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Country Calling: History on the Land

October 22 @ 10:00 - 15:00

$15 – $25

Learn about new developments in local and community history as we explore our Country Calling.

SESSION A: Facing the Truth: How to Create History with Aboriginal Peoples (10am – 12pm) features historians, curators, and archaeologists who practice truth-telling in their history-making. Marika Duczynski (Repatriation Officer and Curator, Indigenous Heritage, Chau Chak Wing Museum) will discuss her experiences working with collections, communities and the issue of repatriation. Dr Stephen Gapps (historian and curator) will provide insights and advice on how to appropriately include Aboriginal perspectives in your history and heritage projects. Dr Iain Stuart (RAHS President and archaeologist, Artefact Heritage Services) will talk about Indigenous archaeology and working with Aboriginal peoples.

SESSION B: Best on Show: Country Shows and their Communities (1pm – 3.15pm) brings together community historians to take a closer look at the importance of agricultural shows to our local history. Judith Dunn OAM (RAHS Councillor) will talk about the evolution of agricultural shows and what local information you can learn from them. Liz Harfull (historian and author) will explore the history of food and cookery at country shows. Graham Shirley (RAHS Vice President) will present on how agricultural shows have been captured by moving image media since the early twentieth century. This session will also feature the President’s Address, presentation of Certificates of Achievement, and raffle prizes.


Raffle prizes include: Ancestry Subscription and DNA Kit; Australian National Maritime Museum Family Passes; Remote research at NSW State Archives or Mitchell Library / a ten-person history tour; Sydney Royal; Christmas Cake.

Want to know more about the history of agricultural shows in NSW? Visit our new history website:

About the speakers:

Marika Duczynski is a Gamilaraay and Mandandanji writer and is the Repatriation Officer and Curator of Indigenous Heritage at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney. Self-determination is at the core of her work and advocacy to ensure First Nations peoples control the management and return of cultural heritage held in institutional collections.

Dr Stephen Gapps is a museum curator and public historian working to bring Frontier War histories into broader recognition as Australia’s First Wars. His book The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the early colony 1788–1817 was the inaugural winner of the Les Carlyon Award for military history in 2020. In 2021, Gudyarra: The First Wiradyuri War of Resistance, the Bathurst War 1822-1824 was published by New South Books.

Dr Iain Stuart is a graduate from Latrobe University, Monash University and the University of Sydney where he wrote his dissertation on 19th century rural landscapes. He has worked for the Government Heritage Agencies in Victoria and NSW and as an archaeological consultant on various projects since 1993. He is President of the Royal Australian Historical Society. He has a strong commitment to the protection and management of our heritage and is involved in a number of professional organisations such as the National Trust, ICOMOS and TICCIH who aim to further these aims. He also has a strong belief that everyone working on Australia’s heritage should have at least a good working knowledge of Australia’s history.

Judith Dunn OAM has been a councillor of RAHS for the last seven years besides being an active member of four other affiliated societies, two of which she chairs. She has been convenor of the Historic Graves Committee for Parramatta & District Historical Society for 30 years which has produced a series of five books comprehensively recording their histories.

Liz Harfull is a community historian and prize-winning author who is passionate about telling the stories of the remarkable everyday people who make up our communities, especially in regional Australia. Liz has written two best-sellers about the traditions of agricultural shows and their cookery competitions. Her most recent book celebrates the history of the Country Women’s Association of NSW, whose scones have been delighting Sydney showgoers since 1947. Titled The Women Who Changed Country Australia, it was released earlier this year to coincide with the centenary of this iconic organisation. A Churchill Fellow who has also won awards for her work as a rural journalist and communicator, Liz is a former president of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.

Graham Shirley has worked as a director, writer and researcher on Australian historical documentaries, and is co-author of Australian Cinema: The First 80 Years (1983 & 1989). From 2006 to 2014 he worked for the National Film and Sound Archive, after which he returned to freelance historical consultancy and work as an oral history interviewer. He is a RAHS Councillor and a member of the Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT).

The RAHS Online and Regional Seminar Program is funded by Create NSW.

The aim of the program is to promote the study, writing and dissemination of Australian history. It aims to develop historical expertise in the community that will support history and heritage projects.


October 22
10:00 - 15:00
$15 – $25


Royal Australian Historical Society
(02) 9247 8001
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