Sir John Quick Lecture 2015: From Crown Tyranny to Australian Democracy

Join us for this year’s Sir John Quick lecture by David Hunt, the award winning and best-selling Australian history author and podcaster. David will discuss how a land settled by pickpockets, sheep thieves and Irishmen transformed from a tyranny into a model constitutional democracy in a single human lifespan. On the way, he will take us back 800 years to the signing of Magna Carta and pop into America to discuss the importance of taxation and tea.

What was it about our convict past that made us crave democracy? How did we discard British laws that simply didn’t work Down Under? Why do we believe in big government? Why did we lead the world in granting women’s suffrage?

Victoria played a lead role in developing the Australian state. It was the first colony to provide for full citizens’ representation in both houses of parliament. It was the first colony to enshrine responsible government in its constitution, although it took a Chinese “illegal maritime arrival” to point this out. It was even the first place in the world to give women the vote, when women surprised everyone by pointing out that they were “persons” under 1863 electoral laws (“person” was replaced with “man” after the 1864 election). And, of course, Bendigo’s very own Sir John Quick proposed the Australian Federal Conventions that framed the Constitution of an (almost) independent Australia.


David Hunt is a writer, satirist and historian. He is the author of the best-selling Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Australian Independent Booksellers Award for Best Non-Fiction Book, and presents the ABC’s Australian history podcast Rum, Rebels & Ratbags. David has worked as a lawyer, bouncer in a pub servicing an English prison (which he enjoyed more), cabaret artiste, government policy advisor, political staffer and television writer. He has a birthmark in the shape of Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

Public Lecture

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2015

Time: 6.00pm

Venue: The Capital, View Street, Bendigo

RSVP: Please register by Thursday 11 November (Bookings are essential). To book, please email La Trobe University Bendigo Events, or call 5444 7374

La Trobe