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History Australia | A Knowledge & Documentary Channel

History Australia is a TV broadcaster located in Australia. It’s an entertainment channel that airs programs and documentaries devoted to historical figures and events. You can watch the channel online via its video-on-demand collection, updated regularly. See our History AU review below, done with an emphasis on its streaming.

Name: History Australia
Location: Australia
Genre: Entertainment > Knowledge & Documentary
Website: History AU Homepage

If you want to learn more about History AU than what’s in our review, use the buttons in the ‘Visit this station around the web’ box. If you’re interested in a different channel or stream, use the search box at the top of the page.

Review of History Australia

7.8

Streaming:

  • - Video On Demand

History AU’s rating of 7.8 out of 10 is based on a number of factors. One of the biggest ‘pros’ is the channel’s video collection, giving viewers access to watch on demand. However, there’s no History Australia live stream available, losing the channel some points. More about our rating method.

See how History Australia stacks up against other documentary channels in Australia.

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#ThisDayInHistory – 30 April 1975 – The Vietnam War Ends

In 1975, the Vietnam War finally came to an end after more than 20 years of intermittent conflict – with the finale being the fall of Saigon on April 30.

It was a war notably different to all others in recorded history, fought savagely on the military front but also amid intense political campaigns across the western world, becoming a vortex that dragged in much of a generation in the United States, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Australia.

It was also a television war with updates produced daily and beamed into the lounge rooms of the people of the western world, who were alternately fascinated, appalled and frightened by the carnage on parade.

Generally regarded as a proxy war, it involved the anti Communist regime of South Vietnam, supported by the United Sates and its allies, pitted against North Vietnam that was heavily backed by the Communist countries of the Soviet Union and China.

Roots of the conflict went back to the 1950’s when France was defeated by the Communist Viet Minh forces in 1954 at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, ending the regime of the old French Indo - China.

The Communists, through the formation of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army began infiltrating south, and the United States decided to ramp up its intervention policy in response. The West generally adhered to the doctrine of “the Domino Theory” that held if the communists were not stopped in South Vietnam they would eventually take over Southeast Asia, perhaps even Australia.

There was an immense imbalance of military power involved; the US and its allies had a virtually unlimited supply of modern weaponry, and total control of the skies. However the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese conducted a highly effective guerrilla warfare campaign and were well supported, at least covertly, by the Soviet Union and China.

Conscription was introduced in both Australia and the United States to supply the necessary troop numbers and this resulted in a rising civil resistance to the war in both countries.

After years of savage fighting and the mass air bombings of North Vietnam, including the capital city of Hanoi, the US and its allied forces had not achieved victory, despite the expenditure of billions of dollars and the loss of thousands of troops. This, coupled with the rising domestic resistance to the war, reduced the political motivation to continue and a series of negotiations began between the protagonists.

An accord was struck between North and South Vietnam in January 1973, allowing an honourable exit for the West, whose intervention had lasted for more than twenty years, considerably longer than the First and Second World Wars combined.

However the North Vietnamese then resumed their offensive in 1974, rapidly rolling southwards, with Saigon, the capital city of South Vietnam, falling to the communists on 30 April 1975. This is now recognised as the official end to the Vietnam War.

Image: South Vietnamese civilians fleeing Saigon on 29 April 1975, the day before the city fell to the communist forces. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Last Days In Vietnam, 8.30pm AEST.
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#ThisDayInHistory – 30 April 1975 – The Vietnam War Ends

In 1975, the Vietnam War finally came to an end after more than 20 years of intermittent conflict – with the finale being the fall of Saigon on April 30.

It was a war notably different to all others in recorded history, fought savagely on the military front but also amid intense political campaigns across the western world, becoming a vortex that dragged in much of a generation in the United States, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Australia.

It was also a television war with updates produced daily and beamed into the lounge rooms of the people of the western world, who were alternately fascinated, appalled and frightened by the carnage on parade.

Generally regarded as a proxy war, it involved the anti Communist regime of South Vietnam, supported by the United Sates and its allies, pitted against North Vietnam that was heavily backed by the Communist countries of the Soviet Union and China. 

Roots of the conflict went back to the 1950’s when France was defeated by the Communist Viet Minh forces in 1954 at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, ending the regime of the old French Indo - China.

The Communists, through the formation of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army began infiltrating south, and the United States decided to ramp up its intervention policy in response. The West generally adhered to the doctrine of “the Domino Theory” that held if the communists were not stopped in South Vietnam they would eventually take over Southeast Asia, perhaps even Australia.

