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

RAHS Day Lecture – “Make haste and go fetch the Coroner!” Death Investigation in Colonial Sydney

Murder in colonial Sydney was a surprisingly rare occurrence, so when it did happen it caused a great sensation. People flocked to the scene of the crime, to the coroner’s court and to the criminal courts to catch a glimpse of the accused. Most of us today rarely see a dead body. In nineteenth century Sydney, when health was precarious and workplaces and the busy city streets were often dangerous, witnessing a death was rather common. And any death that … Read More

An Appeal for Memories of Mothering in Australia 1920-2000

Tanya Evans with family historian Maria Linders talking about her research in the Friends Room of the State Library of New South Wales [Image courtesy Joy Lai]

Tanya Evans, Director of the Centre for Applied History at Macquarie University would like members/readers to contribute to her collaborative project on the history of motherhood in Australia from 1920-2000. Family historians are desperate to discover stories about the mothers in their family trees but they can’t find them in our history books. Using family history as her starting point, she is gathering the memories and histories of motherhood collected by ‘ordinary people’. Can you help her explore how the … Read More

History Council of NSW – Awards and Prizes

Applications are now open for the History Council’s annual Awards and Prizes The awards and prizes foster excellence in Australian historical writing, showcase and reward best practice, and advance and promote public understanding and appreciation of history. Aboriginal History Award The Aboriginal History Award was first awarded in 2016. Its purpose is to encourage students and other beginning historians (up to post-doctoral career) in the writing of Australian Aboriginal history, including Torres Strait Islander history, from original sources. Indigenous Australians … Read More