Portal:History
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Portal:History

The History Portal


History (from Greek ?, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Historians place the past in context using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, ecological markers, and material objects including art and artifacts.

History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze a sequence of past events, and investigate the patterns of cause and effect that are related to them. Historians seek to understand and represent the past through narratives. They often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered (within the Western tradition) to be the "father of history", although he has also been called the "father of lies". Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was known to be compiled from as early as 722BC although only 2nd-centuryBC texts have survived. (Full article...)

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John Treloar in 1922

John Linton Treloar, OBE (10 December 1894 - 28 January 1952) was an Australian archivist and the second director of the Australian War Memorial (AWM). During World War I he served in several staff roles and later headed the First Australian Imperial Force's (AIF) record-keeping unit. From 1920 Treloar played an important role in establishing the AWM as its director. He headed an Australian Government department during the first years of World War II, and spent the remainder of the war in charge of the Australian military's history section. Treloar returned to the AWM in 1946, and continued as its director until his death.

Treloar's career was focussed on the Australian military and its history. Prior to World War I he worked as a clerk in the Department of Defence and, after volunteering for the AIF in 1914, formed part of the Australian Army officer Brudenell White's staff for most of the war's first years. He was appointed commander of the Australian War Records Section (AWRS) in 1917. In this position, he improved the AIF's records and collected a large number of artefacts for later display in Australia. Treloar was appointed the director of what eventually became the AWM in 1920, and was a key figure in establishing the Memorial and raising funds for its permanent building in Canberra. He left the AWM at the outbreak of World War II to lead the Australian Government's Department of Information, but was effectively sidelined for much of 1940. In early 1941 he was appointed to command the Australian military's Military History and Information Section with similar responsibilities to those he had held during World War I. He attempted to intervene in the management of the AWM during his absence, however, to the increasing frustration of its acting director. Treloar worked intensely in all his roles and suffered periods of ill-health as a result. Following the war, he returned to the Memorial in 1946 but his performance deteriorated over time, possibly due to exhaustion. He died in January 1952. (Full article...)

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