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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2320 The Lucky Country? The Social History of Australia in the Twentieth Century

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Alexia Moncrieff

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The home of the oldest continuing civilisation, colonised by Britain, supposedly 'born on the beaches of Gallipoli' and located on the edge of Asia, Australia occupies an uncertain place in the world. With half of its citizens having at least one parent born somewhere else, it is a migrant nation on a large island with a recurring fear of invasion. Purportedly a classless society and proudly the land of the ‘fair go', inequalities persist across Australian society.This module examines the factors and events that have shaped Australia since Federation in 1901 up to Julia Gillard's ‘Misogyny Speech' on the floor of parliament in 2012. This turbulent period saw Australia move from the White Australia Policy to an uneasy embrace of multiculturalism, question the role of women in society, forcibly remove the children of Aboriginal Australians and then apologise in Federal parliament, and fight wars for the British Empire before turning to recognise its future security lay with America.Over the course of the module, students will investigate how Australians responded to this intense period, questioning ideas of identity, nation, race and gender. Students will examine the social, cultural, political and economic changes that have shaped Australia and the effects of those changes on its people.


The objectives of this module are:

1. To assess the nature of social, political and cultural change in Australia after 1901
2. To examine the responses to and effects of these changes.
3. To analyse the ways in which individuals and groups construct Australian identity to advocate for or against change.
4. To understand the diversity of the Australian experience
5. To critically analyse written and visual primary sources relating to the themes of the module
6. To evaluate historiographical developments in the history of modern Australia

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate broad knowledge of the significant events, people, places and themes in modern Australian history
2. Identify and account for the shifts and transformations in Australian politics and society since 1901
3. Critically analyse constructions of identity with specific reference to Australian history
4. Critically analyse the sources, methods and arguments used by historians of Australia and scholars in cognate disciplines
5. Proficiently use digitised primary source collections related to Australian history to locate relevant source material
6. Demonstrate skills of historical analysis both verbally and in writing


Topics may include:
Indigenous rights
Wars and their aftermaths
Protest and change
Migration and multiculturalism
Everyday life
Australian identity

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading and preparation for seminars
Further self-directed reading
Research for and preparation of assessments
Office hours and individual tutorials

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback will be provided after each biographical study
In-class discussion
Office hours and individual tutorials

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words due 12 noon Monday after semester 1 teaching ends60.00
AssignmentBiographical study, 2x1000 words (800 biography + 200 reflection)40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/05/2019


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