Andy Macqueen – Making incursions: a Frenchman goes exploring.

When: Sat 13th Jul 2024 4 pm (doors open 3.30pm)
Where: Blackheath Public School Hall
Entry: $10 Waged, $5 Unwaged
Online bookings here or at the door. Cash and cards accepted

The July Forum coincides with NAIDOC Week from the 7th to the 14th July, 2024, which celebrates and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The only serious official attempt to cross the Blue Mountains was by Ensign Francis Barrallier, a French refugee, in 1802. He failed, but left us with a wonderful account of his incursions into Gundungurra country. In doing so, he was one of the first Europeans in the colony – perhaps THE first – to record the notion of Aboriginal ownership of country. Barrallier had bright prospects in the colony but fell victim of the feuding between his fellow Rum Corps officers and Governor King. His talents were employed in West Indies instead. In speaking to his new book, “The Frenchman”, Andy Macqueen will argue that Barrallier’s French origin and associations influenced his undertakings and his fate in the colony, and will discuss whether his understanding of Aboriginal people and their rights differed from those of his English masters.

Andy Macqueen is a respected Blue Mountains historian, and a past member of the Blackheath History Forum committee. He is also a committed conservationist, and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work in that field. He has produced six history books and many articles including several peer-reviewed papers published by the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations. His topics include colonial exploration and first-contact history, surveying history and conservation history. His latest book, The Frenchman: Francis Barrallier, life and journeys 1773-1853, is a major overhaul of his 1993 book Blue Mountains to Bridgetown. It presents much new content, and fresh perspectives.

Graeme Davison

Listen, Our Ancestors! Family History and the Lure of the Deep Past

When: Saturday 8th June 4 pm (doors open 3.30pm)
Where: Blackheath Public School Hall
Entry: $10 Waged, $5 Unwaged
Online bookings here or at the door. Cash and cards accepted

Family history is the oldest kind of history and still the most popular. Thanks to the advent of DNA analysis and the digital revolution, thousands of ordinary people now pursue the pleasant sport of ancestor hunting. Why do they do it and what do they expect to find at the end of the trail? As a critical observer of how Australians use the past, Graeme Davison has long been interested in understanding the family history boom, but only in retirement did he research his own family history. In Lost Relations (2015) and My Grandfather’s Clock (2023) he reflects on the intersections between family history and national history and investigates such topics as the significance of heirlooms, the value of DNA and the digital archive, travelling the land and searching for the ‘deep past’. In the process, he also finds a different authorial voice, one that blends the critical methods of the historian and the search for personal identity.

Graeme Davison is Emeritus Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor of History at Monash University. He is best known for his writing on Australian urban and social history where his books include The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne (1978 and 2005), The Unforgiving Minute (1994), Car Wars (2005) and City Dreamers (2016).

Kate Fullagar

Bennelong & Phillip: A History Unravelled

Photo of Kate Fullagar and her new bookWhen: Saturday 11 May, 4PM (doors open 3.30pm)
Where: Blackheath Public School Hall
Entry: $10 Waged, $5 Unwaged
Online bookings here with a limited number of tickets available at the door.

Bennelong & Phillip:  A History Unravelled

Bennelong and Phillip were leaders of their two sides in the first encounters between Britain and Indigenous Australians, Phillip the colony’s first governor, and Bennelong the Yiyura leader. Fullagar’s new book gives an account of both men’s lives, and it challenges many misconceptions, among them that Bennelong became alienated from his people and that Phillip was a paragon of Enlightenment benevolence. To present this history afresh, Bennelong & Phillip relates events in reverse, moving beyond the limitations of typical Western ways of writing about the past, which have long privileged the coloniser over the colonised.
Kate Fullagar FAHA is professor of history at the Australian Catholic University. She is also co-editor of the Australian Historical Association’s journal, History Australia. Her most recent book is Bennelong & Phillip: A History Unravelled (Simon & Schuster, 2023). Kate specializes in the history of the eighteenth-century world, particularly the British Empire and the many Indigenous societies it encountered. She is the award–winning author of The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three Lives in an Age of Empire (New Haven, 2020) and The Savage Visit (Berkeley, 2012); the editor of The Atlantic World in the Antipodes: Effects and Transformations since the Eighteenth Century (Newcastle, 2012); and co-editor with Michael McDonnell of Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age (Baltimore, 2018).

Rachel Franks

Robert Howard: A Colony’s Noseless Hangman

When: Saturday 6 April, 4PM (doors open 3.30pm)
Where: Gardners Inn, Blackheath
Entry: $15
Robert Howard: A Colony’s Noseless Hangman

Robert Howard (1832–1906) used to be a household name. Today, the noseless hangman – better known as ‘Nosey Bob’ – who sparked fear and fascination everywhere he went is largely forgotten. In this forum, Rachel Franks will detail how the longest-serving executioner for New South Wales, is central to understanding changing attitudes towards capital punishment in Australia. Nosey Bob is a compelling figure in the story of Sydney. More importantly, he is a critical chapter in the history of how generally enthusiastic spectators at early executions were overtaken by campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty.

Dr Rachel Franks holds PhDs in Australian crime fiction from Central Queensland University and true crime texts from the University of Sydney. A qualified educator and librarian, her extensive work on crime fiction, true crime, popular culture and information science has been presented at numerous conferences as well as on radio and television. An award-winning writer, her research can be found in a wide variety of books, journals, magazines and online resources. She is the author of An Uncommon Hangman: The Life and Deaths of Robert ‘Nosey Bob’ Howard (NewSouth, 2022).

Pub talks – $15 (includes one drink), 4 pm Saturday, 6 April 2024. Book through Humanitix or pay at the door. Eftpos and cash are accepted.
Payment can be made at the door or you can book in advance online.

Enjoy interesting conversation along with good food and drink at Gardners Inn, Blackheath, the oldest continuously licensed hotel still trading in the Blue Mountains. After the talk stay for a meal at one of the best Pub Food locations in the area, their Beef & Guinness Pot Pie is a signature treat.

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