Open Access and Professional Historians

By Yvonne Perkins The issue of open access has grown from a fringe movement led by a few mathematicians and scientists to an issue that is being debated in academia throughout the western world.  Governments are taking notice and the United Kingdom is in the process of seeing a significant change in the manner in … Read more

Open Government: resources for historians

More and more Government information is now available online. OpenGov NSW (, which is hosted by State Records NSW, provides free online access to information published by NSW Government agencies, including Annual Reports and open access information released under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). OpenGov NSW provides a simple and easily … Read more

Academic snobbery. Local historians need more support, says Ian Willis.

By Ian Willis Local studies have an important place in the history landscape in Australia. Local history is incredibly popular amongst thousands of amateur practitioners, yet only a relative handful of academic historians take an interest in it.  Both groups appear to have dug themselves into trenches on either side of a no-man’s land of … Read more

Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants National Oral History Project

A good crowd turned out at Sydney’s Mitchell Library on Saturday 23 March  to hear a morning of fascinating talks and discussion about the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants National Oral History Project, conducted by the National Library of Australia between 2009 and 2012.  The project was funded by the Australian Government through the … Read more

Researching the Lands Department Records

by Patricia Hale PHA NSW’s March CPD session on Researching the Lands Department Records was attended by a capacity audience of over 30 people. The purpose of the workshop was to provide researchers with the tools to locate information in the records of the NSW Lands Department held by State Records at Kingswood. The workshop … Read more

PHA CPD excursion to Newcastle 20-21 April 2013 – a preview

Until now it has been relatively easy to regard Newcastle as a place where heavy industry shaped the city’s history and the artistic and cultural heritage was much less important. Similarly, the achievements of Newcastle’s colonial era have been overshadowed by the harsh conditions of the penal colony and its isolation from Sydney. On Saturday … Read more


PHA NSW CPD February 2013 at Surry Hills Library (Photograph: Pauline Curby) About a dozen of us gathered at Surry Hills Library on Saturday 16 February 2013 to hear Kate Waters’ presentation on doing oral histories with Aboriginal people. Kate is a professional historian of long standing and has been a member of the PHA NSW, … Read more

PASSION PURPOSE MEANING – Arts Activism in Western Sydney: book launch

Western Sydney is the new black. It’s not just federal politicians who are discovering the dynamism of the communities that make up around half of Sydney’s total population. PHA NSW member Katherine Knight has been in the thick of cultural developments in the area for decades. This experience has culminated in the publication of her … Read more

PHA NSW members at the AHA conference

Members will have seen the call for papers for the 2013 AHA conference in Wollongong ( To help stimulate your ideas for a possible presentation, this month’s blog gives you an snapshot of what PHANSW members contributed last year in Adelaide. The featured image is courtesy of Rosemary Kerr. It was taken on the excursion … Read more

2012: the year of remembering

I write this blog from Indonesia. Reviewing the past year, poet and journalist Goenawan Mohamad called 2012 the year of remembering. The resonance with 1965 is deliberate. It harks back to what the Australian novelist Christopher Koch dubbed the year of living dangerously. Koch borrowed that term from Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, who was actually … Read more