Transport to Australia was the saving of Carmen Callil’s family

If 2020 has given us something to talk about other than Covid, it’s been history — and, more precisely, to whom history belongs and how we’ve chosen to define it. Well into the modern era, the philosopher Thomas Carlyle’s definition of the subject as ‘the biography of great men’, seems to endure. Most remember their school history lessons as a force-fed diet of monarchs’ names, battles and key dates, or as a narrative about palace-dwelling elites whose experiences seemed utterly removed from reality. It is undoubtedly why the subject in its most uncut Victorian form can seem so unpalatable to the general public. Conversely, it also goes a long way