View from Bellevue Hill, Cowra, 1925 [Cowra & District Historical Society]

Cowra Services Club, Cowra NSW       28th – 29th October 2017

Finding Lost Places, Lost People

The Royal Australian Historical Society in conjunction with Cowra & District Historical Society and Cowra Family History Group present the 2017 RAHS Conference to be held at Cowra Services Club 101 Brisbane St, Cowra NSW on Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th October 2017.

Pre-Conference Drinks

Conference delegates can attend a pre-conference event on Friday 27th October from 5.30pm at Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Ken Nakajima Place, Cowra. 

McCormick Deering Tractors, 12 Aug 1937 [Cowra & District Historical Society]

There will be opportunities to network with people who are committed to promoting local and community history and who enjoy sharing their successes and challenges with others.

More Information

If you have any queries about the conference then please contact us. There will be regular updates on the conference and other RAHS news in our regular eNewsletter and blog. To subscribe visit the RAHS Homepage.



In June 2012, the RAHS Council agreed that the keynote address to all RAHS Conferences would be named after Lesley Muir, and that the address would be considered for publication. This was an acknowledgement of the contribution that Lesley made to both the RAHS and local history in Australia.

Lesley was an active member of the Affiliated Societies network from the early 1980s, serving on its Affiliated Societies Committee from 1985-2012. She also served as an RAHS Councillor from 2002-2012. Lesley had many research interests. From the 1980s she worked with Canterbury and District Historical Society to research, write and publish booklets on aspects of the district’s history. Her largest community project involved researching and editing Canterbury’s Boys: World War I and Sydney’s Suburban Fringe. In 1994 she was awarded of Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Geography for her thesis Shady Acres: Politicians, Developers and the Design of Sydney’s Public Transport System 1872-1895. Lesley worked tirelessly to promote local history. Many RAHS and Affiliated Societies' members enjoyed her tours, workshops, talks and articles. Shortly before her death, she was made a Fellow of the RAHS, the Society’s highest accolade. Those who knew her speak fondly of her energy, enthusiasm and modesty. The Lesley Muir Address continues her legacy by focusing on historical geography and the importance of place in history.

Read more about Lesley’s contribution.

Shady Acres - Politicians, Developers and Sydney's Public Transport Scandals 1872-1895

Shady Acres was published by Halstead Press in 2016 and formally launched at History House on Friday 21 April 2017. This impressive publication, with an introduction by author Elizabeth Farrelly, and preface by RAHS President Carol Liston AO, is based on Lesley’s doctoral thesis, which she was re-working at the time of her death. The publication was completed thanks to the support of Lesley's husband Brian Madden’s children and the assistance of historian Joy Hughes.

Peter Madden, John Madden and Robyn Madden, together with Lesley’s cousin John Dean, assigned copyright of the publication to the RAHS. The RAHS Council has decided to use proceeds from the sales to support future publication projects, and to therefore have an ongoing facility to disseminate more Australian history.

Shady Acres is available to purchase online from the RAHS Book Shop for $20 plus postage.

2016 Lesley Muir Address – Times are A-Changing: New Horizons in History presented by Associate Professor Grace Karskens.

Grace Karskens delivered the 2016 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Conference held on 22nd and 23rd October in Wollongong. The theme of the conference was Times Are A-Changing – History and Innovation. Grace discussed our rapidly changing times, the digital revolution and its far-reaching implications for researchers. The address was published in the March 2017 edition of History.


2015 Lesley Muir Address – British Child Migrant Experiences presented by Mr David Hill.

David Hill gave the 2015 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Conference held on 24th and 25th October in Bankstown. The theme of the conference was Migration Matters. David shared his own experience and reflected on the experience of other British child migrants who came to Australia and attended the Fairbridge Farm School near Molong in NSW. Notes on the address was published in the December 2015 edition of History.


