Happy fifth birthday, Independent Australia

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Independent Australia turns five today. History editor Dr Glenn Davies looks back over the last half-a-decade of 'news with a conscience'.

TODAY is Independent Australia’s fifth birthday.

I remember how five years ago the first article was published — the day after the ‘night of the long knives’ when Julia Gillard rolled Kevin Rudd. At the same time Rudd was being deposed, IA emerged as an independent Australian voice.

Congratulations from history editor Glenn Davies and the team at Independent Australia to managing editor David Donovan, who has nurtured his baby to this impressive milestone.

Over the past five years Independent Australia has gone from strength to strength. Since those first days, Independent Australia – founded by former Australian Republican Movement vice chair David Donovan – has become the premier republican voice in Australia.

Australia has a long tradition of independent, republican journalism. This tradition was first established in newspapers such as the People’s Advocate and the Empire of the 1840s and 1850s, supported in The Age in the 1870s and 1880s, and from a constant theme in publications in the 1890s, such as the Newcastle Radical, the Wagga Hummer, the Cairns Advocate, the Melbourne Tocsin, the Hobart Clipper and John Norton’s Truth. But it was in the pages of the Bulletin of the 1880s and 1890s that the flowering of republican ideals can mostly noticeably seen to emerge.

Over the past five years, the task I have taken on with IA is to begin to document some of our shared republican history. For me, this historical journey had begun much earlier with my 1988 James Cook University history honours thesis, The Australian Republican: a Charters Towers based radical journal, 1890-1891. Coincidentally, the first edition of the Australian Republican was published on 21 June 1890 — 125 years almost to the day before Independent Australia.

But there is still a great deal more to document. Australia’s republican past has a rich and deep seam. It’s important to remember that our future is inextricably linked to our shared past.

In a volatile and changing online media landscape, Independent Australia has not only managed to stay afloat but has become a strong alternate voice to the mainstream media.

So, happy birthday Independent Australia and here’s to a long and independent life.

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