There was an immense imbalance of military power involved; the US and its allies had a virtually unlimited supply of modern weaponry, and total control of the skies. However the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese conducted a highly effective guerrilla warfare campaign and were well supported, at least covertly, by the Soviet Union and China.

Conscription was introduced in both Australia and the United States to supply the necessary troop numbers and this resulted in a rising civil resistance to the war in both countries. 

After years of savage fighting and the mass air bombings of North Vietnam, including the capital city of Hanoi, the US and its allied forces had not achieved victory, despite the expenditure of billions of dollars and the loss of thousands of troops. This, coupled with the rising domestic resistance to the war, reduced the political motivation to continue and a series of negotiations began between the protagonists. 

An accord was struck between North and South Vietnam in January 1973, allowing an honourable exit for the West, whose intervention had lasted for more than twenty years, considerably longer than the First and Second World Wars combined. 

However the North Vietnamese then resumed their offensive in 1974, rapidly rolling southwards, with Saigon, the capital city of South Vietnam, falling to the communists on 30 April 1975. This is now recognised as the official end to the Vietnam War.

Image: South Vietnamese civilians fleeing Saigon on 29 April 1975, the day before the city fell to the communist forces. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Last Days In Vietnam, 8.30pm AEST.

Richard Aulsebrook, Christine Tiler and 23 others like this

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Laurel Creevey WeirVets were treated disgracefully upon returning home & for many years. Their demons still affect their lives. Was political anyway ⚖⚖⚖

1 day ago   ·  14

1 Reply

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Dorothy Walshthe real truth of sending our men over was never the issue, nor was how the war was one, all victims, and done to them, to there peril, so lacking in courage to show respect for the war they were sent to fight and THEY DID FIGHT PROUDLY TO KEEP US SAFE

10 hours ago   ·  2
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Gael ThompsonGraham Green summed it up in The Quiet American - depredations of both the Old World and the New World on the far east

1 day ago   ·  1
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Jan Tullyand once again we saw refugees desperate to leave a country that had been decimated by intervention of the West. Nothing changes.

1 day ago   ·  4

1 Reply

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Eric BartosWith unlimited supply of modern weaponry and complete control of the skies and the most powerful military in the world, north Vietnam still achieved what they set out to do

24 hours ago

6 Replies

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Kevin SammutGod bless the Vietnam Veterans, and the Veterans-soldiers, airmen, sailors and women who gave up there lives. RIP.

1 day ago   ·  5
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Lillian GingloAnd what did it accomplish? Very bitter soldiers, not recognized by their country. So many disabled personnel & those that remained there. Sad, but true. All war is horrible, but then, that's what men do.

1 day ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Robert GrantI remember seeing this on TV the Americans leaving Saigon, what that 41 years ago. jez now I am feeling my age haha

23 hours ago
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William D BruersMay be if we stop supporting and kowtowing to the USA we would not have to deal with this in the first place. The USA needs war to survive economically and in the end it's all about dollars and not the human factor!! Do we want to be part of that??

23 hours ago   ·  4
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Tim RobinsonAs in Iraq, the US never managed to create a proxy government that local forces would die for.

1 day ago   ·  2
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Jen StrakerJohn Blair 💚 💚 💚 so much love and respect for you x

1 day ago

3 Replies

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Jennifer BowskillThe Photo so taken by Hugh Van Es.

1 day ago
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Daniel NguyenJust count how many other countries the US have invaded since the fall of Saigon ?

6 hours ago
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Alan Kissickand here i though that was Bronwin Bishop going for lunch.

1 day ago   ·  3

1 Reply

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Andrea Gannaway"Honourable exit for the West" is questionable!

1 day ago   ·  3
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Helen LockettHorrible the way our Australian defence where treated when yhey come home

1 day ago   ·  6
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Jon AndersonAir America air crew and CIA case officer pictured.

Attachment20 hours ago   ·  1
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Terry HackettMy God I remember that day.... we were left with wondering what will happen next.....

1 day ago
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Eric S. LaveyWhat a mess this would have been ... all wars are bad, political, etc...

1 day ago
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Sam TicknerSandy Tickner the documentary I was telling you about all about this

5 hours ago

1 Reply

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Kate DempseyJaji Jaji is this the top of the unification palace???

1 day ago   ·  1

3 Replies

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Corey LoweJust Watch the last days in Vietnam. On History channel. Eye opener and very interesting 👍

20 hours ago
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Alan Ngametua ManuelIts something we would never forget

1 day ago
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John NorrisBod, thank's ffor postint

1 day ago
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Chereen HeywardRemember this on the news

1 day ago
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Do you have a question for Neil Oliver? Leave it in a comment below.

