In white European terms, Canberra, the capital city of Australia, has a tiny history compared with other capital cities around the world. As a city, it was established as the capital in 1913, while European exploration and settlement commenced around the 1820s.

However, Aboriginal history dates back much further with Ngunnawal, Ngambri and Ngambri-Guumaal people living in the Canberra region for well over 25,000 years.

As a study location, you can't go past Canberra for variety, opportunities and academic excellence in all fields — including history.

Why would you want to take history lessons at all, let alone in Canberra?

Where can I take history lessons in Canberra?
White European history in Australia is young, whereas Aboriginal history goes back over 60,000 years | Source: Pixabay - pen_ash

To answer this question, Superprof has put together a little guide to the why, where and how of studying history in the Australian Capital Territory.

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History Lessons and Lessons from History

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

~ Maya Angelou ~

If you've never taken lessons with a passionate and inspirational history tutor or teacher, you probably view history as a series of dull events and dates.

On the other hand, if you were lucky enough, even for one year during school, to come across a teacher or history tutor who had a passion for their subject, then it's likely that your view of history is quite different.

You may even see the study of history for what it should be — an opportunity to change the future through understanding the past.

Essentially, history is the study and analysis of events from the past. However, that definition is very broad, and students rarely just 'study history' — rather, history is divided into eleven main branches covering everything from the arts and food, to social, cultural and political histories.

History students study events in different time periods or phases and equate them with developments in the modern world.

The study of history is often undertaken parallel to other disciplines, including geography, education, sociology, business and management, law and health — feeding into and informing the Australian modern way of life.

What are the branches of history?
Old Parliament House, in Canberra, is now a museum focusing on Australian political history | Source: Pixabay - helen35

Working with a Private History Tutor v Enrolling in a Course

Often, the role of tutors is seen as providing extra support for primary or high school students who are struggling with their studies, or for students whose parents want them to be extended academically, outside of school.

When you think about it though, tutoring is not only available for academic subjects. There are private music tutors, art tutors and tutors for practical do-it-yourself jobs around the home.

Tutoring is available for almost everything you can think of and it is not only for students who are still in compulsory education at school, or in university.

It may well be that you have a burning interest in an aspect of history — one that you may have touched on at school, but didn't study in depth.

If you can find a history tutor with expertise in this area, wouldn't it make sense to employ them for some tutoring, so you can continue learning?

If you know where to look, you will find a number of history courses in Canberra that will whet your appetite in different areas of history, such as sporting history or early colonial artists. But, what happens when the course is finished? Maybe you enrol in another similar course, or in 'Unit 2'.

Perhaps you go online, or find some books in the library and continue your studies independently.

Or, you could continue your history lessons, targetting your areas of specific interest, with a private history tutor.

Either way, the great thing about working with a private tutor, or completing a series of courses, these days, is that most of them are available online.

What this means is that you won't miss out if your specialised area of interest is only catered for by a course or tutor who lives over the other side of Australia, or in another country.

On Studying in Canberra

A completely planned city, Canberra was designed by architects, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin. Known as 'the bush capital', Canberra is the largest inland city in Australia and is proud of its abundance of green spaces with over 12 million trees. Despite its rapid growth over the last two decades, with a population of around 457,000, the city is vibrant but not crowded.

Why Choose Canberra as a Study Location?

It's no secret that Canberra is ranked in the world's top 25 best student cities — in fact, Canberra attracts students, not only from around Australia but also from around the world. Canberra embraces diversity and is known to be one of the most affordable and liveable cities in Australia.

Whether you're in Canberra to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course at university, are studying a series of short course units part time, or even enrolled as a primary school or high school student, you'll be in the hands of world-class institutions and education professionals.

What Does Canberra have to Offer in the Way of History Courses?

Regardless of your reasons for studying history, and your goals at the end of your course, you should find a course, online history lessons or a private tutor to meet your needs in Canberra.

University courses

There are three universities in Canberra — Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) — as well as a number of other universities with a campus within Canberra (such as the University of NSW Canberra at Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), and Charles Sturt University). Courses may either be a full history focus or a history major within another discipline and include:

  • Master of History (ANU)
  • Master of War Studies (ADFA)
  • Master (or Bachelor) of Arts History and Curatorial Studies (ANU)
  • Graduate Certificate in International Development (UC)
  • Bachelor of Arts - history major (all universities)
  • Bachelor of Politics (UC).

Short courses

The Australian National University offers a wide range of short courses in special interest and recreational areas, including a number of history courses. Short courses are run each term throughout the year, for around 4 sessions of 2 hours each, online in the evenings.

Why should I study history?
There is huge variety to choose from when it comes to history courses in Canberra, including one solely about Stonehenge | Source: Pixabay - Sally Wilson

Units include:

  • The age of Stonehenge
  • Introduction to archaeology
  • Women's suffrage in fiction
  • Castles, cottages and cathedrals.

University of the Third Age (U3A) — Lifelong Learning courses

U3A is a global education movement aimed at providing affordable learning for students aged 50 and over. In Canberra, U3A is a thriving group of over 5000 members with more than 300 courses run each year. There are a large number of listings for various history topics, from single lessons or workshops, through to series of lessons spanning several weeks. The course titles that are available are dependent on volunteer tutors and may include:

  • Aboriginal Australian before the Europeans
  • Australian Political Personalities
  • One Hundreds Years of Air Travel
  • Spies and Lies.

Family History ACT

You can become a member of the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra (HAGSOC) for a nominal fee, after which you can access their library, receive their newsletter and enrol in the courses they run intermittently throughout the year. HAGSOC has reciprocal arrangements with other Australian family history societies as well.

Canberra Tourist Institutions

Canberra is a prime destination for school visits from students anywhere from Kindergarten and Year 1 through to Year 12. Many of its public institutions have a strong historical focus and incorporate learning programs and tours aimed at introducing students to aspects of Australian history or supplementing their historical studies. Many of these institutions also have collections able to be accessed by the public, as well as occasional courses, lectures and workshops for members of the public.

Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD)

  • School students can enjoy learning about Australia's political and social history
  • Heritage collection including objects and rooms in Old Parliament House
  • Oral history collection

National Library of Australia (NLA)

  • School and teacher program for students in Year 5 through to Year 12
  • Onsite and online adult learning programs to learn how to use the library's collections for research, study and work
  • Research tools and resources, including guides, subject listings and access to private researchers and valuers

Australian War Memorial 

  • Visiting school programs, classroom resources, virtual excursions and memorial boxes for loan
  • Research Centre containing digitised historic documents
  • Reading Room with research assistance and access to archival material

Accessing Private Tutoring

If you're still keen to get some one-on-one tutoring from a private tutor, there are many avenues you can explore in Canberra.

  • Ask at the Canberra District Historical Society — if they don't have anyone there who can tutor, they will know someone who does
  • University students — many students who are in the final year of their degree often offer tutoring to first and second year students, as well as secondary school students
  • Superprof — you can search for your ideal tutor on Superprof, right down to their topic specialisation

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

~ Marcus Garvey ~

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Kellie

Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.