This thesis is about the interpretation of historical archaeology. Recognised as an important source of historical evidence, Australian governments have long acknowledged historical archaeology’s importance in legislation since the 19th century. Despite statutory recognition however, exactly why historical archaeology is important and how it can contribute to our understanding of Australian history is poorly understood. Comprehending historical archaeology’s significance to constructions of history is of utmost importance, because without its unique perspective, a vast area of human experience will remain effectively unacknowledged. This thesis explores public understandings of historical archaeology’s contribution to history making, in order to gauge the range and complexity of problems that influence these vague perceptions.