Ian Willis

PHA Accreditation

Professional Members


PO Box 304 | Camden NSW | 2570

P:  02 4658 0193

E: iwillis804(at)gmail.com

Honorary Fellow, School of History and Politics, University of Wollongong.

Editorial Committee: Circa: The Journal of Professional Historians

Editor:  Newsletter of the Camden Historical Society Inc

Editor:  Camden History, Journal of the Camden Historical Society

Area of Expertise

Local studies; community history; place and sense of identity; local government; the country press; the Australian homefront; philanthropy and volunteering ; small museums; community partnerships; traditional trades.

Publications/Past Work


Townies, ex-urbanites and aesthetics, issues of identity on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe’, Australian Quarterly AQ, April-June 2012, pp20-25.

‘Academic snobbery: local historians need more support’, The Conversation, 4 April 2012. Online @ http://theconversation.edu.au/academic-snobbery-local-historians-need-more-support-5710 

‘Illawarra Mercury’,  in A Companion to the Australia Media. Ed. Bridget Griffen-Foley. Australian Scholarly Publishing. Melbourne. Forthcoming 2014.

‘Traditional Trades Training, A Story of Failure and Success’, The Australian TAFE Teacher, Vol 45/3, Spring 2011, pp. 10-12. Online @  http://www.aeufederal.org.au/Publications/TATT/Spr11p10-12.pdf

‘Just Keep Digging: An Introductory Workshop on Examining Sources in Local History’, History and Genealogy 2011 Australian and New Zealand, No 1, 2011, p238-240. 

‘Stories of Child Migration’, History Australia, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, Vol 8, No 1, April 2011, pp. 250-252.

‘Spring Farm’, Dictionary of Sydney (2010). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/spring_farm

‘Oran Park’, Dictionary of Sydney (2010). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/oran_park

‘Oran Park’, Sydney Journal, 3(1) December 2010, pp.44-51.. Online at http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/sydney_journal/article/view/1861/1953

‘Heritage: a dismal state of affairs’, Sydney Morning Herald Online, 16 April 2010. Online at http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/heritage-a-dismal-state-of-affairs-20100416-sjiy.html .

‘Whither Heritage, The Experience of the Outdoor Movie Theatre’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 81, Issue 6, Nov- Dec 2009, pp.35-39.

‘Camden, The Interwar Heritage of a Country Town’, Spirit of Progress, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2009, pp. 13-15.

‘Stories and Things: the role of the local historical society, Campbelltown, Camden and The Oaks’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 95, Pt 1, June 2009, pp. 18-37.

‘Democracy in Place: Parochial Politics and the 2008 Local Government Elections’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol 80, Issue 6, November-December 2008, pp. 4-9.

Camden’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/camden.

Elderslie’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008).  Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/elderslie

Mount Annan’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/mount_annan

Narellan’, Dictionary of Sydney  (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan

 Narellan Vale’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan_vale

‘Lost Interwar Motoring Heritage’,  AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol 80, Issue 4, July-August 2008, pp. 12-15.

‘A Night Out – Memories of the Gayline Drive-In Movie Theatre’, Phanfare, No. 229: March-April 2008, pp. 18-19. Online  http://www.phansw.org.au/restrict/PhanfareMarApril2008.pdf

‘Camden’, Sydney Journal, 1(1) March 2008, pp. 92-96. Online http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/sydney_journal/issue/view/42

‘Fifty Years of Local History, The Camden Historical Society, 1957-2007, An Address to the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Camden Historical Society, 12 July 2007’. AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 79, Issue 6, November-December 2007, pp.11-16.

‘Democracy in Action in Local Government: Camden, NSW’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 79, Issue 2, March-April 2007, pp. 17-21.

‘The Gentry and the Village, Camden, NSW, 1800-1939’, AQ, Australian Quarterly,  Vol. 78, Issue 4, July-August 2006, pp. 19-24.

 ‘Camden At War, Second World War, 1939-1945, A Brief Overview’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 1, January-February 2006, pp. 23-28.

