Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Lecture - Hard Jacka

Date: 11 November 2008
Time: 5.15 pm (tea/coffee) Lecture 5.45 pm
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Price: Free (members) $5.50 (non-members)

Michael Lawrinwsky will provide a powerpoint presentation about his book, Hard Jacka, a novelised account of the exploits of Albert Jacka, Australia's first VC winner of the Great War. The novel is based on extensive historical research.

The presentation will include a number of aerial photographs of battlefields such as Courtney's Post and Hill 60 at Gallipoli, Bullecourt in France and Polygon Wood in Belgium, with overlays of the Australian positions, as well as contemporary photographs of memorable 14th Battalion members.

The themes explored in the book and in Michael's presentation include Australian identity and values, mateship, the fair go, leadership, sportsmanship, larrikin humour, ambition, class conflict, bravery, life and death and the future lost.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

RHSV Lecture - Why is Victoria different?

Speaker: Weston Bate
When: Tuesday 14 October
Where: RHSV 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 5.15 Tea / coffee 5.45 Lecture
Cost: Members free - Non-members $5.50

History Week Talk

This talk emphasises Victoria's fortuitous beginnings, with firstly a pastoral and then a mining boom. Contrasting groups of people and interests had an epic struggle for the power to control development. There was almost a civil war in the 1870s as the predominant goldrush generations tried to break the constitutional stranglehold of conservatives in the Legislative Council.

Radical liberalism, protectionism, emergence of trade unions, development of Marvellous Melbourne in the 1880s, Sydney-Melbourne rivalry, cultural depths, trends in religion are some of the topics to be covered, concluding with why Melbourne is so often cited as Australia's most livable city.

RHSV Lecture - Medicine on the March - Supporting our Services

A shared event with the Shrine of Rememberance.

Weston Bate, Flying Officer during WWII, will facilitate a "making history in the round" session where we invite former Services medical personnel to talk about their experiences during war and peace.

"Making history in the round" becomes a wonderful informal way of gathering the stories of the quieter makers of history - come and participate in this intimate and enjoyable history making experience. The memories will be recorded and stored at the RHSV.

The event will take place at the RHSV in the Officers' Mess of the former Army Medical Drill Hall, an army site from 1866-1988.

Bookings essential - 9326 9288

Gold coin donation. Proceeds to go to the Sir Weary Dunlop Medical Research Foundation Price: Time: 5.15 Refreshments 5.45 Lecture
Date: 16 October 2008
Address: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne

Phone: 9326 9288

Friday, 19 September 2008

RHSV / RSV Lecture - The Adventures of a historian in the International Arms Trade

 Speaker:    Dr Peter Yule
Price: $15 RHSV or RSV members - $20 non-members
Time: 6.00 pm refreshments 6.30 Lecture
Start Date: 25 September 2008
End Date: 25 September 2008

Address: Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street
City: Melbourne

Bookings essential

Phone: 9326 9288

Writing the history of the Collins Class Submarine project

The Australian navy has six Collins Class submarines, designed by the Swedish company
Kockums, and built at Port Adelaide between 1989 and 2003.

The construction of the Collins class submarines was Australia's largest and most
controversial military purchase. The submarine project was subjected to
an unprecedented level of media scrutiny and criticism, became highly politicised and
on several occasions faced the prospect of being abandoned.

Writing the history of the submarine project proved to be an interesting cultural
clash as I wandered through arms fairs, interviewed fanatical weapons experts and
waded through the container loads of documents generated by the project.

I was surprised by the conclusions I came to. The general public perception of the
submarine project is that it was a hugely expensive failure and that the submarines
are noisy 'dud subs'. The reality is very different. The submarines are not 'noisy as
a rock concert' but they do have a major defect which the media and the public have
never understood.

To reveal this defect will lay me open to massive retribution from international arms
dealers, but I promise to tell all at the RHSV/Royal Society lecture on 25

Peter Yule is a Research Fellow of the History Department of the University of
Melbourne. He has written widely on medical, business and local history, with his
recent books including a biography of Sir Ian Potter and Steel, Spies and Spin: the
Collins Class Submarine Story. He is currently writing a biography of W.L. Baillieu.

