2011 History Lectures

30 July

Gough Whitlam and his Forgotten Governments

Jenny Hocking

How do you tell Gough William his grandfather was a criminal? Professor Hocking will explore this and other unknown aspects of Whitlam’s background, including his role in rebuilding the Labor Party in the post-Split years. The tumultuous years of the Whitlam government will be discussed, including his re-election after the almost forgotten 1974 double dissolution and the achievement of critical reforms against repeated obstruction.


13 Aug

Griffith Taylor: Visionary, Environmentalist, Explorer

Alison Bashford

Australian geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor (1880-1963) – who always insisted the Blue Mountains should be called the Blue Plateau – accompanied Robert Scott on the famous Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica. The year 2010 was the anniversary of Scott’s fateful journey, and in this talk Professor Bashford will explore Taylor’s part in the expedition.


27 Aug

Frederick D’Arcy: Surveyor, Explorer, Artist…  and Larrikin

Andy Macqueen

Colonial surveying history is normally told from the viewpoint of Major Mitchell and other surveyors general. Andy Macqueen will focus on an ‘ordinary’ surveyor. A promising young man with an impressive military heritage, D’Arcy arrived in 1828 and embarked on what became a disastrous surveying career and a tumultuous personal life in NSW, Port Phillip, Van Diemen’s Land and Queensland. What went wrong and why?


10 September – 2011 Vere Gordon Childe Lecture

Sir Percy Spender: Foreign Minister and Diplomat

David Lowe

Percy Spender was a spectacularly successful post-war Australian Foreign Minister and Ambassador, who charted new relationships with Asia (the Colombo Plan) and with the U.S. (ANZUS). Professor Lowe will address Spender’s reading of the changing environment in New York and Washington, his diplomatic style and sense of licence -themes that remain important for policy-makers today.


24 Sept

Savage or Civilised? Manners in Colonial Australia

Penny Russell

Snobs and social climbers, scandals large and small, colonial Australia was a confused social world where different people held different notions of how to behave. Opportunities for offence and misunderstanding were rife. Shocked by the customs of Indigenous Australians, the colonists were also alarmed by the savagery they sensed in white society. Professor Russell will reveal how manners increasingly marked the difference between savagery and civilisation, between vulgarity and refinement.


8 Oct

Allan MacPherson: Squatter, Laird and Parliamentarian

Stephen Foster

In his book A Private Empire, Professor Foster explores Britain’s imperial past through the experiences of a single Scottish family. The Macphersons pursued fortunes and careers in India, the West Indies and Australia, recording their lives in an extraordinary archive of letters, documents and diaries. In this talk, Professor Foster will focus on the ‘Australian Macphersons’, especially Allan (1818-1891), squatter, laird and perhaps the only member of the NSW parliament to assault a fellow member with a horsewhip.


22  October

Australians, Volume Two

Thomas Keneally
Many would be familiar with Australians: Origins to Eureka, the first of a three volume history of Australia by author Thomas Keneally. This is a new kind of history centred on the humanity of our national tale and the colourful nature of our unique character. In this lecture, Keneally will preview the second volume. By special arrangement, advance copies of Volume 2 will be available at the Forum.

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