Sunday, 1 November 2009

Centenary Garden Party in Edwardian Style

Date: Sunday 29 November 2009
Location: Imaretta, Merricks (directions available when booking)
Cost: $35 members or $45 non-members [charabanc party]
$20 members or $30 non-members [private motor]

Weston and Janice Bate are hosts for a stylish garden party and luncheon at Imaretta, Merricks, to round off the centenary year of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Friends are most welcome. A touch of 1909 dress in hats, parasols, floral buttonholes, light colours, etc is recommended for the occasion.

A motor charabanc will leave Frankston Railway Station carpark at 10.30 am with an experienced guide to alert passengers to the pioneers of the spectacular peninsula. It will return to Frankston in time for the 3.52 train to Melbourne. Best morning train departs Flinders Street at 8.58 arriving at Frankston an hour later. Parking for private motors is available at Frankston for those not wishing to take the train.

For those unable to to join the charabanc party, parking is available in Imaretta's spacious cow paddock. Directions will be available on booking. Please ask the chauffeur to arrange arrival from 11 am, and to pack folding chairs.

Bookings essential by Thursday 26 November. Please indicate any special dietary requirements.
Phone: 9326 9288

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

History Council of Victoria - Annual Lecture

Date: Thursday 5 November 2009
Where: State Library of Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette, La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Time: 6pm
Cost: $15 ($10 concession)

Martin Flanagan: A Tasmanian in Victoria
Martin Flanagan and Paul Bateman in conversation

Tasmania and Victoria: two different states; two different histories; two very different psyches.

For more information go to the History Council of Victoria website.

RSVP: Dimity Mapstone: or 8341 7344

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Restoring history to the school curriculum - A History Week Event

Speaker: Professor Stuart Macintyre
Place: RHSV, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Date: Tuesday 27 October
Time: 5.15 pm tea / coffee Lecture 5.45 pm
Cost: Members free - Nonmembers $5.50

History is one of the first four subjects to be developed in the national curriculum being established by the Commonwealth and State governments. This exercise will establish history as a distinct subject from the earliest years of schooling to Year 12.

In the lecture Professor Macintyre will report on the extensive consultations, outline the likely curriculum and discuss its implications.

At present history is not taight systematically in Australian schools. Probably less than half of all students learn history in the compulsory years of schooling and far fewer in Years 11 & 12. The curriculum being developed uses a world approach and how Australian history can be taught through such an approach will be discussed.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

RHSV Lecture - Les Chandler of Cardross

Speaker: Mary Chandler
Where: RHSV 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Date: Tuesday 8 September 2009
Time: 5.15 tea/coffe 5.45 Lecture
Cost: Members free Non-members $5.50

Les Chandler was born in 1888 and spent his early life at at The Basin. Later he trained as a jeweller in Melbourne and joined the Bird Observers' Club around 1907/8, the Royal Ornothologists' Union in 1910, the Victorian Field Naturalists' Club shortly after this and co-founded the Sunraysia Field Naturalists' Club in 1949 and was an original member and part founder of the Mildura Historical Society.

He was one of Australia's first bird photographers and made the rings as well as carrying out the first bird banding in this country.

After the First World War, Les spent several weeks exploring the Kulkyne area and became a friend of the last surviving member of the Kulkyne tribe, Mary Woorlong. In 1921 he returned to Red Cliffs and joined the Nursery Camp before taking up Block 406. He worked there until his retirement to Red Cliffs township 35 years later. He was a prolific writer and photographer of nature and had his work exhibited throughout the world. He won many prizes including the Kodak medallion for achievement in photography.

As early as the 1930s he was trying to have the Hattah Lakes declared a national park and he worked tirelessly with others to that end until part of the area was declared a park in 1960. Just prior to his death in 1979, he was to see another long-life ambition realised - the rest of the lakes system and the Kulkyne Forest proclaimed the Huttah Kulkyne National Park.

The talk will conclude with a DVD about the early Chandlers, World War I and early Red Cliffs to today.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Melbourne Day Lecture - Reconstructing the natural history of Melbourne

Speaker: Dr Gary Presland
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Monday 31 August
Tea / coffee 12.30 - Lecture 1.00pm
Members Free - Non members $5.50

Melbourne is built upon a variety of geological formations ranging in age from more than 400 million years to as little as 5,000 years. It is difficult now to appreciate this diversity of urban setting, which is unusual in itself, but it is even more difficult to recognise that these features have had enduring impacts on the history of this city. The natural landscapes of the Melbourne area have in fact played a dominant role in the siting and subsequent development of this city. In the process of turning John Batman's place for a village into the vastly different place we see today, much about the original environment has been lost.

However it is still possible to see how the city we have built owes something to local natural features. Gary Presland will explain how he went about reconstructing the physical environments encountered by the original white settlers in this area. He will demonstrate how Melbourne was shaped by its natural setting.