Neil will pick his favourites to answer! #CoastNewZealand #CoastAustralia
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Do you have a question for Neil Oliver? Leave it in a comment below. 

Neil will pick his favourites to answer! #CoastNewZealand #CoastAustralia

Robyn Pinto, Bill Perkovic and 10 others like this

Lillian GingloWelcome to Australia, Neil Oliver. Could you please tell us where & when, the most recent island/volcano came up from the ocean? Thank you. Enjoy your visit.

2 days ago
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#ThisDayInHistory – 28 April 1996 – Port Arthur Massacre (20th anniversary)

The Port Arthur massacre was a mass shooting that occurred in Tasmania in April 1996, resulting in the deaths of 35 people. It remains the deadliest shooting in the history of Australia, and as well as generating shocked disbelief around the country it also produced a major change in Australian gun laws.

Social misfit Martin Bryant went on a killing spree on 28 April 1996, driving from northern Hobart to the historic site of Port Arthur armed with three semi-automatic weapons.

What triggered Bryant’s rampage is unknown but may have been associated with his hatred of acquaintances David and Noeline Martin, whom he irrationally blamed for his father’s depression and suicide in 1993. There was later some speculation that he may also have been motivated by the Dunblane School Massacre in Scotland that had occurred just six weeks before.

On the way to Port Arthur, Bryant stopped in at the Martin’s property “Seascape” during the morning, killing both with gun and knife. Proceeding to the Broad Arrow Café at Port Arthur in the early afternoon, Bryant then embarked on his murderous attack, walking through the café and randomly shooting anyone that caught his eye. Men, women and children were murdered by gunfire and twelve people were killed in the first 30 seconds.

Bryant then went marauding through the adjacent gift shop and outside into the car park, again shooting indiscriminately at all those who crossed his path, killing a further twelve people.

Getting back into his car he then drove towards the nearby toll-booth, shooting several others and kidnapping the driver of a passing vehicle. He returned to “Seascape” where he bunkered down in a siege situation, holding off the local police who had reached the scene a short time after.

A Special Operations Police Team then arrived in the darkness around 9pm and cordoned off the area until the following morning, when a fire, thought to be started by Bryant, forced him out with his clothes on fire. He was captured with only minor injuries. By the end of the ordeal, 35 people had been murdered, together with 23 others who had suffered significant gunshot wounds.

Although suspected by many as being criminally insane Bryant was deemed fit to stand trial and eventually found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences, one for each of his victims, and has no possibility of parole.

As well as the enormous public horror and disgust generated in Australia and indeed around the world, there was major political fallout. As a direct result, the Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced strict gun control laws across Australia that included uniform firearm licensing and also heavily restricted the private ownership of semi-automatic weapons of the type Bryant had used.

Image: The Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania, the site of the massacre. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
... See MoreSee Less

#ThisDayInHistory – 28 April 1996 – Port Arthur Massacre (20th anniversary)

The Port Arthur massacre was a mass shooting that occurred in Tasmania in April 1996, resulting in the deaths of 35 people. It remains the deadliest shooting in the history of Australia, and as well as generating shocked disbelief around the country it also produced a major change in Australian gun laws.

Social misfit Martin Bryant went on a killing spree on 28 April 1996, driving from northern Hobart to the historic site of Port Arthur armed with three semi-automatic weapons. 

What triggered Bryant’s rampage is unknown but may have been associated with his hatred of acquaintances David and Noeline Martin, whom he irrationally blamed for his father’s depression and suicide in 1993. There was later some speculation that he may also have been motivated by the Dunblane School Massacre in Scotland that had occurred just six weeks before.

On the way to Port Arthur, Bryant stopped in at the Martin’s property “Seascape” during the morning, killing both with gun and knife. Proceeding to the Broad Arrow Café at Port Arthur in the early afternoon, Bryant then embarked on his murderous attack, walking through the café and randomly shooting anyone that caught his eye. Men, women and children were murdered by gunfire and twelve people were killed in the first 30 seconds. 

Bryant then went marauding through the adjacent gift shop and outside into the car park, again shooting indiscriminately at all those who crossed his path, killing a further twelve people.

Getting back into his car he then drove towards the nearby toll-booth, shooting several others and kidnapping the driver of a passing vehicle. He returned to “Seascape” where he bunkered down in a siege situation, holding off the local police who had reached the scene a short time after.

