Newsletter 1 July 2020

Editor: Jessica Lauren

President's News

Susan Arthure, holding her Wakefield Press Essay Prize
Susan Arthure, holding her Wakefield Press Essay Prize

Dear members,

As you will see in this newsletter, there is plenty of news to report as Federal and State Government restrictions on social gatherings and social distancing begin to lift. Our collecting institutions are now open for researchers (albeit under carefully monitored conditions) and libraries, museums and art galleries are now open to the public. While I am very grateful for staff at the SLSA and SRSA for digitising requested items during the lock down phase, there is nothing quite like going through original documents – to get that broader context, find records you didn’t know existed, and photograph relevant items on the spot. In short, it is great to be able to conduct archival research again!

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of joining guest presenter Keith Conlon and Michael Bollan of Wakefield Press to award the 2020 Wakefield Press South Australian History Essay Prize to Susan Arthure for her essay ‘Kapunda’s Irish Connections’. The judges were impressed with the high quality of this year’s submissions, but found Susan’s essay stood out as ‘an innovative example of multidisciplinary work, bringing together ‘archival’ history and practical archaeology’. Susan’s article was published by Wakefield Press last year in Irish South Australia: new histories and insights. The presentation was recorded and can be viewed through the our website (click on the ‘Whats on’ and then the ‘Wakefield Essay Prize’ tabs). Susan’s will be made available to our members through the website shortly.

On 19 June, Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a proposal to drastically increase the fees of History students and other students of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). According to this proposal, HASS students’ annual fee will increase from $6804 to $14,500 and the Commonwealth Government’s contribution will reduce from $6652 to $1100 per student place. In alignment with the History Councils of WA, NSW and Victoria, on behalf of the History Council of South Australia, I have emailed the Minister, the shadow Minister for Education and six cross-benchers. I urge all of our members to do the same, and to contact your local politicians. Please see the advocacy page on our website (go to ‘What’s on’, then ‘Advocacy) for further information on the proposal and details of suggested politicians to contact.

As pointed out in our media release, skills gained through studying HASS disciplines include critical and creative thinking, an ability to construct a logical and coherent argument, ethics, research skills and written and oral communication skills. As Australians grapple with climate change, the need to contextualise, understand and devise solutions for the uncertain future that confronts our own and successive generations is ever more apparent. And, as the Black Lives Matter movement has so poignantly shown, historical injustices continue to reverberate in the present; now is crucial time encourage, rather than discourage, the study of History. It seems to me that it is through understanding the past – with all its complexities and nuances – that genuine reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians’ will be enabled. On that note, I also urge concerned members to make a submission regarding the destruction of ancient Aboriginal heritage sites in the Pilbara region of WA by 31 July (for details see below).

Finally, advocacy against the premature introduction of the SA Government’s Planning and Development Code is ongoing – please read and support the work of Professor Warren Jones, Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance (see below).

Best wishes,


Members News

Churchill Fellowship interim report published
(Elspeth Grant, 28 June 2020)

Dear colleagues, supporters and stakeholders

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has now published an interim report for my Fellowship to revive learning about state and territory perspectives under our national History curriculum:  https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/fellows/detail/4468/Elspeth+Grant

I intend to follow up with many of you individually over the coming months.   The upcoming school holidays are a good time if you would like to meet sooner rather than later.  Your feedback is very welcome in the meanwhile!

I was fortunate to be able to finish my program in Thailand, Spain, the UK and Washington DC in February and March before the full effects of the pandemic hit.  I am even more fortunate that the Trust has generously committed to fund another trip to the US, so that I can resume the 20 days I lost.  I hope to return to Utah and California in April 2021.

The interim report captures my research to date but I will write an addendum once my study tour is completed in full. This will have more concrete conclusions and recommendations and should be published in the same location.  I will also continue to maintain my blog at https://elspethgrant.weebly.com/churchillblog

Thank you for the roles you have played in my Fellowship so far, and for your efforts in promoting learning about History and the Humanities in a year when it feels more important than ever.

State labour history conference 6/2/2021 
(Dr David Faber, 16 June 2020)

Conference planning is proceeding apace. Substantial sponsorship has been attracted, mainly from the labour movement. A number of distinguished presenters have already been engaged. An updated Call for Abstracts will be issued shortly, as soon as a final decision is made on venue options. The theme of the Conference will be Unity in Diversity: Labour in SA 1836 to today & beyond. Presentations will be presented in two streams and addressed in plain English to a mixed audience of scholars and activists. More news pending. Enquiries to (Dr) David Faber 0488 079 753 or [email protected]

Notes from Kimba Museum
(Pat Beinke, Kimba & Gawler Ranges Historical Society, 18 June)
What a trying year this has been to date, our museum was just getting back on track after a very hot and severe summer, then COVID-19 hit and turned everyone's lives upside down and scared everyone over seventy years of age, who were in fear of contracting the virus.

