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The Lesley Muir Address

In June 2012, the RAHS Council agreed that the keynote address to all RAHS State Conferences would be named after Lesley Muir OAM and would be considered for publication. This was an acknowledgement of Lesley’s contribution to 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 a Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Geography for her thesis Shady Acres: Politicians, Developers and the Design of Sydney’s Public Transport System 1873–1895. The Lesley Muir address continues her legacy by focusing on historical geography and the importance of place in history. Lesley worked tirelessly to promote local history. 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.

Copies of the Lesley Muir Address (as printed in History magazine)

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2023 Lesley Muir Address

Digitalisation, Collaborating with Creatives and Reconciliation

History magazine, number 158, December 2023, has a purple cover featuring a painting depicting the Myall Creek Massacre. In the centre is a cattle pen with Aboriginal people inside. Around the cattle pen are dead Aboriginal bodies and white settlers. In the foreground, seven figures wearing prison uniforms and black hoods are hanged.Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay OAM delivered the 2023 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Conference held in Wagga Wagga on 21–22 October. The theme of the conference was The Way Ahead: Local and Community Histories for our Future.

Professor Pennay discussed how historical societies could engage with new audiences and ensure their work remains relevant.


2019 Lesley Muir Address

Finding Convicts and Convict Sites: A Job for Professionals, Community, Or Both?

History magazine Dec 2019 No. 142 blue cover with illustration of men on horses and a red globe with circus animalsProfessor Martin Gibbs delivered the 2019 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Conference held in Tamworth on 14–15 September. The theme of the conference was Illuminating the Past.

Professor Gibbs discussed the role the history community might play in bringing greater awareness to how the convict legacy is embedded in the landscape, especially with the advent of new technologies.


2018 Lesley Muir Address

History from the Ground Up

History magazine number 138 December 2018 has a red cover featuring a black and white photograph of a group of men using a pulley to lift a large bell.The 2018 Lesley Muir Address was delivered by Dr Mathew Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia, at the RAHS Conference held in Port Macquarie on 20–21 October. The theme of the conference was Surveying the Past, Mapping the Present.

Dr Trinca spoke about the challenge of composing Australia’s national history and the importance of focusing on stories at a local level and linking them with common themes and ideas that have national relevance.


2016 Lesley Muir Address

Times are a-changing: New Horizons in History

Associate Professor Grace Karskens delivered the 2016 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Conference held in Wollongong on the 22nd and 23rd of October. The theme of the conference was Times are A-Changing: History and Innovation.

Professor Karskens discussed our rapidly changing times, the digital revolution and its far-reaching implications for researchers.


2015 Lesley Muir Address

British Child Migrant Experiences

The 2015 Lesley Muir Address was delivered by Mr David Hill at the RAHS Conference held in Bankstown on the 24th and 25th of October. 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 New South Wales.


2014 Lesley Muir Address

Anzac Day’s Early Rituals

Adjunct Professor Bill Gammage presented the 2014 Lesley Muir Address at the RAHS Annual State History Conference held on the 25th and 26th of October at Mittagong. The theme of the conference was Moving History.

Professor Gammage examined how Anzac Day rituals began and how they differed from place to place and year to year.


2013 Lesley Muir Address

History and Place

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 conference’s theme 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.


2012 Lesley Muir Address

Cleaning up in Sydney

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 conference theme was Saturated with Filth and Corruption: NSW History?

Professor Spearrit opened his address by saying 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’.