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(The Unauthorised History of Australia #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,940 ratings  ·  452 reviews
Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia ...

In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.
Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock,"
Paperback, 286 pages
Published July 24th 2013 by Black Inc.
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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David Hunt
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I give myself five stars for effort. Well done me.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I love the concept, because the history of Australia is quirky and the idea of it written with Bill Bryson-esque humour is appealing, but I couldn't help feeling this attempt needed a laughter track behind it; most of the jokes were awkward and predictable.

The reading experience was akin to sitting down to Christmas lunch with that annoying uncle who thinks he is incredibly funny. Through the nibbles, you laugh politely hoping, against all precedent, that he w
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, history
This is a seriously amusing book. You know, both serious and amusing. The author says at the end that he wanted to do to Australian history what Bill Bryson does for science – and given I laughed out loud quite a few times during this, I would have to say he has succeeded. Australian history is a deeply strange thing. Like the author of this, I only became interested in it after school – where I thought it was tedious and so lacking in things that had happened that I could only feel sorry for th ...more
I laughed a lot and read a lot of passages to my husband... This is always a sign of a good book. With a great sense of humour (no one is safe from being mocked in this book), David Hunt writes our history in a way that I have never read it.

It is a very brief history of the Australia, with a focus on the colonisation, the governors and in particular the treatment of indigenous australians.

I feel like my eyes have been opened... Bligh was an ass-hole, Macarthur was a venomous man who only cared a
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, humour, australia
While funny and informative, I couldn't get past the racism of this book. Yep, yep, it's satire, but referring to historically discriminated people as "lazy" and uninventive and all the rest isn't breaking any new ground and rather just reinforcing actually held views that continue to make real struggles for modern Aboriginal people. Even the milder white-on-white racism against Irish and Scottish people is continuously a punchline until the dead horse disintegrates from over-flogging.

Good for
Nov 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: australiana, history
DNF - I could only stomach a few chapters of this book before I gave it up. This book was bad on a number of levels.

First, it committed the unpardonable sin for a book on history: it did not try to get into the true mindset and views of the people whom it talked about. Instead what you get is a modern day secular-leftist interpretation on the popular level of some of Australia's salient past (and some of it's not so salient past).

Second, it tried to be funny and failed. I can appreciate that i
Okay, so there should probably be a mention SOMEWHERE in the title that this is, in fact, volume 1 and not the complete history of Australia. It covers Australia's history from the megafauna era through European discovery and the arrival of the First Fleet, and then becomes the history of early colonial New South Wales through to the end of the Lachlan Macquarie era (so 1822).

Still, it's a book that incredibly readable, filled with entertaining titbits and anecdotes, and all with a fantasticall
Pamela  (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum)
Girt is an entertaining read, but heavy (sometimes even heavyhanded) in its humour and light on facts. It gives a great general overview of the early years of Australian history but gives more of a sense of character than a sense of history.

It's a fun book (although some of the humour can be a little on the nose), so if you're looking for an historical book with an easy to read core, this definitely fits the bill. If you actually want to learn something concrete, not so much.

It's more about the
Tim Carroll
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Australian history always kind of bored me. Turns out I was just learning about it from boring people. This is one of the funniest things I've ever read and chock-full of interesting stories about our alcoholic, corrupt, criminal, veneral disease-ridden prison colony and its beginnings.

Plus, the Kindle version is only $12.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Bad good bad good bad good ahh fuck it I can't be bothered any more

Some of the worst sentences ever written about some of the most fascinating history

I gave up at the 150 page mark
This should be compulsory reading for all high school students!

As a history graduate I was able to fully appreciate just how well researched and well written this book really is. It's so easy to read and so entertaining, it's easy to think it's all just a bit fun. On the contrary, this book should be compulsory reading for all high school students because it actually brings our marvellous chequered past to life like no other history of Australia I've ever read. Humour and insight leap out from e
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"On 26 January 1788, Phillip named the large harbour north of Botany Bay after Lord Sydney, who was also big and wet". Not only is this the best book on early Australian history or the funniest book on Australia in general - this is one of the most intriguing and hilarious books I have EVER read. It is witty, informative and surprising, filled with marvelous, dark humor, which gives some passages almost surreal, Monty Pythonesque feel. Can't wait for sequels.
Imelda Evans
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this. Anyone with half an imagination (or who has seen Horribly Histories) knows that history couldn't possibly have been the dry series of facts that it is often made out to be in school. But Australia does seem to have gone out of its way to be hilarious. That, and David Hunt tells it very well. Educational and enjoyable, should be on the required reading list.
John Purcell
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great fun, and I learnt a great deal as well. The best of both worlds really - history with a comic twist (Horrible Histories for grown-ups). Update: after close consultation with the author I have revised my four star rating up to five stars. (ok, David I did it, now let my wife go free)
Julie Bozza
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I bought this and had it signed by the author after attending his talk at the recent StoryFest event in Milton-Mollymook-Ulladulla. David Hunt is hilarious in person, recounting in brief many of the tales to be found in this tome and its sequel. Also, he includes our queer history, which is a huge plus - and when I thanked him for that afterwards, he immediately said very sincerely, "It's important."

The book is very amusing (rather than hilarious) to read, though the droll cover image makes up s
hayls 🐴
3.5/5. Would've been 4/5, but it was a bit too filled with dad jokes for my liking.
But this dropped so many truth bombs about the racist and misogynistic foundations of the Australian nation it is a must-read, despite the number of eye-roll jokes.
A very funny and slightly offensive view of Australian history up to Macquarie's stint as governor. Cracking pace, generally quite good jokes, although if you have no ability to spot irony, this book will not sit well. The irony is so thick in places that it would be hard not to spot it, but I've met some people who are pretty adept at not spotting irony when it pleases them.