We had finished the tractor shed that we were lucky enough to get funding for through the History Trust of South Australia to help with the building, but due to the lockdown we had not been able to complete moving of the collection to their new location.  Now with some of the new restriction we have managed to put some of the machinery in there new location.
I have a small piece from a report that is going into the Kimba District Newspaper soon, also for our regional newspaper, but unfortunately they closed during the lockdown and I would not be surprised if our district will no longer have a local paper after this COVID restriction passes. This is very concerning for a lot of regional areas with their local newspapers.

Make history at home goes live
Dr. Susan Marsden has been recently (and currently) involved in two online history sessions.

Marsden Szwarcbord Foundation project: ‘Make history at home’, a free ‘how to do your own history’ series co-produced and presented by Susan Marsden and intern historian Sandra Kearney. We’ve been recording videos and posting photos and personal histories in May-June 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown and the gradual lifting of restrictions, when everyone is spending a lot of time at home, and can use that time happily and productively to arrange their records and photographs, and explore and share their own histories.

‘Make history at home’ is presented in five sessions in videos on YouTube: 
Session 1 - Start with yourself
Session 2 - Family Treasures

Related photos, memoirs and links are posted on the foundation's Facebook page and on Instagram at: #mszfMakeHistoryAtHome

You’re invited to add this hashtag to your own stories and pictures, as well as links to relevant history sites, and share them here and on the Facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about Make history at home or about the Marsden Szwarcbord Foundation, or make a tax deductible donation to the Foundation, please contact [email protected].

The webinar, South Australians living through pandemics & the value of their stories includes Dr Susan Marsden and Dr Tom Gara speaking on COVID-19 and the Spanish flu: how do the two pandemics compare?Co-hosted by History Council of South Australia and History Trust of SA, 9 May 2020.

This webinar is available through the History Council of South Australia's webinars page.

You can register (ie enter your name and email) and view the webinar. This will soon be uploaded to the History Trust of South Australia's Youtube channel as well.

Protect Our Heritage Alliance: Who is Running the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Agenda in South Australia?
A News Release from the Protect Our Heritage Alliance, 17 June 2020.
Available here (PDF).


Heritage SnAps 2020
The South Australian Heritage Council has recently launched this photo competition to help celebrate State, Maritime, and coastal heritage. Entries close midnight, 30 October 2020.
Further information here.

What to do with our statues and monuments?
With the Black Lives Matter protests, statues of some historical figures have become the centre of attention in the United States. Australia has its own statues of figures who embody a painful past of slavery, massacres, racism, and sexism. What are we to do with them?

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria has issued a policy statement titled "What to do with our statues and monuments?" It may be of interest to other Australian historical societies considering the issue.

Around the country

NSW History Week & Speaker connect
Registrations are open for History Week, organised by the History Council of New South Wales. Events will be online and in person, depending on COVID-19 public health orders. Only members of the History Council of NSW can register to host an event, but events are open to the public.
Further information here.

'Humanities is the H in Heart' Australian Women's History Network Roundtable
In response to the federal government's proposed cost increase to Humanities degrees, the Australian Women's History Network roundtable will share voices from the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
Further information here.

Petition: Protect the Arts, Humanities, the Social Sciences at Australian Universities
Started by concerned social scientists and humanities and arts academics regarding the proposed changes to university fees.
View further information and sign the petition here.

Parliamentary inquiry into destruction of Juukan Caves in Pilbara
A parliamentary inquiry is being held into the destruction of the Indigeous heritage sites at the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia.
Read more about the background of the inquiry here.
Information about making a submission here.

Calls for Papers

History of Education Review Special Issue: the history of knowledge and the history of education. Abstracts due 1 October 2020.
Full details here

International News

Webinar: Climate Change and Documentary Heritage: a call for action
on 12 June 2020, the International Council on Archives, Conseil International des monuments et des sites, and International Federation of Library Association and Institutions collaborated on a call to action regarding the preservation of collections against the threat of climate change. A recording of the webinar is now available on the ICA Youtube channel here.

Calls for Papers

‘One Empire, Many Colonies, Similar or Different Histories?’: Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Annual Conference Revised CFP. 9-12 December 2020 (online and in person). Extended: Abstracts due 31 July 2020.
Full details here (word docx download)


Bernadette Bean SA Records Management Service Excellence Award is for South Australian individuals, teams / groups, researchers, students, new professionals and volunteers whose outstanding service in records management deserves recognition. Applications due 8 July 2020.
Full details here.


Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies, Harvard University. Expressions of interest from persons wishing to be considered for appointment in the 2022-2023 academic year.
Full details here (pdf).

Australian Historical Studies Editor(s) Expression of Interest for the positions of editors of the journal for a three-year term, 2021–2023. EOIs due 31 July 2020.
Full details here (word docx download)