History provides us with a story of how we got to where we are; it gives us a heritage, and consequently a sense of place. We know where we fit in to a broader temporal 'scheme of things'. This collection brings together some of the best and most influential writng on Australian history, combined with some of the most significant and illustrative primary sources, covering the period to 1901. There are, of necessity, many voices that speak in these sources. Historical actors include the traditional Aboriginal people, the scornful William Dampier, the enchanted 'Banjo' Paterson, the zealous missionaries, and the determined Labor Party. If historical actors speak with many voices, so too do the historians who analyse them and their experiences. This collection inlcudes some of the most enlightening writing on pre-Federation Australia; from Anne Summers 'ground breaking' 1975 feminist take on the convict experience and Mudrooroo's similarly distinctive consideration of what an Aboriginal version of the past might look like, to Richard White's evaluation of Australia as an image and an idea, and Stuart Macintryre's superb end-of-millennium overview of Australia's past.