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HIS2000 Contemporary Australia

Semester 1, 2022 Toowoomba On-campus
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 30 June 2022


Examiner: Jayne Persian


Pre-requisite: One unit of History or INR1000 or INR1001


This course is valuable for students wanting a foundation for understanding contemporary Australian society. It is particularly useful for students majoring in Journalism, International Relations and Social Justice, as well as History. It further develops skills of interpretation first introduced in HIS1001 Introduction to Australian history and completes the narrative of that course by covering the major events that shaped Australia from war in the Pacific to the Kevin Rudd years.

This course explores the social, economic, political and cultural history of Australia from World War II to the present. Its themes include the persistence of racial beliefs and their impact on Australia's response to world affairs, Australia's new relations with Britain and the United States, consumerism and its effect on social order, the challenge of the social movements of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the impact of globalisation and the Culture Wars of the Howard Government. There will be further development of critical and interpretative skills through the analysis of primary and secondary sources. NOTE: Students who have already passed the old unit 95501 will not be permitted to enrol in this course.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should demonstrate:

  1. a knowledge and understanding of developments in post-war Australian society;
  2. academic and professional literacy skills through the ability to distinguish primary and secondary sources and to evaluate them critically;
  3. intermediate academic and professional literacy skills through the ability to synthesize material from diverse sources and to construct an argument;
  4. competence in written and oral communication skills by defending particular historical interpretations in both class discussion (ONC) and assignment work;
  5. management, planning and organisation skills by using feedback from the first tutorial presentation to improve their performance in the second;
  6. ethical research and enquiry skills by finding appropriate sources and adhering to norms of academic integrity.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Total war, gender and the return to domesticity 10.00
2. The legacy of the depression and post-war idealism 10.00
3. White Australia policy and post-war immigration 10.00
4. ANZUS, the Commonwealth and British nuclear tests 10.00
5. The Cold War and Australian political and cultural conservatism - spies, censorship and religious sectarianism 10.00
6. Vietnam and the challenge of the social movements 10.00
7. Whitlam and his dismissal 10.00
8. Reassessments of the Fraser years in the light of economic rationalism 10.00
9. Social movements and their impact on Australian society and culture 10.00
10. Economic rationalism and the demise of the Australian Settlement 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Macintyre, S & Basford, A 2013, The Cambridge history of Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, viewed 16 January 2018,

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%)
Date printed 30 June 2022