Bruce Baskerville

PHA Accreditation

Professional Members


Dr Bruce Baskerville is an independent public historian who graduated with the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney in May 2017.

Before returning to study, Bruce was the Site Manager of the Kingston & Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, and before that a Senior Heritage Officer with the NSW Heritage Office at Parramatta. He previously worked in private practice with heritage practitioners, notably Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners of Sydney. While KAVHA Site Manager he was principle advocate for the 275 hectare site, and for Old Government House and Domain in Parramatta, being inscribed in 2010 on the World Heritage List as components of the eleven Australian Convict Sites. Bruce is currently a consultant working on heritage conservation management planning in The Rocks Precinct of Sydney for Place Management NSW (formerly Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority).

Bruce is or has been involved in the management of the Royal Australian Historical Society Council (Councillor), the Professional Historians' Association in NSW & ACT Management Committee (Secretary, Treasurer, President, Chair), History Council of NSW Management Committee (Treasurer, Councillor), and The Australian Heraldry Society Management Committee (Deputy President, President and Editor).

Bruce was a judge for the NSW Premier's History Prize in 2000 and for the National Trust Heritage Awards in 2008, awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2002, and was elected a Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies in 2011.

Current research and interests

Bruce’s research interests lie in the ways old institutions, such as crowns, common lands and cultural traditions, are transported, adapted, re-formed and re-imagined in new realms, especially in settler societies.

He is interested in vice-regal history, heraldry, symbols of identity, toponymic history, family history, common lands history, reading landscapes, cultural cleansing at heritage sites, ruins, forced migration and convict history, Gay history, counterfactual history, creative writing and science fiction.

Bruce was awarded a Royal Australian Historical Society Certificate of Merit in 1996, a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2002, and was elected a Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies in 2011.

Area of Expertise

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests



Publications/Past Work


HistoryMatrix history research and articles

SepiaGreen reviews of books and other history-related productions

mrbbaskerville personal commentary on historical and current affairs





(2017) Doctoral thesis, The Chrysalid Crown: An un-national history of the Crown in Australia, Department of History, University of Sydney

(1992) Honours dissertation, Creating Arcadia?: a history of nature conservation in colonial Western Australia 1870-1914, Department of History, University of Western Australia.

Selected Publications 

(2017, forthcoming) Biographies of selected NSW vicereines, in Carol Liston and Christine Wright (eds), Governors Wives and Companions, publication details forthcoming

(2016) ‘So Brave Etruria Grew: Dividing the Crown in Early Colonial New South Wales, 1808-1810’, in Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery (eds), Crowns and Colonies: European Monarchies and Overseas Empires, Manchester University Press, Manchester 2016

(2014-2017) selected Conservation Management Plans and heritage studies (part or whole document, for SHFA/Place Management NSW):

• Housing Board Building, Grosvenor Street, Church Hill (editorial)

• Greenway Lane Public Domain, The Rocks

• Foundation Park, Gloucester Walk, The Rocks (editorial)

• Old Pyrmont Cottages, Cross & Scott Streets, Pyrmont

• View Terrace, Gloucester, Cambridge & Cumberland Streets, The Rocks

• North of Charlotte Square Terrace and Archaeological Site, Cumberland Street, The Rocks (in progress)

• The Rocks Precinct Heritage Conservation Management Plan Review (in progress)

(2013) Sydney Green Plaques: Inscriptions, Forms, Locations, Histories and Policies, unpublished report, with two appendices, City of Sydney

(2011) ‘The Seven Bridges of Kingston’, YourWorld Inflight Onshore Magazine, Issue 4, October-December, Norfolk Air: 21-25

(2011) ‘Treasures of the State Rooms: Inside Norfolk Island’s Government House’, History Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society, No 109, September 2011: 13-15

(2010) ‘Coat of Arms’, in Symbols of Australian Identity: uncovering the stories behind the myths, editors Melissa Harper and Richard White, UNSW Press: Sydney 2010, 107-114

(2010) ‘Kingston: an early colonial town in the South Pacific’, History Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society, No 109, September 2011: 7-9

(2007) ‘'Old Government House Parramatta: a key link in Australia's convict history', National Trust Magazine, National Trust of Australia (NSW), Sydney, Spring 2007: 11-13

(2006) How Brightly You Shine: an online exhibition commemorating the centenary of the NSW Coat of Arms, Curator, NSW Heritage Office website.

(1999) 'Agreed to Without Debate: silencing sodomy in colonial Western Australia 1870-1905’, in Aldrich, R., & Wotherspoon, G., Gay and Lesbian Perspectives IV: studies in Australian Culture, Department of Economic History & Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research, University of Sydney: 95-115.

(1997-1998) selected Conservation Management Plans and heritage studies (whole document, including historical research and analysis):

• St. Vincent's Presbytery, Ashfield,

• Cremorne Hall, Cremorne,

• Manly Pier, Manly Cove,

• St. Patrick's Estate, Manly,

• Brigidine Convent, Randwick,

• Woolwich Defence Land & Docks, Woolwich,

• Pier One, Walsh Bay, Sydney

• Public Trustee's Office Building, Sydney,

• ASN Hotel, The Rocks,

• War Veterans Retirement Village, Collaroy Plateau,

• Newtown Courthouse, Newtown,

• Brisbane GPO, Brisbane.

(1996-1997) selected Conservation Management Plans and heritage studies (historical research and analysis only):

• Pyrmont & Murray Street Terraces, Pyrmont,

• Water Board Meter Shop, Surry Hills,

• ES&A Bank Chamber, The Rocks,

• The Mining Museum, The Rocks

• Harrington Park house and estate, Narellan

• Surry Hills Academy, Surry Hills,

• Helena Villa, Balmain,

• Banbury Cottage, Rockdale,

• The Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney

• Kayuga village and locality, Muswellbrook Shire,

• The Scottish Hospital, Paddington,

• Willandra House, Ryde.

(1995) 'The Problem Lies in the Reserves: Towards a History of "Political Ecology" in Southern Africa’, Journal of Natal and Zulu History, No. 15, 1995: 65-91

(1995) 'The Commons of Colonial New South Wales', in Knowing Places, Understanding Spaces: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the RAHS with Affiliated Societies at Ultimo, Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney: 58-63.