How Star Wars’ Jedi were inspired by the Knights Templar

Reading time: 5 minutes
Star Wars is once again in the spotlight and pulling on nostalgic heartstrings in the new Disney+ limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen. The series follows members of the knightly order of Jedi as they are persecuted across the galaxy. What many might not know is the idea of the Jedi was heavily influenced by the real history of the Knights Templar.

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1915 in Australia: the reality of total war sinks in

Reading time: 5 minutes
1915 was a critical year for Australians, and not just because of the pride and myth-making associated with Gallipoli. Today we struggle to capture a sense of the profound shock and anxiety the landing at Anzac Cove brought to Australia. But it was this, together with a wider understanding that the war was not going well, that defined 1915 and drew Australians ever deeper into the vortex of total war.

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How the British defeated Napoleon with citrus fruit

Reading time: 5 minutes
Everyone knows that Britain’s conclusive victory over Napoleon was at Waterloo. The story of that day – the squares of infantry repulsing cavalry charges, the Imperial Guard retreating under murderous musket fire delivered by a red line of soliders, the just-in-time arrival of Field Marshal Blücher’s Prussian army – is one of excitement, horror and heroism. However, Britain’s biggest contribution to Napoleon’s defeat was much less romantic. It involved the first randomised controlled trial.

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For outstanding bravery: Civilian honours in the Second World War

Reading time: 7 minutes
The story of civilian honours starts in September 1940, when two new awards, the George Cross and the George Medal, were instituted to recognise the outstanding contribution made by civilians during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. These awards were primarily aimed at those involved in civil defence, such as Air Raid Precautions officers, rescue party workers, fire fighters and casualty and medical service workers. But they also recognised vital work carried out by the police service, gas workers, electricians, train drivers and dockyard workers to keep Britain going in what Winston Churchill described as ‘The Darkest Hour’.

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Military History

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“Vinegar Joe” Stilwell: the Story of America’s Man on the Ground in WW2 China

Reading time: 12 minutes As famed as American commanders like Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur are today, one of the most important is the relatively little-known Joseph Stilwell.  He was one of its leading experts on a country that was to play a pivotal role in the history not just of the war, but of the 20th century: China.

Political and Economic History

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Pope Gregory XIII gave us the leap year – but his legacy goes much further

Reading time: 7 minutes On this day, February 29, conversations the world over may conjure the name of Pope Gregory XIII – widely known for his reform of the calendar that bears his name. The need for calendar reform was driven by the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar. Introduced in 46 BC, the Julian calendar fell short of the solar year – the time it takes Earth to orbit the Sun – by about 12 minutes each year.

History Audiobooks

A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World – Audiobook

On his first journey Cook mapped the east coast of Australia, on his second the British Admiralty sent him into the vast Southern Ocean. Equipped with one of the first accurate chronometers, Cook pushed his small vessel not merely into the Roaring Forties or the Furious Fifties but become the first explorer to penetrate the Antarctic Circle, reaching an incredible Latitude 71 degrees South, just failing to discover Antarctica.

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History Guild would like to acknowledge the Boonwurrung people, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are based, and pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.