HG Wells, Hitler and Tasmania’s dark past: the stories behind arrival cards in Australia’s National Archives

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Archive material captures arrival in Australia of celebrities including Princess Anne, Fred Astaire and four-year-old Russell Crowe, as well as The War of the Worlds author’s explosive 1938-39 visit

Years after he wrote The War of the Worlds – inspired by European massacres of Tasmanian Aboriginal people – HG Wells arrived in Australia, his documents describing him as a “man of letters”. On his infamous visit to Australia in 1938, he never made it across Bass Strait, but he did manage to create an international uproar by criticising the Nazi government in an era of appeasement.

By the time Wells came to Australia he was one of the world’s most famous authors and thinkers. His 1898 classic imagines Martians fleeing a dying planet to take over Earth, landing in the genteel English countryside.

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