 ‘The Member for Camden: Dr Elizabeth Kernohan’, AQ, Journal of Contemporary Analysis, Vol. 77, Issue 1, January-February 2005, pp. 21-25.

 'Wartime Volunteering in Camden', History Australia, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 2004, pp. 09-1 to 09-9. Online http://publications.epress.monash.edu/doi/abs/10.2104/ha040009

 'Camden's salvage campaign, 1939-1945', Journal of the Australian War Memorial, No. 38, April 2003. Online http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j38/salvage.htm

'The Role of Geography in TAFE NSW', Geography Bulletin, Autumn, 1997, pp. 43-47.

'Patriotism and Education in New South Wales, 1915-1930', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol. 80, Parts 1&2, 1994, pp. 74-90.


 The McAleer Story: a history of a Camden family, Camden: Camden Historical Society, 2009.

Conference Papers

  Keynote speaker, ‘Academic snobbery: local historians need more support’, Keynote presentation for the Beyond the Limits of Location, 10th Annual Conference of the Yass & District Historical Society Inc, St Clement’s Retreat & Conference Centre, Galong, NSW, 8-10 March 2013

‘Imaginings on Sydney’s edge, myth, mourning and memory in a fringe community’, paper for the From the Ground Up, People and Place in Sydney’s Past Conference, State Library of New South Wales, 23-24 August 2012.

‘Prayer, Patriotism and Place, volunteering, church committees and the New South Wales country Red Cross’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2012 Conference, Connections,  University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 9-13 July 2012.

‘Butts, cornices and pointing, a dismal history of malaise in traditional trades training in New South Wales’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2011 Regional Conference, History at the Edge, University of Tasmania, Launceston, 4-8 July 2011.

‘Cultural Heritage and Conservation, Some issues surrounding education and training’, paper for the Professional Historian’s Association (NSW) Conference, Islands of History, Norfolk Island, 18-25 July 2010.

‘”We gave it our all”, service, status and patriotism in the New South Wales country Red Cross’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2009 Regional Conference, Constructing the Past, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, 30 June-3 July 2009.

‘Community Partnerships: Are they all that they are cracked up to be?’, paper for the Museums Australia 2009 National Conference, Work in Progress, Newcastle Town Hall, Newcastle, 17-20 May 2009.

‘ Camden: the role of heritage in the making of place in a New South Wales country town’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2008 Biennial Conference, Locating History, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 7-10 July 2008.

‘Yearning, Longing and The Remaking of Camden’s Identity: the myths and reality of ‘a country town idyll’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2007 Regional Conference, Engaging Histories, University of New England, Armidale, 23-26 September 2007.

‘Fifty Years of Local History, Camden Historical Society, 1957-2007, paper for the Public History in the Public Domain, Professional Historians Association (NSW) Inc, 2007 Regional Conference in Canberra, Canberra, 7 July 2007.

‘The Effect of the Second World War on Australian Society: A Social History Approach’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2006 Biennial Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 3-7 July 2006.

'Wartime Volunteering in Rural Camden', paper for the Feast by the Murray: Australian Historical Association, Regional Conference, Mildura, 28 September-1 October 2003.

'World War Two and the Camden Women's Voluntary Services', paper for the  People and War Conference: Aspects of Military History, University of Wollongong, 16-18 July 2001.

 'World War Two and the Camden Women's Voluntary Services', paper for the War, Society, Culture: Approaches and Issues Symposium, University of Newcastle, 2 November 2001.

'Active Citizens and Loyal Patriots: The Role of Two Local Newspapers on the Australian Homefront, 1939-1945', paper for the Local Newspapers and Local Identities Conference of the History of the Book in Australia Project, Chiltern, Victoria, 1-3 October 1999.

'The Australian Red Cross, Wartime and A Small Country Community', paper for the Social Cohesion, Justice and Citizenship: The Role of the Voluntary Sector Conference, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, 3-5 July 1996.

Web: https://ianwillis.wordpress.com/