An Uncommon Hangman: The life and deaths of Robert ‘Nosey Bob’ Howard

This is the story of Robert Rice Howard (1832–1906), the man known as Nosey Bob. It is also an important chapter in the story of the changing attitudes towards capital punishment in Australia, as the country transformed from generally enthusiastic spectators at executions into campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty. These interconnected stories are told through the men, and the one woman, who met Nosey Bob under the worst possible circumstances between his first employment by the Department … Read More

Virus on the march? Military model and metaphor in the Covid-19 pandemic

The 2022 Ben Haneman Memorial Lecture by Professor Warwick Anderson is presented by the State Library of NSW Foundation and the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine. What should a medical historian say when a general calls, asking for advice on a vaccine rollout during the pandemic? For generations, we have heard warnings of the dangers of facile resort to war metaphors in dealing with epidemic disease. But what if public health originally derived from military models, … Read More

History of the Australian Backyard

History of the Australian Backyard is a fun talk that will have everyone recognising something they remember from past gardens and their childhoods and will also pose a few questions about where our gardens are heading in the future. Judy Horton OAM is a horticulturist who in 2015 retired after working for 22 years as a garden adviser for Yates. While at Yates Judy was responsible for updating six editions of Yates Garden Guide, the best-selling Australian gardening book. One … Read More

Lessons from History: Leading historians tackle Australia’s greatest challenges

Lessons from History is written with the conviction that we must see the world, and confront its many challenges, with an understanding of what has gone before. Historians including Mahsheed Ansari, Joan Beaumont, Frank Bongiorno, Ann Curthoys, Graeme Davison, Yves Rees and Peter Spearritt tackle the biggest challenges that face Australia and the world and show how the past provides context and insight that can guide us today and tomorrow. Carolyn Holbrook is a historian in the Contemporary Histories Research … Read More

ABLAZE: The true story of the first Aboriginal filmmaker

ABLAZE is coming to the ABC for NAIDOC week. Premiering Wednesday 6 July at 8.30pm on ABC Plus and available on ABC Iview straight afterwards. ABLAZE is a film about Bill Onus – a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his people’s culture in the 1940’s and 50’s and helped ignite a civil rights movement that helped change the course of history for Indigenous Australians. The documentary is written and directed by Alec Morgan (Lousy Little Sixpence) and … Read More

Mosman Historical Society presents: Preserving Our Military History

Colonel John Platt (Rtd) will discuss how the Australia Remembers Northern Beaches and North Shore Committee preserves and promotes the memory, along with the military history and records, of those who served and died for the nation, especially within Sydney’s northern beaches and north shore. One of its important community activities is establishing plaques that focus on Australian armed services personnel recognised for valour, gallantry and distinguished service. Two already recognised are Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Marks, DSO, MC (from Neutral … Read More

Picturing Post-War Reconstruction at a Local Level

Bruce Pennay OAM The term ‘reconstruction’ has become fashionable amid a pandemic, as it did amid the Second World War. Reformist political parties seize on what appear to be opportunities for building anew after a crisis, rather than enduring a return to pre-crisis normality. Crises become turning points. Stuart Macintyre saw the transition from war … Read More

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More Than a Glass and a Half: A History of Cadbury in Australia

More Than a Glass and a Half reveals the sweet secrets of CADBURY in Australia. A Melbourne professor with a sweet tooth has written a book celebrating 100 years of Cadbury making chocolate in Australia. A self-professed ‘chocoholic’, Professor Robert Crawford has fond memories visiting Tasmania’s Cadbury Factory as a 10-year-old boy – sparking a lifelong passion for the chocolate brand. In More Than a Glass and a Half, Professor Crawford combines archive material and interviews with employees, their families and … Read More

Update to History House Project Website

The RAHS has recently updated its website resources on the History House Project. As well as providing key project information, we have included additional articles and images that provide insights into the building’s 150-year-history at 133 Macquarie Street. Now known as ‘History House’, it has changed names three times, survived an arson attack in 1889 and evolved from being a place of politics to a place for history. In addition to these stories, the website also includes information on the … Read More

Heritage at Parramatta Square

Written by Graham Shirley While many RAHS members will be familiar with the colonial-built heritage of Parramatta, we would also like to draw their attention to permanent historical displays in the lobbies of two newly opened buildings in the Parramatta Square precinct. These buildings are 3 and 6 Parramatta Square, and their lobbies are open to the public between Mondays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. A $2.7 billion complex of mostly high-rise buildings, Parramatta Square is bounded by … Read More