Lecture - 100 years of the Bureau of Meteorology

Speaker: Dr David Day
Where: Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street, Melbourne
Thursday 27 August
Members $20 - Non members $25

Bookings essential - 9326 9288

A joint Royal Historical Society of Victoria / Royal Society of Victoria Lecture

For decades meteorologists were derided by cartoonists for getting their forecasts wrong. It was not just the comfort of Australians at stake, it was also their livelihoods and sometimes even their lives. Floods, bushfires and cyclones all took their toll, while pilots and their passengers regularly risked their lives in absence of timely storm warnings.

For most of the twentieth century meteorologists did not dare to make seasonal predictions. That has now changed. Meteorologists now make confident predictions about the weather for the coming week whle climatologists now make hesitant predictions for the coming seasons. The climate records collected over the past century have become a vital tool in assessing the pace and direction of climate change. David Day discusses these and other issues in his talk.

RHSV Lectures - New Historians Evening

Speakers: Dr Marina Larsson and Dr Adrian Threlfall
Where: RHSV 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Tuesday 11 August
Tea / coffee 5.15 Lecture 5.45
Members & students Free - Non members $5.50

Shattered Anzacs: Living with the scars of war is the title of the talk, based on her book of the same title, by Marina Larsson. The book documents the story of thousands of Australian families who welcomed home soldiers disabled by the First World War. Her talk will provide a poignant account of the lasting impact of the physical injury and shell shock upon returned soldiers, and explores the profound consequences of disablement for their kin.

WWII troops response the shift from desert to jungle training is the topic of Adrian Threfall's talk. A complete transformation of Australian Army's doctrine and training was necessary if a successful transition from combat in the vast featureless wastes of the Western Desert to the oppressive and claustrophobic tropical jungle of the South West Pacific Islands was to occur. How did this transition occur? How did the Australian Army transform itself into one of the most professional, experienced and highly trained forces in jungle warfare?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

RHSV Lecture - Professor David Danks

Speaker: Dr Carolyn Rasmussen
Date: Tuesday 14 July 2009
Place: RHSV, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 5.15 (tea & Coffee) 5.45 (lecture)
Cost: Members free $5.50 Non Members

Professor David Danks - 'the father of clinical genetics in Australia' and founder of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Professor David Danks was the well loved and highly respected pediatrician who was a pioneer in human genetic research in Australia.

He was one of the team who in 1993 discovered the cause of Menkes Syndrome - a disease that affects one in 50,000 children; but he is principally remembered for having established Victoria's first genetics health service, known today as the Murdoch Childrens' Research Institute.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

RHSV Lecture - Well Rowed University

Speaker: Dr Judith Buckrich
Where: RHSV
When: Thursday 25 June
Time: tea/coffee 12.30 pm lecture 1.00 pm
Cost: Members free - Non members $5.50

Judith Buckrich will speak about her latest book, Well Rowed University: Melbourne University Boat Club - the First 150 Years. Her book is the story of Melbourne and its society, of the University of Melbourne and of the Yarra River. Since the early 1900s MUBC has given Australia many world and Olympic champions.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

AGL Shaw Lecture - Crime in Port Phillip 1835-1851

This is a combined lecture with the C J La Trobe Society

Speaker: His Honour Paul Mullaly
Date: Tuesday 9 June
Time: 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm (Lecture at 6.45 pm)
Place: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Cost: $20.00
Bookings essential 9326 9288

In his talk His Honour will use some of the crimes committed in the Port Phillip District between 1835 and 1851 to illustrate what was happening in the developing community of that time and how the authorities and legal system coped with those crimes. This will involve some discussion of the reaction of those involved either as victims, criminals or witnesses. The background of those convicted, the sentences imposed and the level of remission of such sentences will also be discussed.

His Honour will talk about the relations between the Aborigines and the white community, particularly where it was alleged that the actions of one group or the other amounted to criminal activity and how the relevant authorities dealt with the criminal activity.

Friday, 15 May 2009

RHSV Annual report

The 99th Annual Report of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria can be downloaded from the RHSV website -

The direct link to the online copy of the report is

RHSV Lunchtime Lecture - William Josiah Hammersley

William Josiah Hammersley: Australia's best known sportsman of the mid nineteenth century

Speaker: Gillian Hibbins
When: Thursday 21 May
Where: Royal Historical Society, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 12.30 pm Tea/coffee 1.00 pm Lecture
Cost: Members - free; Non-members - $5.50

William Hammersley, sporting journalist and 1857 Victorian cricket eleven captain, was a colonial mover and shaker in the 1850s to the 1880s. Generally supporting all the 'manly' sports, Hammersley helped to codify Australian Rules Football, pushed the Albert Park Lagoon as a site for rowing and yachting, first used the term 'test match', advocated the introduction of the totalisator, started the athletics races with his pistol, encouraged the introduction of the Maribyrnong Plate, moved to get the first fence erected around the MCG, and used much ink trying to make horse racing honest and to prevent the professionalism of Australian cricket.

Gillian has published Sport and Racing in Colonial Melbourne which covers the start of many of our sports.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

RHSV Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria will be held on Tuesday 12 May at the RHSV at 5.00pm. For further information see the April issue of History News.

The AGM will be followed by a lecture on A remarkable woman: Jessie Stobo Webb (1880 - 1944) presented by Professor Ron Ridley.

