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*2016 Annual Lecture



 Dr Ian Coates from the National Museums of Australia  on the subject of 'The Encounters exhibition - the view from the inside'.

In late November 2015 the National Museum of Australia opened Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum. It was the culmination of a rich four-year long collaboration between the National Museum, the British Museum and people from 27 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. It included extensive research in London and on-the-ground work in communities from Tasmania to the Torres Strait and from Cairns to the Kimberley.

It resulted in an award-winning exhibition featured 150 Indigenous objects from the British Museum, all but one publicly displayed in Australia for the first time since their collection. More than 96,000 people visited the exhibition before it closed in March 2016.

In this lecture, Dr Ian Coates, Head of Collections Development at the National Museum and co-Lead Curator of Encounters, will recount some of the stories behind the making of the exhibition and its legacies for the future.

This lecture was presented in partnership with the National Museum of Australia.     Listen



*2015 Annual Lecture



Dr Rosalie Triolo from Monash University  on the subject of 'Our schools and the Great War'.

What did Australian students learn during the Great War about the British Empire, its Allies and enemies? What values and activities were expected of students and teachers at the time? How did school communities respond to the death and wounding of people they knew? What were some of the war’s short-term and long-term consequences for daily school life? Why did some teachers and older students enlist directly from schools, and what were common experiences of ‘teacher-soldiers’? This highly visual lecture offered rarely considered perspectives on Australian experiences of the Great War, including numerous examples of South Australia’s experience

Listen          View>  Powerpoint slides part 1  

                             Powerpoint slides part 2



*2012 AGM

Professor Eric Richards, the first South Australian Historian of the Year, addressed the History Council's 2012 AGM on Migration History, its origins and causes.

One of the main points he made was the mass migration started in the British Isles. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries about 90% of families left the countryside for the cities.  Then starting in the 1830s there was a mass migration from Britain and Ireland to overseas.


*2012 Annual lecture

    From Mutton to MasterChef: change and constancy in Australia's food culture  Prof Barbara Santich of the University of Adelaide, one of Australia's foremost authorities on food and foodways, delivered the seventh History Council of South Australia Annual Lecture.Held on 2 August 2012 at the Ann and Basil Hetzel lecture theatre, State Library of SA.


    What is the future for history in  South Australia : 2012 About Time History month program

    The History Council of South Australia presented a panel session on 24 May 2012 at the Ann & Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, State Library of South Australia ground floor.This panel session was part of the 2012 About Time History month program – South Australia's History Festival, which ran through the month of May. The panel discussion considered  major challenges and opportunities facing SA's history and heritage communities, including demographic profiles and succession planning, before responding to questions and comments from the audience.  

    Speakers: Peter Goers: presenter of the Evening Show on 891 ABC Adelaide Heidi Ing: Librarian Flinders University and HistorianPaul Sendziuk : Broadcaster and writer, and a university teacher, of South Australian history at Flinders UniversityModerator: Wilfrid Prest, President of the History Council

    There is also a brief report of the forum available to read 


    *2011 Annual Lecture


    South Australia and Australia Reflections on their histories

    As curtain-raiser to the State History Conference 2011, the HCSA is proud to present one of Australia's most distinguished and original historians, Dr John Hirst of La Trobe University, to deliver the Annual History Council lecture. 

    Born and educated in Adelaide, Dr Hirst's  groundbreaking publications include Adelaide and the Country 1870-1914, Convict Society and Its Enemies, and Sense and Nonsense in Australian History.


    *2011 About Time – South Australia's History Festival

    The historian's dilemma: moral arbiter and/or objective observer?

    The History Council of South Australia presented a panel session on 5 May 2011 at the Ann & Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, State Library of South Australia ground floor.This panel session was part of the 2011 About Time History month program – South Australia's History Festival, which ran through the month of May and marked the 175th anniversary of the foundation of South Australia.The panel discussion considered notions of historical responsibility, approaches to past injustices, and the role of the modern historian in examining and explicating past events for present and future generations.

    Speakers: John Bannon past-president of the History Council, former politician and premier, is the author of Supreme Federalist: the Political Life of Sir John DownerRosa Garcia is Education Manager at the Migration MuseumAlan Mayne a widely published social historian, is Head of School, David Unaipon College of Indigenous Research, University of South Australia Rebecca Richards an Anthropology graduate from the University of Adelaide, will shortly commence studies in Oxford as Australia's first Indigenous Rhodes Scholar Moderator: Wilfrid Prest, President of the History Council




    *2010 Annual Lecture


    Settler Societies

    The History Council of South Australia Annual Public Lecture 27 July 2010 at the Ann & Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, State Library of South Australia ground floor.

    Presenter: Professor Angela Woollacott Manning Clark Professor of History, Head, School of History The Australian National University

    The decades from the 1830s to the 1860s were a foundational period in Australian history, arguably at least as important as Federation. Convict transportation was brought to a staggered end, first in New South Wales and last in Western Australia. The numbers of free settlers rose dramatically, surging particularly with the 1850s gold rushes. Most colonies achieved Responsible Government: a dramatic shift from penal settlements to self-governing societies. Yet there is much that is little understood about how inhabitants of the Australian colonies perceived the growth of a free settler society from its convict origins, how 'Australians' understood their rapidly evolving place in a profoundly changing world.

    With particular reference to South Australia as a systematic colony of free settlers, this lecture will look at the growth of a settler society in Australia. It will consider settlers and residents' knowledge of and reactions to specific events around the British Empire, reactions to frontier conflicts in other colonies, and commentary on wars elsewhere. It will also consider gendered conceptions of the free settler, and ideas about what it meant to be a free 'white' settler in an empire based on racial hierarchies. Settlers' placing of the maturing Australian colonies in imperial and global context casts light on what the transition to self-government in Australia meant both to them and to others.







    *The History Council Banner
    Our new banner, designed by Alison Fort, seeks to represent something of the diverse historical themes, locations and periods in which members of the History Council are interested and involved. As the peak body for history in this state we represent a broad membership, including secondary and tertiary history teachers whose professional concerns embrace  history in the broadest sense.So while the selection of images has a strong SA bias, it is not restricted to South Australian subjects. Images were drawn mainly from South Australian collections, but also from interstate and overseas. We are most grateful to the various rights-holders for permission to reproduce these images.Download banner captions listDownload banner image*History Council Website ImagesEach main page of this website features a distinctive pictorial image of South Australian life. Most of the original photographs reproduced here date from the first half of the twentieth century. The one exception depicts a relatively new aspect of the rural landscape in a state committed to reducing its former reliance on energy generated by fossil fuels.We are most grateful to the State Library of South Australia, National Archives of  Australia and a private collector for permission to reproduce these images.Download website captions list


  • Caring for collections and How to Fund It

    Two workshop dates available in September and October 2018

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