Vandemonians: The Repressed History of Colonial Victoria

From award-winning author and historian Janet McCalman, the engrossing tale of Tasmanian convict settlers in colonial Victoria. It was meant to be ‘Victoria the Free’, uncontaminated by the Convict Stain. Yet they came in their tens of thousands as soon as they were cut free or able to bolt. More than half of all those transported to Van Diemen’s Land as convicts would one day settle or spend time in Victoria. There they were demonised as Vandemonians. Some could never … Read More

Centenary of Manly Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society

The Manly Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society will be celebrating its Centenary in 2024 and is planning a number of events to mark the occasion. It will launch “A History of Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society 1924-2024” being written by Dr. Keith Amos, a Fellow of the Society. It will also mount historic photographic displays in five Northern Beaches libraries and is running at least two “writing history” competitions – one for school-aged children and one for adults. Other … Read More

Remembering Australia’s War in Vietnam, 1962-1972

A new exhibition is open at the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s war in Vietnam — the defining event for an entire generation. Discover the lived experiences of veterans of Australia’s war in Vietnam through the personal stories of four Australians – the last Australian engineer officer to leave Vietnam, one of the first RAAF gunship pilots to deploy, an Australian entertainer and a nurse working in a … Read More

Contribute to the NSW War Memorials Register

Have you heard about the NSW War Memorials Register? Co-managed by the State Library of NSW and the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs, the Register is an extensive online database of war memorials across NSW. It enables individuals to record accurate information about these special sites, and the names inscribed upon them honouring those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. The Register holds over 3,500 listings of war memorials in NSW and over 200,000 veteran listings, and you can … Read More

Australia’s Great Depression by Joan Beaumont

How a nation shattered by the Great War survived the worst economic crisis it has ever faced. Some generations are born unlucky. Australians who survived the horrors of the Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic that followed were soon faced with the shock of the Great Depression. Today we remember long dole queues, shanty towns and destitute men roaming the country in search of work. With over a third of the workforce unemployed in 1932, Australia was one of … Read More

RAHS Excursions: Learn about history in your local area!

The RAHS is recommencing excursions across Sydney and its suburbs this Winter season. Join Judith Dunn and Donna Newton, with assistance from local guides, to learn more about these historic locations and institutions. Parramatta Girls Home – Tuesday 31 May 2022 [Rescheduled to Tuesday 26 July 2022] Visit the Parramatta Girls Home at the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct. Someone who was sent to Parramatta Girls Home as a child will give a talk on her experiences in the home before … Read More

War Crimes in Australian History: From the Boer War to Vietnam

Australia espouses adherence to the laws of armed conflict, and support for the institutions that monitor them. Australia has been an overt and enthusiastic supporter, and an ‘early adopter’, of most international treaties applicable to the law of armed conflict. Australia has firmly, but fairly, investigated and prosecuted the war crimes of our adversaries. While Australia’s record of compliance with the law of armed conflict is a good one, there are, from the Boer War through to the Vietnam War, … Read More

Judith Anderson: Australian Star, First Lady of the American Stage

Everyone knows Mrs Danvers as a byword for menace in Hitchcock’s Rebecca and as a poster girl for lesbians in the movies. But only dedicated fans know her brilliant creator. This book tells Judith Anderson’s life story for the first time. It recovers her career as one of the great stars of stage and television and an important character actress in film. Born in Adelaide, Australia, in 1897, brought up by a determined single mother, she parlayed her rich, velvety … Read More

National Archaeology Week 2022

Celebrate National Archaeology Week 2022 by joining the RAHS for an online evening lecture! When: Wednesday 18 May 2022 | Time: 6.30 – 7.30pm | How: Online via Zoom Known, Unknowns: The Archaeology of the Devonshire Street Cemetery What happened when a cemetery exhumed in 1901 was impacted on by modern redevelopment? This is the case of the Devonshire Street Cemetery which occupied a sand ridge from 1819 to 1901. After 1901 the graved were exhumed and reburied. The sand … Read More

Catholic History Award to South Australian writer: A story of survival

The Australian Catholic Historical Society has awarded its $1,000 MacGinley award to Adelaide historian Jo Vandepeer. Her winning essay, ‘The atelier of St Dominic’s Priory’, tells the story of nineteenth century Dominican nuns who arrived in Adelaide expecting to work in a hospital. When that proved impossible, they were thrown on their own resources and developed high-quality ecclesiastical needlework to survive. The James MacGinley award, established by the family of the historian Sr Rosa MacGinley pbvm, is for an original, … Read More