RHSV Lecture - A remarkable woman: Jessie Stobo Watson Webb (1880-1944)

Speaker: Professor Ron Ridley
When: Tuesday 12 May
Where: RHSV, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: 5.45 pm following the AGM
Cost: Members free - Non-members $5.50

Jessie Webb was one of the leading women of the second generation at the University of Melbourne. She lectured in Ancient History from 1908. She travelled widely, first to Africa and Greece in 1923 and then to the Middle East in the 1930s. Jessie Webb also played a leading role in public life as a member of the Women's Graduate Association, the Lyceum Club, the Women's College, RHSV as well as being an Australian delegate to the League of Nations in 1923.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

History Week

History Week 2009 will be held from Sunday 25th October until Sunday 1st November. More details as they become available.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

RHSV Lecture - A Fiesty View of the Twentieth Century

Speaker: Marion Poynter
Place: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
When: Tuesday 14 April
Time: 5.15pm (tea or coffee) for 5.45 pm lecture
Cost: Members free - Non-members $5.50

The extensive collection of letters and other writings that were left when Melbourne born Valentine Leeper died in 2001, at the age of 101, are of particular interest in providing a unique perspective on the world, national and local events that shaped the twentieth century, through the eyes of an acute and articulate observer. They form the basis of a recently published book on her life and times written by Marion Poynter - Nobody's Valentine: letters in the life of Valentine Leeper, 1900 to 2001.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

RHSV Lunchtime Lecture - First plantings in the Garden State

Speaker: Valda Cole
Date: Thursday 26 March 2009
Place: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Time: Coffee / tea 12.30; Lecture 1.00pm
Cost: members free; non-members $5.50

This year marks the arrival of Edward Henty in Victoria in 1834 and the continuity of 175 years of agricultural pursuits with his plantings of fruit trees and vegetable seeds for sustenance. By following the paths of exploration this talk will look at the simple work of tilling and planting by early explorers and settlers. When gazing over Melbourne's skyline today we are reminded that botanists, horticulturalists and nurserymen shaped much of its beauty. Many of those people, known simply as gardeners brought accomplishments to the new settlement that had been gained in their homelands.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Lecture - Introduction of the Modern style into Melbourne

Date - 10 March 2009

Place - Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne

Time - 5.15 (tea/coffee) Lecture 5.45

Cost - Members free Non-members $5.50

As Melbourne celebrated its Centenary and began to emerge from the Depression, the city was transformed into a major centre of Art Deco (or Moderne) styling. Robin Grow, President of the Art Deco & Modernism Society will talk about how the transformation of Melbourne came about in a decade that began with a Depression and ended with a World War.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Event Name: RHSV Lecture - History can be hidden, forgotten, resisted. It is a site of both remembrance & forgetfulness.

 Price: Free (members) $5.50 (non members)
Time: 5.15 (tea & coffee) 5.45 Lecture
Date: 10 February 2009

Address: Royal Historical Society of Victoria,
239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne
Phone: 93269288

Institutional archives are the storehouses for salvaged
fragments of the colonial past and provide the material
from which history is written. The document, the text
and more recently the image - particularly the photographic
image - enable new perspectives to be given as well as the
retrieval of pasts that may have been forgotten or omitted
from dominant narratives. While traditionally the preserve of
the historian or the researcher, in recent years a growing
number of artists have been lured to the archive attracted by
its potential to trouble the knowledges and understandings
that continue to circulate in wider Australia today.

The experience of colonialism and government assimilation
policies for many Aboriginal Australians was underpinned by
intrusive, sometimes punitive measures, aimed at eradicating
Indigenous cultural traditions understood by many Europeans as
primitive and out of place in the burgeoning modernity of the
new nation. This severed an ongoing relationship with culture
for many Aboriginal Australians, indelibly altering the nature
of that connection for others. Remnants of the past,preserved
in the form of photographs, documents and material culture,
locked away in archives and museum collections, are now being
used to facilitate a reengagement with culture by artists and
other community members. Thus collecting institutions,
can be both a site of loss and a 'treasure box' to be mined
- inherently ambivalentspaces for many First Australians today.

In this lecture Wendy will discuss the photographic work of a
number of artists who re-use archival photographs to bring to
light new perspectives and little known
histories about Victoria's Indigenous pasts.

Wendy Garden is a doctoral candidate at the University of
Melbourne in the School of Historical Studies. In 2004 she
completed a Masters of Arts which focused on photographs of
Indian elites and British colonials during the high imperialist
period of the British Raj. Her current project entitled
Re-membering the archive:nineteenth century photography and
contemporary practice analyses recent work by a number of
Australian artists who engage with the photographic archive
to interrogate settler representations of Aboriginality.

In addition to research in Australian archives Wendy has
carried out research in a variety of photographic archives
in India and the United Kingdom including the Maharaja Sawai
Man Singh 11 Museum in Jaipur and more recently the Pitts Rivers
Museum, University of Oxford and the Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

Wendy Garden was Curator at the Royal Historical Society
of Victoria, 1999-2003 and has been the Art Curator for
Banyule City Council since 2002