Convenor: Terry Case 2nd and 4th Friday 2 to 4 pm U3A Room 1
Australian History replaces Armchair History in 2023 - "We'll range from local history through the intrusion of new settlers on original inhabitants' land, examine colonial office control of this British outpost and the myth of terra nullius We'll look at gold and democracy, but balance it with some awkward truths. Today we are still part of the struggle to share power and give all a voice."
Convenor: Terry Case 2nd and 4th Friday 2 to 4 pm U3A Room 1
Politics and History are neatly having plenty in common - what hopes for peace!
‘The Tudors’ period is drawing slowly to a close. Increasing time is being spent developing ideas for a ‘bespoke’ Australian History course in 2023, customised to include the history of Benalla and North-East Victoria and the interests of class members.
A small, cosy group tied up loose ends as we approach the end of the Tudor era. There are still some Tudor videos to watch. By November we plan to be brainstorming, and are already gathering resources, for an Australian history group next year.
Our theme, 'Tudors - Power and Religion', is drawing to a close, with planning for a new course in Australian History next year to proceed in earnest when classes finish. A small group is already undertaking research for this course. If you would like to be involved, speak to me during class or call me on 0427 621 700.
Remember we are now running our sessions regularly from 2pm on 2nd and 4th Friday afternoons so see you on April 8th.
The group seemed a little shy, preferring me to do most of the talking. I summed up the Tudor dynasty, emphasising the fear created by violent switches in religious acceptability.
This will lead into looking at Middle Ages attitudes to death, heaven and hell.
Remember the 14th is a holiday so our only March session will be Thursday 24th. After that I hope you'll agree with my preference to shift to our old timeslot of Friday afternoons from April.
Armchair History is resuming at the Seniors Community Centre in 2022, with the full course ‘The Tudors’ being offered again. It returns in new timetable slots - the 2nd Monday and the 4th Thursday from 10 am to 12 noon, with our first sessions on the 14th and 24th February. We'll need to set up our diaries carefully!
Owing to the number of interruptions that this course had in 2021, Armchair History was cancelled in September 2021 for the rest of the year.
Armchair History will resume in 2022, with the full course will being offered again. It will return to Room 1 at the Seniors Community Centre, still from 10 am to 12 noon, but at new timetable slots - the 2nd Monday and the 4th Thursday. We'll need to set up our diaries carefully!
Due to The Hub being unavailable to classes of more than 10 people, Armchair History will not be meeting for the remainder of 2021. Armchair History will resume next year, with a timetable change likely from the Friday afternoon timeslot.
A small gathering for Armchair history on August 13th took us to the end of the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII.
We watched an interesting documentary on the rise and fall of Henry’s enforcer Thomas Cromwell. During his time, Cromwell helped lay the foundation of modern British Government. Cromwell was born in Putney, the son of a rough brewer. By 1502 he had had enough and left England, becoming a mercenary with the French Army and making friends with people in high places. On returning to England, Cromwell was proficient in languages and law. After negotiating a deal with the Vatican on behalf of the Guild Traders, he quickly came to the notice of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Along the way he was elected a Member of Parliament and was co-opted to assist in the `Kings Great Matter’, the annulment of Henry’s 18-year marriage to Catherine of Aragon which produced one daughter, Mary, but not the longed-for son. Henry needed an annulment to marry Anne Boleyn. Cardinal Wolsey’s fall from power during this time also put Thomas Cromwell on shaky ground. Cromwell showed the King he could be valuable in his negotiations with the Papacy, who rejected Henry’s plea for annulment. Henry asked the people to reject the Papacy and in 1532 Parliament was given power to change the nature of the Constitution, creating the Empire of England, with King Henry becoming the supreme head of State. After Henry married Anne Boleyn, he began to eye the great wealth of the Monasteries and religious houses and the revenue that could be obtained from them. Thomas Cromwell oversaw the dissolution of over 800 monasteries and religious houses, an act of great destruction. While all this was taking place, Henry had Anne Boleyn beheaded for treason and adultery and set his sight on Jane Seymour. In a time of great change and uncertainty the Bible was translated into English, Henry approving every Parish to be given an English Bible.
Jane Seymour gave Henry his longed-for son, Edward, but died in the process. The arranged marriage to Ann of Cleaves was the undoing of Thomas Cromwell, whose enemies saw that he was sent off to the Tower and in 1540 was beheaded in front of a large crowd.