Lesley Muir Address 20142014 Lesley Muir Address – Anzac Day Early Rituals presented by Mr Bill Gammage AM

Bill Gammage gave the 2014 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Annual State History Conference held on 25th and 26th October at Mittagong. The theme of the conference was Moving History. He examined how Anzac Day rituals began and how they differed from place to place and year to year. An overview of the address was published in the December 2014 edition of History.


History-mag_II2013 Lesley Muir Address – History and Place presented by Associate Professor John McQuilton

Associate Professor John McQuilton gave the 2013 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS State History Conference held on 1 and 2 November at Katoomba RSL. The theme of the conference was The Great Divide: Getting there from here. Associate Professor McQuilton examined the importance of place in history using one event, the impact of the Great War, on one place – North Eastern Victoria. The address had particular resonance with the audience, many of whom were involved in projects related to World War I commemorative activities.


Pylon-Lookout-Image-Peter-Spearritt-talk-227x3002012 Inaugural Lesley Muir Address – Cleaning up in Sydney presented by Professor Peter Spearritt

Professor Peter Spearritt gave the inaugural Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS State History Conference held on 20 and 21 October at the Rowers on Cooks River at Wolli Creek. The theme of the conference was Saturated with Filth and Corruption: NSW History? Professor Spearrit opened his address by saying how it was ‘an honour to give an address in memory of Dr Lesley Muir, who did so much to bring the environmental history of the Canterbury Bankstown region to the notice of researchers and the local community.’

Begin your exploration of the 2017 RAHS Conference Program, Themes and Speakers by clicking on the images below.


Pre-Conference Drinks - 5.30pm Friday 27th October

Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre - Ken Nakajima Place, Cowra

Conference delegates can attend a pre-conference event at Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre - Ken Nakajima Place, Cowra.  The event will be hosted by Cowra Shire Council Mayor Councillor Bill West, and will feature a performance by local Aboriginal dancers. Mr Bob Griffiths, Chairman of the Board of the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, will provide conference delegates with an historical overview of the Garden and its centrality to the Cowra-Japan friendship.

Attendees have the option of transport to Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre by shuttle bus leaving from Cowra Services Club at 5.15pm (see booking form).

In addition, delegates can select to attend one of two organised tours on the Saturday afternoon. (Please note: To attend a tour you must be an attendee of the conference).

[The citations for the images above are available to view/download]

The 2017 RAHS Conference will be held at Cowra Services Club101 Brisbane St, Cowra NSW.

Phone: (02) 6342 1144
Submit an online enquiry to Cowra Services Club.


For conference attendees travelling by car, Cowra Services Club has ample parking available on site. There is also parking available in close proximity to the venue. For those intending to travel by public transport visit the Transport NSW TrainLink or Transport for NSW websites for details.


Cowra Services Club Motel offers various accommodation options. The following websites may also be of assistance:,,, and Accommodation information is also available on the Cowra Tourism website. The Sovereign Inn in Cowra has offered conference attendees a special accommodation offer. Visit the Sovereign Inn website and download the flyer. Please note: The RAHS makes no specific recommendations and conference attendees are responsible for making accommodation bookings to meet personal requirements.


In addition to the Saturday evening RAHS Conference Dinner, there are many great dining options in Cowra. The Cowra Tourism website provides a list of restaurants, which delegates attending the Pre-Conference drinks, in particular, may find helpful.

Explore the many things to do in and around the Cowra District by clicking on an image below.

There are many ways to enjoy yourself in and around the conference location, Cowra. Explore the Things to See and Do section above and discover a range of sights, experiences and activities to suit all tastes.

Members of the Royal Australian Historical Society can look forward to an overview of the conference in the December 2017 edition of History magazine.





Learn about the history of Cowra through photographs by clicking on an image below.

In the lead up to the 2017 RAHS Conference, Cowra Family History Group contributed a series articles on the history of Cowra for the RAHS eNewsletter, which can be accessed below. Subscribe to our eNewsletter by visiting the RAHS website homepage.

More Information
If you have any queries about the RAHS Conference please contact us.
There will be regular updates on the conference and other RAHS news in our regular eNewsletter and blog.
To subscribe visit the RAHS homepage.