Friday, 5 September 2008

RHSV Lecture - Summer in the Hills

Speaker: Andrea Inglis
When: Tuesday 9 September
Where: RHSV - 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 5.15 pm coffee/tea 5.45 pm
LectureCost: Members Free Non Members $5.50

Australia’s colonial gentry found it fashionable to summer in the hills. Mountain resorts at Mount Macedon in Victoria, at Toowoomba in Queensland and in the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands of New South Wales and the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, offered a cooler climate, curative mountain air, exotic gardens and a place for high society to gather.

Andrea Inglis takes a close look at these antipodean hill stations, which had their Imperial or Anglo-Indian antecedents and yet a character of their own. She opens a window on a style of life that was distinctive in its aesthetics and its ideas about health and the Australian bush.

Andrea Inglis is an historian with an interest in Australian social history, in particular the recreation and leisure pursuits of colonists in the nineteenth century. She has a Doctorate in history from the University of Melbourne and is the author of Beside the Seaside, a history of the early seaside resorts of Victoria, published in 1999 and Summer in the Hills: The Nineteenth-Century Mountain Resort in Australia published in 2008. Andrea has been a teacher and currently works in educational research.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

RHSV Melbourne Day Lunchtime Lecture - Grave stories of Queen Victoria Market

When: Friday 29 August - Melbourne Day
Where: RHSV, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Cost: Free (members) $5.50 (non-members)
Time: 12 noon Tea/coffee Lecture: 12.30pm

Join Dr Celestina Sagazio, Senior Historian of the National Trust, for an illustrated presentation exploring the history of the fascinating and unique Queen Victoria Market.
The Queen Victoria Market is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place that has won a place in our hearts and is a leading tourist attraction in Melbourne. Yet we almost lost the market many years ago. Threats of possible closure or demolition of parts of the site were averted in the 1970s, largely through the efforts of the National Trust and other community groups and individuals. There are no other markets of this scale, occupying the original buildings, anywhere in Australia.
The ‘Vic Market’ is the only one of the major nineteenth century markets in Australia to survive intact and still operate.

The site also has considerable significance for Melbournians as the location of the Old Melbourne Cemetery, Melbourne’s first official cemetery, which opened in 1837. Thousands of people are believed to be still buried underneath the market. Like the market, the Old Melbourne Cemetery is the source of many interesting tales.

Dr Celestina Sagazio, who has worked as an historian with the National Trust for 23 years, has published widely in the heritage field. Her publications include Cemeteries: Our Heritage, Conserving Our Cemeteries and The National Trust Research Manual. Celestina has conducted
extensive research into historic places in Victoria and is involved with the classifications and conservation lobbying work of the Trust. She is the organiser of the successful Full Moon and Halloween tours of the Melbourne General Cemetery.

RHSV Lecture – New Historians Lecture

When: Tuesday12 August
Speakers: Dr Nick Dyrenfurth and Peter Burke
Where: RHSV, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 5.15 pm (tea and coffee) Lecture 5.45 pm
Cost: Members Free: Non Members $5.50

Two new historians share what promises to be an informative and entertaining evening. Not to be missed!

“All the world over”: the transnational world of Australian radical and labour cartoonists, 1880s to 1920
Speaker: Dr Nick Dyrenfurth
This talk considers the transnational world of early Australian radical and labour cartoonists, focussing upon the work of well-known artists Phil May, Livingstone Hopkins, Montague Scott, Claude Marquet, Jim Case and, most prominently, the Victorian Will Dyson. Political cartooning
constituted a vitally important element of the cultural politics of the early Australian labour movement. However, most historians have assumed that the visual evidence of this period was merely confirmation of an existing or latent working-class consciousness, rather than understanding the role of iconic representation in the making and re-making of class.

This talk has two main concerns. Firstly it will show how Australian cartoonists drew on their Anglo-American backgrounds and the parallel overseas activities of the day. Secondly, in this context, it will explore the nature and purpose of their collective project, which created a
populist narrative of ‘heroes and villains’ for political Labor: villainous capitalistic ‘Fat Men’ battled it out against heroic male ‘workers’ and a more collective vision of ‘the People’.
Nick Dyrenfurth is a political historian who lectures in the School of Historical Studies at Monash University.

