurgent in many European countries, in the United States and in Israel. Hostility to immigration and to refugees is widespread. The Australian debate about the level of immigration is a mild symptom of the present malaise. Andrew Bolt’s … Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Media, Politics | 4 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. A HUNDRED YEARS OF MATESHIP.

The poster was launched by the Australian Embassy in Washington on July 4th, Independence Day. It attracted no attention at all locally which may have been a blessing. I only heard about it when reading the Australian edition of the … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 4 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’. (Repost from 7/5/2018)

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 10 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. The Fighting Retreat of the Anglo-Australians.

Australian budgets rarely make news in Britain. But the Sunday Times was moved to feature the Government’s decision to commit just under $50 million to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival at Botany Bay in 1770. Two points were … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’.

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 10 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Remembrance Day in New York: Anzac Day in Tasmania.

I was in New York during May last year. At the end of the month, there was a public holiday. It was their Remembrance Day. Not that much happened in New York. There were no flags, no marches or processions. … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 3 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Brendan Nelson and the War Memorial – what about the Frontier Wars?

On Friday the Director of the Australian War Memorial Brendan Nelson announced plans for a massive redevelopment of the institution which would cost up to $500 million.He hoped to receive the required funding in next year’s budget and he is … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous affairs, Politics | 7 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Where Was The Governor-General?

Sir Peter Cosgrove was not in Canberra last week to swear in the new leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime-Minister. As far as I am aware there was no official explanation for his absence. But it turned out … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. A hundred years of mateship?

 I was astonished!  An SBS news report about the Turnbull visit to Washington declared that the two countries were celebrating their hundred years of alliance. Where had this extraordinary snippet of history come from, I wondered? I then discovered that … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia: A Belligerent Nation

Much discussion has been generated by the recently released Defence White. There were several penetrating essays in Pearls and Irritations. But looking at the text as a historian it seemed that some of the most interesting observations passed without notice. I … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

Henry Reynolds. Militarisation marches on . A REPOST

The Australian military featured heavily again in our celebrations of Australia Day 2018. There were Army parades in Canberra and the Navy on show in Sydney Harbour. The militarisation of Australia and the language of war has become the new … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Another Australia Day!

Another Australia Day; another angry national debate! Little has changed, then, since last year. The partisans of both persuasions have returned to their old trenches. The rhetorical exchanges are much as they were twelve months ago.

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Unnecessary wars.- A REPOST from October 26 2017

In a letter written in August 1855 to his colleague John Bright, the great free trade liberal, Richard Cobden, expressed his hostility to Britain’s involvement in the Crimean War.  ‘And yet I doubt’, he observed, ‘if there be a more … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 5 Comments