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The 'David Attenborough' of Australian history

Australia has over 60,000 years of fascinating history.

David Hunt tells stories from Australia's past that are still relevant today, exploring Australia’s unique history and the factors that have made Australians so successful on the world stage.

He's a bestselling and award-winning Australian writer, historian, podcaster, comic and speaker and, as of 2019, is presenting Aussie Inventions That Changed The World, a new Foxtel History Channel documentary series.

A stand-out speaker at TEDxSydney 2017, David has been a master of ceremonies for organisations as diverse as The Centre for Independent Studies and Transport Workers Union of Australia.

Current work

David regularly talks on Australian history and historical/cultural issues in a humorous way. The critical thinker’s comedian, he’s incredibly entertaining, as well as engaging and informing. His speeches have been praised by premiers, critical thinkers, businesspeople, comics and writers. He also regularly talks about Australian history on ABC Radio, and at universities, schools, libraries and writer’s festivals.

David has an articulate, comedic and insightful presentation style that's made him a popular choice, speaking for clients including, Linfox Armaguard, the Young Presidents Organisation, Dymocks, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the City of Ballarat, and RAAF .

Previous experience

Author: His book Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, won the 2014 Australian Independent Booksellers Award (Indie Award) for Best Non-Fiction Book and was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Book Industry, Nielsen Bookdata Booksellers Choice and NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Girt is one of Audible Australia’s top 5 bestselling audiobooks of all time.

The sequel, True Girt, was shortlisted for the 2017 Audiobook of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards and the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing. David is also a children’s book author, with his debut children’s picture book, The Nose Pixies, shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia’s 2017 Book of the Year Awards.

David has written about Australia’s past for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Monthly, The Interpreter and The Guardian… and other stuff for The Chaser Quarterly. He is a former stage and cabaret performer and debating and Theatresports champion.

Podcast: David wrote and co-presented the ABC Radio Australian history podcast, Rum, Rebels & Ratbags, which was one of Rolling Stone’s four hottest podcasts of 2016 and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Ten History Podcasts You Need to Hear.

Lawyer: Prior to his writing career, David was a banking and finance and insurance litigation lawyer, before working as a bouncer and senior policy advisor, speechwriter and political staffer within government. Although he worked across a wide range of portfolios, he maintained an interest in, and passion for, child protection. His work included developing Australia’s first Child Protection Register and subsequent Australian model legislation and reforming combat sports regulation for the New South Wales government.

Talking Points

Innovation nation

Australians have fought well above their weight in science, technology and manufacturing. They gave the world the stump-jump plough, electric drill, feature film, polymer banknote, black box flight recorder, wi-fi, electronic pacemaker and spray-on skin. And let’s not forget the Hills Hoist, Vegemite and wine cask. What has made Australians so successful in the past and what lessons can history provide to keep us at the head of the pack?

Reformation nation

The Australian colonies led the world in political and social reform. David looks at how transportation, immigration and Australia’s unique origins led to the development of the secret ballot, universal and women’s suffrage, the living wage, standardised work contracts, the eight-hour day, and modern property title and parole systems.

Reconciliation nation

How much do we know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history? What are the stories of first contact and of clashes over culture and resources? Reconciliation demands an acknowledgement of the joined histories of the Australian people, both old and new, as well as recognition of over 60,000 years of continuous Australian settlement. David’s presentation will enable his audience to walk the path towards reconciliation.

So who the bloody hell are we?

Australians have traditionally prided themselves on their egalitarianism, mateship, larrikin spirit and work ethic. Yet, they have also sometimes undersold themselves and their successes. David examines the historical factors that have shaped the unique Australian identity.

Big country - Big government

Australia and the colonies that preceded it have been addicted to big government since British settlement. David looks at how Australia’s unique origins have made Australians look to their governments for solutions to their problems. At times, this has been a strength - but it can also be a weakness.

Why we’re not America

American independence led the British to settle Australia. The Australian states and many of their US counterparts were British colonies and both nations are federations. Australians and Americans share many close historic and current ties. Yet our constitutions and systems of government, and many aspects of our culture, are very different. David explores some of the reasons why.

Rum, rebels and ratbags

David presents amusing anecdotes from Australian history, drawing parallels with contemporary Australian issues. You want corrupt politicians, incompetent explorers, minority bushrangers and killer camels, washed down with a double-shot of rum? Then this is the speech for you.

You little beauty

Why are Australians fascinated by sport? Why have we produced so many great, flawed and eccentric athletes? Would Phar Lap beat the Flying Pieman in a race? David explores some of the successes and oddities of Australian sport.

Custom Speeches

David can customise speeches, combining themes from Australian history chosen by the client. He can deliver speeches on particular issues, industries, places or personalities. Let him know what you want and he’ll let you know what he can do.
David Hunt was one of the first speakers on my list for TEDxSydney 2017 - he is a fantastic speaker with endless energy, a fabulous voice and is tremendously funny. TEDxSydney 2017

David Hunt is doing for Australian history what David Attenborough has done for science. His talks are amusing, engaging and informative, demonstrating why he’s completely unfit for politics

Barry O’Farrell, New South Wales Premier

Who says Australia’s history is boring? David’s anecdotes were funny, entertaining and informative all at once. Thanks to David’s after-dinner presentation we know there’s a lot more to our history than wheat and sheep and much of it is hilarious.

The Resources and Energy Law Association

David Hunt MCed a high value event with our board, major donors and their guests along with eminent speakers, including a High Court judge and former Minister.David has a capacity for making serious matters enormously interesting and very funny. He manages to speak with both levity and gravity which is a rare gift.

Centre for Independent Studies

David Hunt had thoroughly researched to topic and styled it to our overall conference themes. He was extremely knowledgeable, personable and engaging. Although the speech was conducted over dinner the people in the room were totally engaged from beginning to end.

Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd
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