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What is a defining moment in Australia's history

Defining Moments in Australian History

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What is a ‘Defining Moment’ in Australian History?

Paul Barclay
Paul Barclay

Thursday 24 September 2015

Leading Australian thinkers George Megalogenis, Michelle Arrow, Jackie Huggins and Gideon Haigh discussed what makes a ‘defining moment’ in Australian history and how the nation has been shaped by such events. The panel was recorded in front of a live audience and moderated by ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas presenter, Paul Barclay.

This was the first in a series of panel discussions organised in partnership with Radio National that will explore the themes of the National Museum’s ground-breaking Defining Moments project.

The discussion was broadcast on Monday 28 September 2015, and is available as a podcast from the Big Ideas website. You can also watch it here:


Read the transcript of the panel discussion

pdf  Download the panel discussion transcript (PDF 446kb)

See the Big Ideas website for a summary of the discussion.

George Megalogenis
George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis

George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. His book The Australian Moment won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction as well as the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great.

He is also the author of Faultlines, The Longest Decade and Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era.

Michelle Arrow
Michelle Arrow

Michelle Arrow

Michelle Arrow is Associate Professor of Modern History at Macquarie University in Sydney, where she teaches and researches Australian history. She is the author of two books, Friday on Our Minds: Popular Culture in Australia since 1945 (UNSW Press, 2009) and Upstaged: Australian Women Playwrights in the Limelight at Last (Currency, 2002), both of which were nominated for prizes.

Michelle has held several research fellowships throughout her career, and in 2014 she was the co-winner of the NSW Premier’s Multimedia History Prize for the radio documentary Public Intimacies: the 1974 Royal Commission on Human Relationships. She is currently working on a history of the 1970s in Australia.

Jackie Huggins AM
Jackie Huggins AM

Jackie Huggins AM

Jackie Huggins AM, FAHA is an author, historian and Aboriginal rights activist of the Bidjara (in central Queensland) and Birri-Gubba Juru (in north Queensland) peoples.

Her engagements include Director of the Telstra Foundation and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University’s Australian Centre for Indigenous History.

Jackie is the author of Sistergirl (University of Queensland Press, 1998), and co-author, with Rita Huggins, of the critically acclaimed biography Auntie Rita (Aboriginal Studies Press, 1994).

Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist for almost 30 years. He has written 30 books and edited seven others.

His book On Warne won the British Sports Book Awards Best Cricket Book of the Year Award, the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award, the Jack Pollard Trophy, the Waverley Library Nib Award and was short-listed for the Australian Book Industry Awards Biography of the Year, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. The Office won the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction.

Other recent titles include: Uncertain Corridors: Writings on Modern Cricket; End of the Road? on Australia’s automotive industry; The Deserted Newsroom; and Ashes to Ashes: 2013–14.