Author(s): David Hill
Australia and the British monarchy have always made for an odd couple: the young, rebellious, egalitarian nation wed to an ancient symbol of power and social inequality. Even today for most Australians an invitation to meet with royalty remains a pinnacle of social achievement and recognition. What is the magic the royals hold over Australians? Since Captain James Cook first claimed the territory for King George III in 1770, the pulse of the nation can be measured by its level of attachment to an aristocratic bloodline from the other side of the world. Queen Victoria became a towering influence in Australia and was more revered the longer she reigned - even though she never visited the place and showed little interest in it. When her son Prince Alfred visited in 1867, on the first royal tour the country had seen, he was received rapturously, and nearly assassinated. Nineteen fifty-four saw Australia in the grip of royal fever when newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II landed on these shores for the first time. The growth of the 1990s republican movement existed alongside the people's adoration for Princess Diana; and now, with the recent rise in popularity for Prince William, Kate, George and Charlotte, the monarchy looks set to enter the hearts and minds of a new generation of Australians. As one of our most popular writers of Australian history, David Hill guides us with panache through this most peculiar state of affairs.
During his remarkable career, David Hill has been chairman then managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; chairman of the Australian Football Association; chief executive and director of the State Rail Authority; chairman of Sydney Water Corporation; a fellow of the Sydney University Senate; and chairman of CREATE (an organisation representing Australian children in institutional care). He has held a number of other executive appointments and committee chair positions in the areas of sport, transport, international radio broadcasting, international news providers, politics, fiscal management and city parks. David came from England to Australia in 1959 under the Fairbridge Farm School Child Migrant scheme. He left school at 15, then returned to complete his Master's degree in economics while working as an economics tutor at Sydney University. In 2006 he was awarded a Diploma of Arts with merit in classical archaeology from Sydney University and subsequently graduated in classical archaeology. He is an honorary associate at the Sydney University departments of archaeology and classics and ancient history, and a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales. Since 2011 he has been the manager of an archaeological study of the ancient Greek city of Troizen. He has for many years been a leading figure in the international campaign to have the Parthenon sculptures returned from the British Museum to Greece.