The best parts are the selected quotations in context, and the utter maligning of the colony's biggest figures -- there's
This book was nothing short of an absolute freaking hoot!

I love history, but like many people, I tend not to read up much on my own country's history. Now that the new government have plans on "improving" the teaching of Australian history, I'm starting to gather an understanding of Australia pre-Bradman, while I can.

Now, I doubt the humour throughout this book would offend anyone, because quite frankly I doubt anyone with an absolutely entrenched reverential opinion of Bligh, Banks, Cook and M
Eve Dangerfield
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect but I really, really loved this book. It was funny, interesting and just so hilarious. I literally laughed out loud. David Hunt is right, Australian history is always perceived (especially by its inhabitants) as a dry, sheep-filled snorefest. This book well and truly proves it isn’t. Hunt doesn’t gloss over the bad stuff either; white invasion and the genocide commited against Indigenous Australians is well documented and the sheer audacity, racism and ignorance of o ...more
David Finch-Quadrio
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Australian history has never been more entertaining! I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It is a rollicking run through of the European discovery of Australia and the first few decades of the new colony. Hunt peppers each page with jokes and sarcasm; his footnotes are consistently laugh-out-loud funny. I recommend you buy it for people as a Christmas present, even those who don't read many books.
Michelle Smith
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. This is a super hilarious early history of Australia, with all the naughty and outrageous details put back in. It would be just plain awesome if they used this as a high school textbook, there'd be a massive surge of interest in history again! Looking forward to the next volume, hopefully coming out soon?
Blake Spady
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thought this was hilarious at first. However, the insistence on making a joke out of every other sentence got old fast and often was done at the expense of the history. There were a lot of interesting fun facts but the overall history being told was smothered by so much silly humour that I felt I missed out on a lot of the story.
Claire Haeg
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Peace and quiet did not sit comfortably with Macarthur, who exploded into the colony with all the tact of a small arms dealer advertising in 'Thalidomide Monthly'" Hilarious history. Well worth reading!
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This is mainly a potted white history of NSW until the end of the time of Governor Macquarie but to give the book credit it acknowledges that perspective and does include references to and acknowledgement of the indigenous owners. The tone is witty and the book contains loads of obscure but interesting snippets of information. If you’re looking for an accessible way to read about our history then this book is a good way to start. It acknowledges achievements, points out shortcomings and provides ...more
I listened to this on Audible. The humour felt a bit forced sometimes and I don’t think David Hunt was the best choice to narrate his own book. That being said, it’s still an entertaining take on Australian history.
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

I recently decided to be Australian. Or at least, to be partly Australian. To explain, the question of my national identity has long been shrouded in confusion. I grew up in Yorkshire with a Northern Irish family and then crossed the Pennines aged ten to live in Lancashire, where I stayed until I was eighteen, then spent five years at university in Scotland with a year out in France in the middle and since then have been living in the S
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It presents Australian colonial history in such an engaging and irreverent way, it should be compulsory reading for the uninspired masses who complain Australian history is boring on account of that one teacher they had in year 10 who recycled the same lesson plans about the gold rush for 15 years while trying to save their marriage to the geography head.

My only criticism--although Girt is meant to be 'history-lite', and no one would accuse it of being academic, it really shou
Karla Thomas
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The bookseller at the shop where I bought this told me it had been flying off the shelf. Deservedly so, I must say. My only problem with it was that it ended at the end of Macquarie's governorship. I was looking forward to him explaining Eureka to me so that, ignorant American that I am, I would finally understand what happened.

I've read other (drier) books of Australian history before, so I was familiar with the names and events, but Hunt managed to put them in a way that will definitely stick
D.A. Cairns
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This hilarious history grabbed me from the opening chapters and kept me laughing, smiling, and fascinated all the way through, to the sad ending. Sad because there was no more. I hope David Hunt writes another volume because this is a terrific book.

It's shocking and repulsive, intriguing and bizarre, and all gloriously factual, albeit coloured with cynicism and sarcasm. Bottom line? Girt by David Hunt is fun, and you should read it, if you like history and humour, or even if you don't. You've he
Fiona Gayler
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great title, great cover and great book. I've never outgrown university revue humour - smart and smart-alecky - and have chuckled my way through this book. The book is also informative and easy to ready - perfect summer reading whilst swinging gently in a hammock with iced tea in your spare hand. It would make a far superior Xmas present for your father-in-law than one of the Peter Fitzsimon's end of year blockbusters.
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David Hunt's first book "Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia" won the Australian 2014 Indie Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year. The award is bestowed by Australian independent booksellers, who clearly have excellent taste.

Girt was also shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA), the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, the Australian Book Design Awards and wa

Other books in the series

The Unauthorised History of Australia (2 books)
  • True Girt (The Unauthorised History of Australia #2)

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“Captain James Kirk was named after Captain James Cook and the USS Enterprise was named after the HMS Endeavour. Star Trek’s catchphrase “to boldly go where no man has gone before” was inspired by Cook’s journal entry “ambition leads me … farther than any other man has been before me”. Enterprise and Endeavour, the first and last space shuttles, were named after the ships of Kirk and Cook. There are bound to be other links between Captain Cook, Star Trek and the US Space Program and some Australian university will no doubt award a grant to explore this issue of undisputed national significance.” 9 likes
“The first colonial teenagers rejected their parents’ values, as teenagers have done ever since Cain and Abel decided to get away from all that hippy nature stuff. They were sober, industrious and, if truth be told, not much fun. They laboured uncomplainingly in the sun, exercised in the fresh air, swam in the sea and were, on average, six inches taller than the malnourished British stock from which they had sprung. Within a single generation, the Artful Dodger had transformed into Chesty Bond.” 5 likes
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