A Special Operations Police Team then arrived in the darkness around 9pm and cordoned off the area until the following morning, when a fire, thought to be started by Bryant, forced him out with his clothes on fire.  He was captured with only minor injuries. By the end of the ordeal, 35 people had been murdered, together with 23 others who had suffered significant gunshot wounds. 

Although suspected by many as being criminally insane Bryant was deemed fit to stand trial and eventually found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 35 life sentences, one for each of his victims, and has no possibility of parole.

As well as the enormous public horror and disgust generated in Australia and indeed around the world, there was major political fallout. As a direct result, the Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced strict gun control laws across Australia that included uniform firearm licensing and also heavily restricted the private ownership of semi-automatic weapons of the type Bryant had used.  

Image: The Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania, the site of the massacre. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Christina Marie, Gabrielle Catherine and 23 others like this

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Kelly Anderson*1996

3 days ago   ·  6

1 Reply

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Inez EngelhardtMaybe take a little bit of time to think about all the people killed that day, especially the children, instead of moaning about not having access to high powered firearms. 🌹😥

3 days ago   ·  28

3 Replies

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Frances KennedyWinifred Aplin 58 Walter Bennett 66 Nicole Burgess 17 Sou Chung 32 Elva Gaylard 48 Zoe Hall 28 Elizabeth Howard 26 Mary Howard 57 Mervyn Howard 55 Ronald Jary 71 Tony Kistan 51 Leslie Lever 53 Sarah Loughton 15 David Martin 72 Noelene Martin 69 Pauline Masters 49 Alannah Mikac 6 Madeline Mikac 3 Nanette Mikac 36 Andrew Mills 39 Peter Nash 32 Gwenda Neanda 67 Moh Ng 48 Anthony Nightingale 44 Mary Nixon 60 Glenn Pears 35 Russell Pollard 72 Janette Quinn 50 Helene Salzmann 50 Robert Salzmann 57 Kate Scott 21 Kevin Sharp 68 Raymond Sharp 67 Royce Thompson 59 Jason Winter 29 20 years ago but We Will Remember These Names not the one that took them Rest In Peace #PortArthur #GoneButNeverForgotten

3 days ago   ·  30

3 Replies

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Pablo E. LaredoI've said it before and will say it again. Had there been someone else at Pt Arthur with a gun then it would be a mere footnote in history not a massacre of unarmed victims

3 days ago   ·  4

3 Replies

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Roscoe Montgomeryknee jerk reaction by the govt as per usual re gun laws, now we are all disarmed and are at the mercy of any nation wanting to invade us anytime in the future, can't see the pissy little australian army protecting us, states in the USA that allow concealed carry have very low gun crime, we should have the same. If someone there was armed they could have stopped him way before the 35 were killed and saved the tax payers a lot of money housing the scumbag in a gaol cell.

3 days ago   ·  4

22 Replies

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Jeff SlipperA shocking day full of tragedy and sadness. We should also remember that moment of idiocy and poor reporting when a national newspaper altered the front page images of Martin Bryant that gave him glowing satanic eyes. Sadly he in reality looked pretty ordinary as killers usually do.

3 days ago
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Inez EngelhardtOnce again, this is about the people, 35 of them, that were brutally gunned down on this day 20 years ago. It's not about your opinions on gun control or your political opinions about Aboriginal history. Show some bloody respect for the victims and their families who are still struggling to cope with this tragedy!!!

3 days ago   ·  5

2 Replies

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Speedy DemondI would have thought the deadliest massacre in Australia was when the English 'settled' there and killed most of the natives..

3 days ago   ·  2
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Gus YatesNo one really needs a gun, particularly a military style assault rifle. More guns in circulation means more chance they'll fall into the hands of a madman like Bryant. Look at the ludicrous situation in the US. You depraved gun advocates need to find a new hobby that's less destructive. They're efficient means of taking life, no more no less. I was no fan of little Johnny but I'm with him 100% on this. The gun laws should be further tightened; NO ONE except cops and soldiers should be allowed to own one. If I had my way....

3 days ago   ·  3

7 Replies

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Geffery FarrNot to take away from the memory of the pore soles from port Arthur. But I wouldn't consider it the deadliest shooting in the history of Australia. The British shot hole communities of aboriginals. Some tribes were in fact wiped off the planet never to be known again.

3 days ago   ·  16

1 Reply

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Gavin CostinAstonishing that some people don't like our gun laws. Have we had a mass shooting since Port Arthur, 20 years ago?

