Historian urges Australia Day education 


In the face of waning public awareness about what Australia Day represents, governments need to introduce the proposed national history curriculum as soon as practicable, according to a leading historian.

An Emeritus Professor with Charles Darwin University, David Carment AM, said he believed that the introduction of a national curriculum, in which history was a compulsory subject, was a key step in raising public understanding of Australia Day and other national dates of significance.

“Although most know that Australia Day is a public holiday and an opportunity to celebrate Australian values, far too many people don’t seem to know that it marks the anniversary of the British settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788,” he said.

Professor Carment said he believed that while organisations such as the Australia Day Council were energetically encouraging public awareness and understanding of Australia Day, much work still remained.

“Many people view Anzac Day as being more important in the commemoration of national values and what we should be striving to do is bring knowledge of Australia Day’s origins on par with that of April 25,” he said.

Professor Carment said the Territory in particular could benefit from the New South Wales model, where all school students were required to study Australian history comprehensively.