Library and Information Week 2019

Public Library print from an Album of Sydney, circa 1906 [RAHS Photograph Collection]

Prepared by Elizabeth Heffernan, RAHS Volunteer “A little library, growing larger every year, is an honourable part of… history… A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life.” – Henry Ward Beecher Australian Library Week was first celebrated in 1968 and renamed Library and Information Week in 2000. It is held annually during the last week of May to encourage communities to recognise the invaluable contributions libraries make towards Australian education, society, and history. This year’s … Read More

Judy Birmingham and the origins of Australian Historical Archaeology

Judy Birmingham and Andrew Wilson at the junction of the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks on Central Australia fieldwork in 1994. [Photograph by Alistair Patterson]

Before National Archaeology Week commences on Sunday, 19 May 2019, the RAHS is holding a pre-launch lecture entitled, “I want a really good man and I have written to Professor Mallowan …” Judy Birmingham and the origins of Australian Historical Archaeology Judy Birmingham is well known for her roles in the development of historical archaeology and cultural heritage management, yet she arrived at Sydney University in 1961 on the basis of her credentials as a Near Eastern and Mediterranean archaeologist. A … Read More

The Snowy: A History (New Edition)

The Snowy: A History

By Siobhán McHugh The Snowy: A History tells the extraordinary story of the mostly migrant workforce who built one of the world’s engineering marvels. The Snowy Scheme was an extraordinary engineering feat carried out over twenty-five years from 1949 to 1974 – one that drove rivers through tunnels built through the Australian Alps, irrigated the dry inland and generated energy for the densely populated east coast. It was also a site of post-war social engineering that helped create a diverse … Read More

Using Criminal Records as Sources of History

There is continuing fascination with crime – true crime or fictional accounts of “murder most foul”. Join RAHS President Christine Yeats for a workshop on how various nineteenth and early-twentieth century criminal records available in NSW, can be used by historians and writers for research into past crimes or ones that only exist in the writer’s imagination. Christine Yeats will discuss some of these key records, including material at the State Archives, newspaper accounts and other related records. Christine will … Read More

Convict Tattoos

Written by RAHS Volunteer and Copywriter, Christina King This blog post is part of a series entitled ‘The Convict Experience: Love, Life and Liberty Beyond the Chains’. Each month we will explore a different – and often rather unusual – type of primary evidence historians can use to hear convict voices telling their own stories. Revisionist history has done a significant job redefining convict history as more than simply an account of troublesome prisoners shipped to a foreign land. Primary … Read More


Given that we have entered grant season with the recent launch of the 2019 Create NSW Grants program, we are pleased to announce that the 2019 Grant Workshop Handout is now available. Prepared by RAHS General Manager Suzanne Holohan, this document provides an overview of the processes involved in applying for grants and delivering successful grant funded projects. Topics covered include application and project preparation, guidelines and criteria, completing an application form, planning your project, and what to do if … Read More

An anthem “of our own”: Advance Australia Fair

Written by RAHS volunteer, Elizabeth Heffernan In 1878, Scottish-born Australian composer Peter Dodds McCormick wrote the music and lyrics to a new patriotic song, ‘Advance Australia Fair’. One hundred and six years later, on 19 April 1984, his song – amended to suit a more modern audience – was adopted as the new Australian national anthem, replacing ‘God Save the Queen’. Today, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is unquestionably played at local, national, and international political, cultural, and sporting events. Its lyrics … Read More

Special Offer: An Evening with Antony Beevor

Sydney Writers’ Festival would like to offer members of the Royal Australian Historical Society a special discount for An Evening with Antony Beevor. In a very special Sydney Writers’ Festival event, pre-eminent British historian and one of the greatest chroniclers of the Second World War, Antony Beevor will take to the Town Hall stage to discuss his outstanding body of work, including his latest release, Arnhem.  Antony served in the 11th Hussars before writing four novels and 12 books of non-fiction (including the gripping Stalingrad). His talent as … Read More