3 days ago   ·  9

1 Reply

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Rosalind BlackDisagree about the " gun laws " .....Really, one incident and all of Australia is to blame? .... No, I don't want incompetent people owning, the law is a " little over the top " though...The only people in Australia with fire arms are criminals, with the cash to purchase.....We should be teaching/ training , without the exorbitant cost, hunting is becoming a lost " art ", supermarkets are where we find food pffft ..... By this example we are all incompetent, are we ??? ....You can own, buy a gun safe ,register, inform the police (yeah right, this is the way criminals behave ) .... Are all Australians " loopey " no we are not.....

3 days ago   ·  1

7 Replies

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Christoffel HuymansMillions off animals die every day in butchery's sally Henderson stuck in a steel cage blood in their noses.at least in the bush they die clean and unsuspecting.they have some chance

3 days ago
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Carmel ZuvichIt is a shame that people still believe that this lad was such a crack marksman ! The number of perfect head shots and from angles that he was not even able to shoot from ??? Conspiracy - Definitely !!

3 hours ago
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Ana M CattiniA human ? without a soul. He will rot in jail and then go to Hell. No forgiveness for this kind of murderers. No feelings or respect for human life whatsoever. He who takes a life should not have a life.

3 days ago   ·  1

3 Replies

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Justin Luke AuthorAn open letter to all port Arthur victims and their families: justinlukeauthor.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/an-open-letter-to-all-victims-of-gun_8.html

3 days ago

1 Reply

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Jeff Tex HeustonBecause Tasmania had the weakest firearm laws in the country, and a police response not capable of dealing with it, so, the rest of us suffer and are targeted ad infinitum, thanks a bunch taswegia!

3 days ago

2 Replies

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Roderick CousinsSad and terrible, but an event like this with a sick human being will happen again...you can not control mental behaviour when it implodes...Bryant was our one hundred year event, not the norm for our society thank God...

3 days ago   ·  1
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Ian MilesThe government of the day got this one right. In the 20 years prior to gun control Australia had 13 mass shootings and none in the 20 years since. Note that the restrictions were really only on automatic weapons. Thats because automatic weapons were only developed for combat, their only target being humans.

3 days ago   ·  2
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Kevin BrooksA dark, and tragic day in Australia's history. Which, coincidentally gave the government "just cause" to introduce draconian weapons laws, that put guns underground. Now the only armed people in Australia are criminals, and social misfits.

3 days ago

4 Replies

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Joanne TaylorThe gun laws should of been in long before this. Totally agree inez innocent people lost lives and all people can do is moan about gun laws

3 days ago   ·  4

2 Replies

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Joshua CampbellYes a typo in mentioning 1916 which would make it the 100th anniversary and only about..EIGHTY years off.. Tragic either way, but better remembered when remembered correctly..

3 days ago
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Gavin CostinThere's a reason why there are no descendants of native aboriginals in Tasmania.

3 days ago

5 Replies

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Billie SiewIn remembrance of the tragic victims..

3 days ago
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Shaun WigginsAll the Yosemite Sam types coming out complaining about the gun laws. Do you really think we need to follow the U.S? Do you really want more people to die because you want to own loud bangy toys?

3 days ago   ·  3
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#ThisDayInHistory – 27 April 1810 - #Beethoven Composes Für Elise

Ludwig van Beethoven, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all time, is thought to have completed his masterpiece “Für Elise” on this day in 1810.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on 17 December 1770 in Bonn, Germany, and died on 26 March 1827 in Vienna, Austria. Amongst his complete oeuvre are two masterpieces that are familiar to even the least discerning ear, the Fifth Symphony and “Für Elise”. Passages from both of these pieces of music are instantly recognisable and remain famous all over the world.

Beethoven completed “Für Elise” (meaning For Elise) on 27 April 1810, but it was not actually discovered and published until 1867, a full 40 years after his funeral. The original autographed score was found by a German music scholar, Ludwig Nohl, who had it transcribed and published. However, this original manuscript is now lost, and some have even suggested that it never actually existed, adding mystery to the music.

The other great mystery about “Für Elise” surrounds the identity of the dedicatee, Elise. Some scholars have suggested that Nohl may have transcribed the title incorrectly, and that it was actually called “Für Therese” in honour of Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza. This generously named Therese was a friend and former student of Beethoven’s, whom he had fallen in love with and proposed to in 1810—only to be turned down in favour of the Austrian nobleman Wilhelm von Drossdik.

