Agora (2021/Issue 3) – Colonial Histories

Agora is a journal of curated professional reading for history teachers. This digital download of the latest issue covers colonial ambitions that criss-crossed Europe, Asia and America, with Australia’s colonial history enmeshed at its core. Delve into the role of piracy in the British Empire, find out more about the indigenous man who was integral to circumnavigating Australia, learn how colonisation impacted the Australian environment, discover how European company men used marriage to leverage influence, plus there’s some excellent advice on how to teach difficult histories.

Please note that full-colour, print copies of Agora are available by annual subscription.


About this item






Reflection | Bianca Crawford
Editorial | Guy Nolch


THEMA | Reflections on the theme

The Role of Piracy in the British Empire | Scott Hetherington
The British Empire was established on the back of pirates who enriched the Crown with Spanish treasure that funded the expansion of the Royal Navy.

A French Australia: What Were the Chances? | Matthew Allanby
The French were exploring Australia’s coastline at the same time as the British, but a number of obstacles and different priorities saw the British establish Antipodean colonies.

The Indigenous Man Who ‘Volunteered’ to Sail with Matthew Flinders | Harrison Croft
Bungaree does not appear in official records, but Flinders’ journal reveals he was essential to the successful circumnavigation of Australia.

The Antipodean Legacies of Atlantic Slavery | Zoë Laidlaw
Compensation awarded to British slave-owners under the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 enabled them to redirect their Atlantic assets and practices to Australia’s burgeoning settler colonies.

Misrepresentation of Tasmania’s Indigenous People across Time | Lyndon Pratt
An extinction narrative created by nineteenth century colonists in Tasmania was maintained into the 1970s through media narratives of Truganini as the last of Tasmania’s Aboriginal people.

Colonisation and the Australian Environment, 1788–1900 | Richard Broome
At least nine ideas need to be considered when understanding the impact of colonisation on Australia’s environment.

Coronial Investigations as Primary Sources in Colonial History | Madonna Grehan
Coronial investigations into maternal deaths are a window into the private realm of childbirth in colonial Australia, a period in which regulation did not apply to the work or the people who performed it. These records also have a broader application for studying aspects of colonial life.

Gender and Power in Colonial Encounters between European Company Men and Asian Elites | Susie Protschky
Company men sought to extend their influence in India and the Dutch East Indies by establishing families with elite local women.

The Colonisation and Unification of Predynastic Egypt | Diana Millar
Over a period of  300 years, southern kings in the Nile Valley gradually took over Lower Egypt so they could rule the whole of Egypt.


PRAKTIKOS | Teaching Ideas

Imperial Power Dialogues in Melbourne’s Streets | Monique Webber
The location of significant public facilities in Melbourne’s ‘Hoddle Grid’ deliberately imposes representations of colonial power from the Ancient Roman empire onto the lands of the Kulin Nations.

Teaching Difficult Histories: Approaches for the Classroom | Bill Lewis
The prospect of teaching contested colonial histories can be daunting, but a balance of teaching strategies and awareness of potential pitfalls can lead to some of the most stimulating moments in the classroom.

From Colony to Nation with the National Gallery of Victoria | Monique Nolan, Johanna Petkov and Leah Santilli
The National Gallery of Victoria has developed learning resources and programs that connect key historical events in Australian history with artworks, artefacts and cultural material.

Exploring Historical Thinking Concepts in a Recreation of Thanksgiving | Christopher L. Hart
A Thanksgiving feast in the classroom is a memorable way for students to immerse themselves in the colonisation of North America by the Pilgrims.


SUNGRAPHO | Original Research

The Naming of the Yarra River as an Act of Colonialism | Jack Norris
The naming of features within the Australian landscape is an act of colonial possession that has silenced and ignored Indigenous knowledge and presence within the Australian landscape.