The social history of workplace Australian football 1860-1939
Speaker: Peter Burke
This presentation is based upon doctorate research into the social history of workplace football. The doctorate examines the social context and development of workplace Australian football from the period in the early 1860s, when the game emerged as a distinct code, to the outbreak of the Second World War. The presentation will explain the main findings of the research. Although discussion is restricted mainly to the state of Victoria and, in particular, the metropolitan area of Melbourne, developments in other states and regions of Australia are considered where they are
important in tracing the evolution of workplace football.

Peter Burke is enrolled in doctorate program at RMIT University and works also at the research office in RMIT. In recent years he has published a number of articles on the social history of Australian football and is currently editing a book based on papers presented to the 2007
Footy Fever conference. He is also the convenor for the Victorian chapter of the Australian Society for Sports History.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Victorian Folklife Fund suspended for 2008

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Victorian Folk life Fund for 2008 has had to be suspended. Please do not send an application for this year. It is hoped the programme will recommence in 2009. For further information please contact the Royal Historical Society of Victoria on 9326 9288.

Friday, 4 July 2008

RHSV & RHS lecture - A land specially dedicated to the unforseen

The El Nino droughts of 1864-1869.
This is a joint event held with the Royal Societyof Victoria
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Don Garden
Where:Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
When: Thursday 7 August
Time: 6.00 pm Delicious savoury refreshments - 6.30 pm Lecture
Cost: $15.00 members of RHSV & RSV - $20.00 non members

Bookings essential: 9326 9288 or

The 1864-1869 drought was one of the most damaging and severe in colonial history. The talk focuses on the effects of the droughts on the eastern colonies, particularly on the pastoral industry.

This was a critical time in the expansion of the pastoral industry as it moved increasingly into arid and semi-arid regions. Unfamiliarity with the environmental conditions in the regions combined with a couple of good seasons in the early 1860s had encouraged overconfidence and misjudgements in stocking the land.

The unpredictable and punishing nature of the climate caused considerable pain and promoted reflection on the nature of the colonial experience. It also resulted in the first significant but vain attempts to 'drought proof' the colonies.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

RHSV Lecture - The secret RAAF radar station at Wilsons Promontory during WWII

Date: Tuesday 8 July, 2008
Time: 5.15pm tea/coffee 5.45pm lecture
Price; Free (members) $5.50 (non-members)
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street Melbourne VIC

At the outbreak of the 1939-45 War the Australian Government believed that Australia was not open to the threat of invasion but that we did need to prepare for sporadic raids. In November 1940 the latter became reality with German vessels laying minefields at strategic points around the Australian coast.

When the German mines claimed their first victims and Japan brought the conflict into our hemisphere Australian thinking changed radically. Plans for a chain of coastal radar stations were speedily authorised. The Wilsons Promontory station was one of the first of 130 or so to be put into operation around the Australian coast.

This RHSV lecture will be given by Ian McKellar who has researched and published its story in a book, much of it told by the men who actually served there. He describes the equipment that they used and the method of handling the intelligence that the radar stations provided.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Victorian Community History Awards Winners 2008

The winners of the Victorian Community History Awards 2008 were announced on Saturday 28 may at Queens Hall Parliament House.

The overall winner was volume 6 of the Eaglehawk & District Pioneer Register prepared by Annette O'Donohue & Bev Hanson.

Collingwood Historical Society won an award for the Collingwood Plaques Project.

For a complete list of prizewinners in different categories and those awarded commendations go the Victoria Online - Victorian Local History Awards page.

Information about the Community History Awards plus previous winners can be located on the RHSV website - Victorian Community History Awards

Friday, 6 June 2008

RHSV Lecture - Explaining Alan Moorehead

RHSV Fellows Invitation Lecture - Explaining Alan Moorhead

Date: Tuesday 10 June 2008
Time: 5.15 pm (tea / coffee); 5.45 Lecture
Address: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Price: RHSV members - Free; non members $5.50

Alan Moorehead was arguably the first Australian writer to command a truly international audience. From the early 1940s until his death in 1983, his series of best-selling histories of the war in North Africa, his biographies of General Montgomery and of the atomic spies, and his books on Gallipoli, the Russian Revolution, and the European penetration of Africa (notably The White Nile) and of the Pacific (The Fatal Impact) won him an immense readership.
Many readers will recall also his books Cooper’s Creek and Darwin and the Beagle.

How was it that a run-of-the-mill Melbourne journalist became the doyen of British war correspondents 1941-1945?