At our next Armchair History session, we will venture into the lives of Mary and Edward and eventually Mary Queen of Scots.
A small group enjoyed Terry’s session on the private lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented by Historian Lucy Worsley.
Married to Catherine of Aragon, a daughter Mary was born, but Katherine failed to provide Henry with a male heir. Poor Katherine was cast aside as the dark haired and sophisticated Anne Boleyn, a lady in waiting in the French royal court, had caught Henry’s wandering eye. Anne kept Henry at arm’s length.
Unable to persuade the Pope to grant him an annulment, Henry broke with the Holy Roman Church and declared himself the head of the Church of England. 1536 then saw the destruction of many monasteries as Henry eyed the wealth that the monasteries held. Anne quickly became pregnant, giving birth to a daughter Princess Elizabeth.
Following a jousting accident that led to a permanent injury to his leg, Anne suffered a miscarriage of their longed for son and heir.
Henry’s wandering eye focused on lady in waiting, Jane Seymour, who was Anne’s cousin. Henry turned to Thomas Cromwell to secure his freedom. Anne, accused of adultery and incest, was sent to the Tower and beheaded, along with her brother and other young men accused of being her lovers.
Jane Seymour provided Henry with a son, Prince Edward, but lost her life after the birth.
In 1539 Henry negotiated a marriage with Anne of Cleves from Germany. Sight unseen, this was a strategic marriage.
The marriage was annulled as Henry had turned his eye to Catherine Howard, who also lost her head for indiscretions and an affair with Thomas Colpepper.
Katherine Parr was Henry’s last wife and was with him when he died.
An interesting Friday afternoon.
Did you miss class during the school holidays on Friday 9 July? While the documentary Terry showed on Anne Boleyn isn't currently available on You Tube, the following clip is available:
The notes which accompanied the video when it was shown on SBS are available at: link www.sbs.com.au/guide/article/2017/05/22/anne-boleyn-and-henry-viiis-love-story-ultimate-tragic-soap-opera.
We have been tracing the wreckage caused by Henry in pursuit of a new marriage with Anne. His attempts to pressure the pope led to Spain attacking the Vatican and holding the pope hostage in Catherine's cause. Both sides tried to involve the French as Henry increased the pressure.
We have considered how fiction writers portray the period and how filmmakers tackle the familiar story.
Two weeks ago we were just setting up as a number of phones rang announcing another shut down. I was dismayed! Two weeks later we will have our second class and catch up to where we were in March 2020 when we were forced to close. We will continue our investigation of Tudor rulers and how England and Scotland changed in this period.
Welcome to new members, and to Joyce, best wishes for a speedy recovery
The Armchair History class will be meeting at the Cooinda Hub (Jean Lee Drive, Cooinda Village) in 2021.
Classes, held on the 2nd and 4th Friday from 2 to 4 pm, commence on Friday 12 February from 2 to 4 pm.
Terry Case 0417 621 700
In the last newsletter I wrote of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 and the end of the Eastern Church. The 1400s saw the Portuguese lead maritime exploration in a bid to secure the spice trade with ports in present day India & Indonesia. In 1497 Vasco da Gama found a way of reaching Goa and by 1557 the Portuguese had started to trade with China.
The only map to aid Vasco and other explorers was an Ancient Greek world map, Ptolemy’s Geographia, a copy of which was rediscovered around this time. It was remarkable in what it got right, including Iceland, Sri Lanka and the Canary Islands. It also showed that Africa could be sailed around, which the Portuguese re-discovered.
A century of exploration led to a new world map, one that could be printed.
Till this point Christians had seen Jerusalem as the centre of the world, a new mental change was the emergence of the notion of being European, rather than Christian. Assumptions and beliefs were contested and Europeans now thought themselves the centre of the world. The discovery of the Americas made for further adjustments that saw maps that would be familiar today.
By 1625 an English writer was identifying European values as Christian and Christians who lived elsewhere were no longer important.
I have been reading The Triumph of the West by J.M. Roberts.
I set out to not merely tell the story of Henry & his wives, but also to tackle the more important story of the breakup of the Catholic Church. We briefly looked at the efforts of translators to have bibles published in the language of the readers and how the Church opposed change.
Luther was the key figure in the upheavals and when we re-start classes I will continue to look at the religious changes in Europe.
It is important to contemplate changes outside of England at this time.
Circa 1400. Beginning of the Italian Renaissance. English travellers and merchants bring the ideas back to England & Scotland.