Others have suggested that Elise was actually Elisabeth Rockel, a German soprano. Elisabeth was a close friend of Beethoven—very shortly before he died, she took a lock of his hair to remember him—but she ended up marrying his friend and (far less successful) rival Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Sadly, all of Beethoven’s proposals fell through one way or another, and he died a bachelor.

At the time of writing “Für Elise”, Beethoven was well aware of the fact that he was losing his hearing. As early as 1802 he had written about this, and even contemplated killing himself before concluding: “But only Art held back; for, ah, it seemed unthinkable for me to leave the world forever before I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce.” He started playing less in public, but he continued to compose new works in his notebooks. His patrons the Archduke Rudolf, Prince Lobkowitz, and Prince Kinsky provided him with an annuity of 4,000 florins as long as he lived in Vienna and kept composing, and he did so until his death.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s most important achievement was raising instrumental music to the upper echelons of art, when it was previously considered inferior to vocal music, and literature and painting. Through pieces such as “Für Elise”, he showed how a simple piano composition could contain as much emotion as any other art form.

Image: A portrait of Ludvig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, circa 1820. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
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#ThisDayInHistory – 27 April 1810 - #Beethoven Composes Für Elise

Ludwig van Beethoven, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all time, is thought to have completed his masterpiece “Für Elise” on this day in 1810. 

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on 17 December 1770 in Bonn, Germany, and died on 26 March 1827 in Vienna, Austria. Amongst his complete oeuvre are two masterpieces that are familiar to even the least discerning ear, the Fifth Symphony and “Für Elise”. Passages from both of these pieces of music are instantly recognisable and remain famous all over the world. 

Beethoven completed “Für Elise” (meaning For Elise) on 27 April 1810, but it was not actually discovered and published until 1867, a full 40 years after his funeral. The original autographed score was found by a German music scholar, Ludwig Nohl, who had it transcribed and published. However, this original manuscript is now lost, and some have even suggested that it never actually existed, adding mystery to the music. 

The other great mystery about “Für Elise” surrounds the identity of the dedicatee, Elise. Some scholars have suggested that Nohl may have transcribed the title incorrectly, and that it was actually called “Für Therese” in honour of Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza. This generously named Therese was a friend and former student of Beethoven’s, whom he had fallen in love with and proposed to in 1810—only to be turned down in favour of the Austrian nobleman Wilhelm von Drossdik. 

Others have suggested that Elise was actually Elisabeth Rockel, a German soprano. Elisabeth was a close friend of Beethoven—very shortly before he died, she took a lock of his hair to remember him—but she ended up marrying his friend and (far less successful) rival Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Sadly, all of Beethoven’s proposals fell through one way or another, and he died a bachelor. 

At the time of writing “Für Elise”, Beethoven was well aware of the fact that he was losing his hearing. As early as 1802 he had written about this, and even contemplated killing himself before concluding: “But only Art held back; for, ah, it seemed unthinkable for me to leave the world forever before I had produced all that I felt called upon to produce.” He started playing less in public, but he continued to compose new works in his notebooks. His patrons the Archduke Rudolf, Prince Lobkowitz, and Prince Kinsky provided him with an annuity of 4,000 florins as long as he lived in Vienna and kept composing, and he did so until his death. 

Ludwig van Beethoven’s most important achievement was raising instrumental music to the upper echelons of art, when it was previously considered inferior to vocal music, and literature and painting. Through pieces such as “Für Elise”, he showed how a simple piano composition could contain as much emotion as any other art form.

Image: A portrait of Ludvig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, circa 1820. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

Robyn Pinto, Helen Whitter and 23 others like this

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Angie Berwick CrippsPlayed this piece for one of my piano exams....love it to this day....

4 days ago   ·  3

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Sue CameronOr Moonlight Sonata, Pathetique, or Song of Joy, all beautiful. Imagine composing as hearing is failing.....

3 days ago
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Carmel ZuvichI recently visited Beethoven's home and museum in Bonn, Germany. Amazing !!!

2 days ago
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Kerrie HenrichsI would say from that expression he took himself very seriously but he did bang out some good Tunes

4 days ago   ·  1

2 Replies

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Rodna Kosmidou-JankovicSuch a beautiful piece, butchered by so many people ;) Great post, thanks!

4 days ago
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Catherine BoothSome musical history for Ava, this is the song she wants to learn Amanda Wrigley

4 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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BE MurphyA special day indeed Niamh

4 days ago
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Barbara WebbMy favorite

4 days ago
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