In Your Hands, Australians

In Your Hands, Australians is a 1918 book by the Australian writer and historian Charles Bean. In the book Bean tries to encourage Australians to create a better world at after the end of the First World War. Bean wrote the book in two weeks in the south of France while on leave from the army.[1]

The book was described by the Australian Dictionary of Biography as "an Australian version of the world-wide hope that the survivors of war would perform peaceful deeds which justified the years of death". Bean described it as a "little book about the problems of Australia's future".[2]

Bean was a proponent of the White Australia ideology and envisaged a future Australia as being an agrarian society with millions of farmers.[3][4] Aboriginal Australians are excluded from his vision and are not mentioned or referred to by Bean in his text. Bean urges the readers of In Your Hands, Australians to create "An Anglo-Saxon nation of free, happy, brilliant people".[5][6]

In "Some Lesson of the War", a series of three essays for The Sydney Morning Herald by H.N.P. Sloman to mark the end of the First World War, Sloman wrote that In Your Hands, Australians should be read by "every member of the Commonwealth".[7]

Bean's 1943 book War Aims, written during the Second World War concerned a similar theme. Bean wrote in War Aims that Australians had failed to create the world he envisaged after the First World War but this was due to events outside of Australia's control.[8]


  1. ^ Kenneth Stanley Inglis (1970). C. E. W. Bean, Australian Historian. University of Queensland Press. p. 19.
  2. ^ John Frank Williams (1999). ANZACS, the Media and the Great War. University of New South Wales Press. pp. 290–. ISBN 978-0-86840-569-8.
  3. ^ Julian Bolleter (2 May 2018). The Ghost Cities of Australia: A survey of New City Proposals and Their Lessons for Australia's 21st Century Development. Springer Publishing. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-3-319-89896-4.
  4. ^ Peter Rees (1 April 2015). Bearing Witness: The remarkable life of Charles Bean, Australia's greatest war correspondent. Allen & Unwin. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-1-74237-954-8.
  5. ^ Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger; Renée Dickason (31 May 2017). War Memories: Commemoration, Recollections, and Writings on War. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 258–. ISBN 978-0-7735-4852-7.
  6. ^ Fiona Jean Nicoll (2001). From Diggers to Drag Queens: Configurations of Australian National Identity. Pluto Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-9516055-4-7.
  7. ^ John Frank Williams (1995). The Quarantined Culture: Australian Reactions to Modernism, 1913-1939. Cambridge University Press. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-0-521-47713-0.
  8. ^ Ian Craven; Martin Gray; Geraldine Stoneham (29 April 1994). Australian Popular Culture. Cambridge University Press. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-521-46667-7.