1453 Fall of Constantinople to the Turks. This ended the division of Christianity between Roman and Eastern administrations of the Church, leaving the Russian Orthodox Church as the major force in the East.
The spice trade became more difficult and expensive resulting in exploration for new routes to India. This encouraged developments in mathematics, astronomy and technical developments such as the compass which Chinese and Arab traders had used for many centuries.
Spain, England and other countries established colonies dependent on slaves.
1492 Fall of Granada and end of Moorish rule in Spain. 15th Century.
Creation of a Muslim Empire in India by Babur, a contemporary of Henry VIII.
Do not restrain yourselves by focusing on the Tudors and events in a small island!
I am going to miss our meetings and book recommendations during the Covid-19 lockdown. If you find something good, please consider, sharing it via our newsletter by sending it to Heather at email@example.com.
In 2020, the Armchair History group will be looking at royal involvement in British History over the years and its implications in the Tudor era.
Our final meeting for the year will be Tuesday 10th of December when we combine with the Politics class to watch a DVD that considers how Stalin & Communism was rejected by George Orwell & Winston Churchill. This brings to an end my series on 20th Century History.
Next year I revert to the Friday afternoon sessions for Armchair History and feast upon the Tudors as England is divided by religion.
We had been looking at the ramifications of the Peace Treaties following WW1. We turned our attention to India, Britain’s richest and most important colony. The Indian Congress Party had been promised political progress as so many Indians volunteered and served in both the Middle East, Turkey and on the Western Front. Like other groups such as the Suffragettes they were betrayed and it was left to Ghandi & Nehru to lead the party in the post war period.
Gandhi implemented his non-violence campaigns to shame the British. Gandhi’s followers were brutally attacked on the orders of the Government, but the protests turned the tables on the British and it would lead eventually to Independence.
We are reviewing the 1920s and 1930s both in Australia and Europe and the period where all the hopes for peace and prosperity are challenged. The focus will next move to Britain’s greatest asset, India "the jewel in the crown" and look at the tactics of the humble revolutionary, Gandhi.
Our August session looked at how the British and French made secret deals during WW1 to divide the Ottoman Empire and how they promised both the Arabs and Jews their support and betrayed them. The present Syrian civil war being just one of the many conflicts that can be traced back to colonial meddling.
How do we know about the secret documents? Well after the Russian Revolution the Communists published all the secret documents in the Russian archives. It did not stop the British & French drawing lines on maps causing thousands of people to flee their homes.
Our July DVD covered the Versailles Treaty negotiations where Australian PM Billy Hughes was an outspoken advocate wanting Germany to become a subservient nation paying massive fines. This together with the formation of new European countries, led to WW2.
In our next session we will see how the Middle East was carved up in the scramble for oil resources.
Our June meeting DVD focused on the revolutions that brought Lenin & the Bolsheviks to power in Russia. We saw the hopes and struggles to raise the desperately poor to a higher standard of living, at first applauded by many in the west. The Soviet Union set out to be a world leader that would see revolutions in many other countries; but lost many of its supporters who were horrified by the mass killings. International support crumbled, to be replaced by fear of communism.
Our second program had been produced for an Anzac Day screening. It featured the battlefield cemeteries and included an acknowledgement that Aboriginals were also among the Australian war dead and wounded, but have only recently been acknowledged for their service. Those Aboriginal soldiers who survived were not eligible for Soldier settlement schemes and other support, nor were not allowed to join the RSL, although some branches allowed them to join ex comrades for Anzac Day.
The program asked us to understand the complexities of the war so we do not fall prey to “fairy stories”. The finale was a reading of war poet Siegfried Sassoon’s Aftermath written in 1919. The harrowing poem asks: “Have you forgotten yet?” Sassoon writes of the horrors of the Western Front, the rats & the dead, the terribly wounded and the young boys, now shattered men. “ Look down & swear by the slam of the war, you will never forget.”
The poem concludes : “Do you ever ask if it's all going to happen again?” Of course we know that is exactly what happened just 20 years later.
Armchair History - 'Tudors - Power and Religion'
'Tudors- Power and Religion', commenced just before the Pandemic lock down in 2021. Owing to the number of interruptions that the course had in 2021, the full course is being offered again in 2022.
Convenor/s and Contact Details
Terry Case 0427621700
New times - 2nd & 4th Friday 2 to 4 pm from Friday 25th March.
U3A Room 1