The equity risk premium puzzle has received regular attention by economists since it was first invoked by Mehra and Prescott twenty years ago. In a recent paper, they revisit the question and reject many of the explanations offered but we are left with no clear alternative account. The current paper seeks to do two things. We provide matching historical evidence of the equity premium for Australia and compare the results for the two nations. Resulting from this, we argue that a closer understanding of phases of economic history helps to explain the puzzle.