How did a self-confessed failed novelist reinvent himself as a writer of popular history? And how did Moorehead himself account for these transformations?

Introducing a discussion of Alan Moorehead’s career and writings, John Lack will attempt an explanation of Moorehead’s phenomenal success, and assess his overall significance to Australian cultural development.

John Lack, who is a Senior Fellow in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, is Victorian Section Editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, to which he has contributed the entry on Alan Moorehead.

Phone: (03) 9326 9288

Thursday, 15 May 2008

RHSV Annual Report 2007

A copy of the RHSV annual report for 2007 can now be downloaded from the About Us section of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria website -

Saturday, 3 May 2008

RHSV Annual General Meeting

DateTuesday 13 May, 2008
Time5.00 pm
WhereRoyal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street Melbourne VIC

The RHSV Annual General Meeting will be held:
1. to confirm the minutes of the 97th AGM
2. to receive the annual report for the year ending 31st December 2007
3. to receive and consider the financial statement for the year ending 31st December 2007
4. to appoint the Hon. Auditor for 2008
5. to adopt revisions to the constitution
6. to elect office bearers and members of Council
7. to receive expressions of interest for the History Victoria Support Group
8. to elect any member or members who have been nominated for election as Fellows
9. to announce Awards of Merit recipients
10 to transact any special business of which notice has been given in accordance with the Rules of the Society

The AGM will be followed (at 5.45) by a lecture on George Langley - a notable educator and headmaster by Dr Alan Gregory

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The Annual C J La Trobe Society/ Royal Historical Society of Victoria

From Charles La Trobe to Charles Gavan Duffy: selectors, squatters and Aborigines

Speaker: Dr. Val Noone
Date: Tuesday 3 June
Time: 6 pm refreshments
Lecture: 6.30 pm
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria
239 A’Beckett Street Melbourne
Cost: $20.00 per head

Bookings Essential 9326 9288

Drawing on primary and secondary sources, this lecture investigates the land policies of Charles Gavan Duffy in the perspective of the legacy of Charles La Trobe. In particular, the lecture focuses on policy changes and confl icts regarding squatters, selectors and the Indigenous people during the years 1858-9 and 1861-3 when Duffy was minister for lands.

Dr Val Noone, Fellow, School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, author and historian, is learning the Irish language and writing about the Irish in Victoria. He has recently completed seven years as founding editor of Táin, the magazine of the Australian Irish Network.

RHSV Lunchtime Lecture - Onions in Gippsland 1900-2007

Speaker: John Murphy OAM
When: Thursday 22 May
Lunch: 12.30 (Delicious onion soup!!)
Lecture: 1.00pm
Cost: $5.00 members $10.00 non members

Bookings Essential 9326 9288

Onions were first grown in Australia in NSW soon after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 but it was not until 1855-60 that commercial production began in the Western districts of Victoria, around Geelong, Colac and Warrnambool. Production in Gippsland began in 1900 where the growing of the long keeping Brown Spanish variety on the naturally fertile soils around Leongatha enabled many landowners to use this crop to improve their pastures. A similar pattern of land development took place in the Koo-wee-rup Swamp area.

Returns to growers however were variable, and in 1936 an Onion Marketing Board was formed to ensure that growers obtained a reasonable return for their labour. This Board operated until 1975 and succeded in stabilizing market returns, but it indirectly led to its own demise because the consequent price stability resulted in increased production in neighbouring States. This lecture also looks at the changing techniques; mechanization and herbicides and their
impact on land use.

For over forty years between 1925-1965 onion growing was an integral part of farming on the Murphy family farm which fronts on to the Ruby Creek at Leongatha North. With the formation of the Leongatha and District Historical Society in 1964 John Murphy’s interest in history led to the writing of several books on the area with major works being No Parallel - The Woorayl Shire 1888-1988 and On the Ridge -the Shire of Mirboo 1894-1994. From 1988 till 2000 he served as Gippsland representative on the Council of the RHSV as a result of which he was awarded a Fellowship to the Society in May 2000. In January 2004 he was awarded the Order of
Australia Medal in recognition of his contribution to the history of South Gippsland.

