About Clio

About Clio

This page provides an introduction to Clio. For practical information on contributing essays and editing pages, please go to our How To Use Clio page.
To read CLIO content in annual issues, go to ANNUAL ISSUES

Featuring Student Research

Welcome to Clio, a site devoted to publishing exemplary research papers by History students in their final years of secondary school. View the outstanding work we showcase by browsing the Essays page or by using the search bar in the menu on the left-hand of the screen.

By publishing outstanding work we are celebrating the talent and hard work of our students. We are also creating an archive of exemplars that teachers can use to illuminate the nature of good essay writing and historical scholarship. Hopefully, the fascinating array of work showcased on Clio will stimulate students' curiosity and serve as a launching pad for further research.

Featuring Teacher Research

As well as featuring work by secondary students, Clio publishes essays written by their teachers. We feel that one of the joys of teaching History is that it enables, indeed requires, lifelong learning. Moreover, an essential element of being a good teacher is being continually curious and engaged in an ongoing process of discovery. Hence, Clio encourages History teachers to submit work for publication.

Sharing Teaching Resources

It's easy for teachers to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel. Sharing our work gives us access to great resources and can free time up to focus more on individual students' needs. Collaboration is also stimulating and fun. So in 2011 Clio started developing a new Classes section in which we are aggregating source materials, links, powerpoint presentations, documentaries, lesson plans and activities and more.


Clio invites History teachers to submit their students' work and/or to get involved with our resource sharing project. Please email Clio editor, John Hood (jcmhood@yahoo.com), about these or any other matters related to Clio.

The History of Clio

Clio was created by former Dickson College History teacher, John Hood, in 1996. When it began, the journal was published in hard-copy as well as digital form and had an exclusive focus on medieval history. Over the years, Clio has expanded to include all areas of history and to involve schools across the ACT. The journal is named after the ancient Greek muse of history, one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne mentioned in the works of Hesiod. In 1996, John wrote an editorial for Clio's inaugural edition. It still expresses the spirit of Clio.

Founding Editorial, John Hood (1996)

John Hood, Founding Editor CLIO
"Welcome to CLIO, named in honour of the ancient Greek muse of history, one of the nine muses mentioned in the works of Hesiod. The purpose of our journal is to stimulate interest in the study of the pre-industrial past, and in particular the classical and medieval inheritance of our modern world.This inheritance envelops our daily life, though we are often unaware of its extent. It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the frenetic pace of change in this Computer Age, to become imprisoned by technology rather than liberated by it, and to lose touch with the achievements and experiences of countless generations of humans who lived before us. CLIO aims to show the relevance of their experience to us.

CLIO is not merely about the past, however. Our journal is also dedicated to a particular notion of history, to the idea that history is not a mere catalogue of facts about the past but a distinctive mode of thought.

Malcolm Skilbeck, a former Director of the Curriculum Development Centre in the ACT, described history as both an instinctive and distinctive mode of human thought. It is instinctive because all human societies reflect upon the past, generally through myths and Dreamtime stories. Learning about the past is intellectually satisfying in itself, without the need for further purpose. However, it is also a distinctive mode of thought, a form of enquiry which can only be pursued in the mind and is limited by the random and subjective nature of its data. Historical writing is a distinctive form of literature, which seeks to establish a true account of events, motives and beliefs through the application of personal experience and the exercise of the imagination.

The great American scholar and writer Carl Becker also drew attention to the nature of historical information in an essay on the events at Lexington Green in 1776, arguing that historical "facts" are in reality merely affirmations of a fact. Written in 1955, his view formed part of an important dialogue on the methods of teaching history which was to culminate in the British Schools Council project What is History ? The emphasis was now being placed on active interpretation by the student, rather than passive acceptance of received information. Underscoring this new approach was a view of historical evidence as essentially hypothetical in nature. This meant that no textbook, no reference book, could by definition contain factual information. It was considered essential that the student exercise critical judgement in all their learning. This view of history as a process of inquiry leads us to a profound re-definition: Just as each generation seeks to express itself through art and philosophy, through new visions and fashions, so too does each generation seek to form its own view of the past. History is not a body of knowledge existing in books, but an ever shifting dynamic interpretation of the past by the present.

CLIO is a journal of research. It is based on the view that history is a process rather than a body of knowledge, and, furthermore, that it is a process of thinking. It is a unique form of thought because it speculates on the past, and because it seeks to discover the truth. It is the opposite to myth and legend, which explain the past through assertion and an uncritical acceptance of narrative. The historian, even the student historian, must search for answers and must search for true answers. The mere learning of facts about the past cannot be history, for it denies the need to exercise critical investigation and, without this, the learning cannot be history learning.

Student historians are limited, however, by access to sources and by their experience. Is there any point to their research and investigation? Are they likely to discover some new piece of information and set the academic world ablaze? Perhaps. However, this is not the purpose of research. At all levels of history, the purpose of historical research is to satisfy curiosity. This is the true purpose in teaching and learning history - to satisfy an innate human need to speculate on and investigate the past. Myths and legends seek to do this without the discipline of logical thought. History satisfies our curiosity by applying a distinctive method of research to our natural speculation.

We hope you enjoy reading the student essays contained in CLIO. Most of the contributors have progressed to tertiary studies now, but these essays, their earliest attempts at academic history writing, may help to inspire new generations of students. Many of the essays will be interesting to a wider audience as well." John Hood, CLIO Editorial 1996


The Editors' Prize for Overall Contribution to Clio
2010 : Ursula Cliff
2009 : Lauren George

The ACT Minister of Education's Prize for the Best Essay in Contemporary History
2010: Duncan Grey - Anwar Sadat and the Yom Kippur War
Gemma Matheson (Highly Commended) - The Significance of Black September
2009: Lindsay Nailer - Education Under Castro

The ADFA Prize for the Best Essay in Modern History
2010: Francesca Neely - Menzies and the Petrov Affair
2009: Deb Mak - Peter I and Catherine II

The ACU Prize for the Best Essay in Medieval and Renaissance History
2010: Ruqiyah Patel - The Children's Crusade?
2009: James Batchelor - Intellectual Activity in the High Middle Ages

The ANU Prize for the Best Essay in Ancient History
2010: Not awarded
2009: Ursula Cliff - The Roman Theatre

From left to right: Lindsay Nailer, Ursula Cliff, Dr Paul Burton (ANU), Lauren George, Deb Mak, James Batchelor.

In attendance at the Clio Awards Evening, April 5, 2011 (clockwise from top left): Gemma Matheson, Ursula Cliff, Hannah Walker, John Hood, Ursula Cliff, Hannah Walker, Tom Greenwell (seated), Liam Jones, Merredy Jackson, Gemma Matheson, Dr Paul Burton, Professor Jeffrey Gray.

How to Use Clio

Go to the How to Use Clio page to learn how to contribute to this wiki.