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Archives ACT: find of the month

This topic-based collection of primary source material provides a rich and varied source of official documents, guides and background information on the civic history of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. Produced monthly, this eclectic collection covers topics including the history of monuments, architecture, ...

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Ken Burns on historical documentaries

How can TV documentaries help us to understand the past? Ken Burns is a highly regarded American television documentary maker. He has made outstanding historical documentaries on such topics as the American Civil War, baseball, jazz and the 1930s Depression. In this 2004 ABC Words program, Burns speaks to James Griffin ...

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Pandanus baskets, 1912-13

These are four conical pandanus baskets from western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. All are painted with natural pigments and date from 1912-13. They are between 43 cm and 76 cm high and their diameters range from 14 cm to 24 cm.

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Rock painting, Carnarvon Gorge, 1938 - item 2 of 2

This 1938 sepia photograph of a large Indigenous rock painting displays many stencilled hands, boomerangs, coolamons and a net-like shape, possibly representing a cycad, on a cliff wall in Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland. A large rock near the wall shows some engraved art. The photograph was taken during the second ...

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Stone axes and picks, early 1900s

This is an image showing six stone axes and picks made by people of the Warumungu and Tjingali groups near Tennant Creek in central Northern Territory. On average, the axes are 50 cm long and 20 cm wide, while the picks are 40 cm long and 25 cm wide.

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Rainforest shield, c1890s

This is a wooden shield from the Aboriginal people of the rainforest region of north-eastern Queensland. Known as a 'rainforest shield', it is painted yellow, red, white and black using natural pigments. Collected in the 1890s, it is 96 cm long x 37 cm wide.

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Rock painting, Carnarvon Gorge, 1938 - item 1 of 2

This sepia photograph of an Indigenous rock painting shows several stencilled hands and what appear to be boomerangs. In some of the images three fingers and thumb are prominent and in the central image the little finger is bent. The images appear to be well preserved. The photograph was taken in 1938 at Carnarvon Gorge ...

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Ashoka the Great is for real

Imagine the excitement of discovering evidence that a great ancient ruler, whose story was believed to be a legend, was in fact a real historical figure. This clip looks at the Mauryan Empire in ancient India and the reign of Ashoka the Great, one of the most remarkable rulers in world history. This clip is the first in ...

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Kimberley points, late 19th century

This image shows five small, sharp cutting blades known as 'Kimberley points' that were made of different coloured glass and ceramic materials by Indigenous Australian craftspeople in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. They are an average of 8 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. The points at top right and bottom left show ...

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Indian history reveals more ancient civilisations

How far back in time does our knowledge of Indian civilisation extend? In this clip we investigate the Vedic civilisation, which emerged around 1500 BCE, and then turn to the much earlier Indus Valley civilisation. The Mauryan Empire of Chandragupta, Bindusara and Ashoka, by comparison, arose in the fourth century BCE. ...