RHSV Lecture - George Langley – A notable educator and headmaster

When: Tuesday 13 May
Where: RHSV - 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne - entry via William Street
Time: Lecture 5.45 pm following the AGM which commences at 5.00pm
Cost: Members free; non-members $5.50

George Langley was born in Port Melbourne in1891. He went from his local state school to the new state secondary school, Melbourne Continuation School, then to the Teachers College and University. Teaching in Mansfield when he enlisted in the AIF in 1914. He quickly became an officer and was torpedoed on board the Southland on arrival at Gallipoli in 1915 but he remained there until the evacuation. From Cairo he joined the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps which played a key role in the desert campaigns. After the cameliers he joined the Light Horse and played an important role in the fall of Damascus. He was wounded, four times mentioned in dispatches, awarded the Serbian Order of the White Eagle and the DSO.

He returned to Mansfield High School as headmaster, then in 1924 was headmaster of Warrnambool High School. He served again in World War II but classified medically unfit, he was given the demanding post of Australian Red Cross Commissioner to Europe and the Middle East based in London. He returned to teaching after the war, becoming principal of his old school, Melbourne High School in 1949. A notable educator and headmaster, he had a major influence on generations of young people with his values and ideals.

Dr Alan Gregory AM an old boy of Melbourne High School he was a teacher in Victorian high schools, on the staff of the Education Faculty, Monash University for 25 years, and Master of Ormond College. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia 1989 for services to education and the community. He has been published widely in the field of economics, education and history, and his recent books include: and The Ever Open Door: A history of the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1998), and in2005 the centenary history of Melbourne High School; Strong Like Its Pillars.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Holsworth Local Heritage Trust - a grant for regional societies

The purpose of the Holsworth Local Heritage Trust, a charitable fund within the Victorian Community Foundation, is to invite applications for grants from not-for-profit organisations such as historical societies, clubs, schools and museums in regional Victoria.

The Trust is interested in supporting enthusiastic community groups and organisations with a true interest in heritage preservation and the enhancement of community life.

Grants of up to $1,500 are available for projects that will enable the preservation and appreciation, through publication, of any specific or general local history in regional Victoria.

The grant is not intended to benefit benefit individual authors or large organisations. Small organisations with little or no experience of self publishing work are encouraged to apply. Joint projects encompasing several groups or annual / special edited journals incorporating submitted historical articles from a wide community are encouraged.

Applications close in October each year.

Further information about this grant opportunity -

Saturday, 9 February 2008

RHSV lecture - Blackboard to battlefield: The Victorian Education Department's teacher-soldiers, Great War, 1914-1918

Tuesday 8 April

RHSV - 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne - entry via William Street

5.15 pm tea / coffee
Lecture 5.45 pm

Cost: Members free; non-members $5.50

Compared with Australian national averages, Victoria's state school teachers enlisted earlier and in greater numbers, were more rapidly promotes, more highly decorated - and more likely to die. Based on recent doctoral research, Rosalie Triolo, explains the teachers' responses and experiences. The presentation includes stories from the battle front and home front that convey the tragedy of the Great War but have not since been told.

Rosalie Triolo is History Education lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University and Vice-President of the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Launch of Victorian Women Vote

Join the celebrations to mark 100 years of Victorian women's right to vote. Hosted by the Minister for Women's Affairs, Maxine Morand, MP and the Deputy Premier, Hon. Rob Hulls.

Hosted by Angela Pippos
See the Women's Circus in action
Enjoy the performances by the Australian Girls Choir
Jump on board the Museum Tram for information on the history of Victorian Women Vote.

Date: Tuesday 19 February
Time: 12.00 pm
Location: Federation Square, Melbourne

Victorian Women Vote

Friday, 1 February 2008

Locating History - Australian Historical Association Biennial Conference

Deadline for abstacts of papers extended until Friday 8 February. for additional information.

The Australian Historical Association will hold its 2008 Biennial Conference from 7 to 10 July, 2008.

AHA 2008 is being hosted by the University of Melbourne, with assistance from Australian Catholic University, Deakin University, La Trobe University and Monash University. All conference venues will be Parkville or central city based.

The Australian Historical Association, founded in 1973, is a national organisation of historians, academic, professional and other, working in all fields of history. Its members number around seven hundred, including universities, libraries and other affiliates.

The 2008 Conference theme is "Locating History". Participants are invited to respond to the broad range of resonances suggested by the theme of history and locality – to make sense of place in history, and to think geographically/spatially about the past.

For further information please contact:
Robert McArthur at