Dr Peter Hobbins

BA BSc Melbourne MMedicalHum PhD Sydney
Research Associate

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 3035
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

Website Phonebook Entry
The Quarantine Project: The Archaeology and History of Quarantine
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Biographical details

As a historian of science and medicine, my research to date has focused on the structures and projects of Australian natural history and biomedicine to 1945. I am currently completing my PhD on venomous animals in colonial Australia and New Zealand, particularly the role of vivisection as a means of negotiating which indigenous creatures were considered ‘dangerous’. In 2013 I joined the Department of History as a Research Associate for the ARC Linkage project ‘Archaeology and History of Quarantine’. This collaboration connects archaeological interpretation of the inscriptions made by people interned at Sydney’s former Quarantine Station with historical analysis of the individuals, diseases, vessels and voyages commemorated in the sandstone.

Research interests

  • Animals as historical actors
  • History of Australasian science and medicine
  • Intersections between quarantine and defence
  • Integration of archaeology and history

Teaching and supervision

HSTY6988 Contagion: History and Culture

Current projects

  • Venom and vivisection in the colonial antipodes, 1788–1914
  • My doctoral research focuses on the role of animals in the colonial antipodes, particularly the ways in which certain creatures – snakes, spiders, ticks and platypuses – were constructed as ‘dangerous’. My analytical core is the practice of vivisection, both as a nexus for contested claims to authority in reading the natural world, and as a means to trace the shifting historical value of particular animals.
  • Stories from the sandstone: archaeology and history of quarantine
  • Drawn from the inscriptions and structures at Sydney’s former Quarantine Station, my research explores the intersections between disease and defence. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which sites and artefacts – hospitals and bunkers, hulks and troopships – encode shifting notions of colonial, intercolonial and national autonomy.

Other professional contributions

Secretary, NSW Branch, Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine

Associate Editor, Health and History

Conference convening committee, Quarantine: History, Heritage, Place - Q Station, Sydney, Australia, 14-16 August 2014

Conference convening committee, Mission, Methods and Management, Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine Biennial National Conference – Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia, 30 June – 3 July 2015

Book Reviews

Hobbins, Peter, ‘Bacteriology in British India’ (book review), Health & History 16, no. 1 (2014): 122–4.

Hobbins, Peter, ‘A Medical Emergency: Major-General ‘Ginger’ Burston and the Army Medical Service in World War II’ (book review), Historical Records of Australian Science 24, no. 1 (2014): 113–14.

Selected publications & creative works

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Book Chapters

  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Imperial Science or the Republic of Poison Letters? Venomous Animals, Transnational Exchange and Colonial Identities. In Robert Aldrich, Kirsten McKenzie (Eds.), The Routledge History of Western Empires, (pp. 285-298). London: Routledge.
  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Invasion ontologies: Venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods. In Jodi Frawley and Iain McCalman (Eds.), Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities, (pp. 181-195). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Bashford, A., Hobbins, P. (2013). Science and medicine. In Alison Bashford, Stuart Macintyre (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Australia: Volume 2: The Commonwealth of Australia, (pp. 263-283). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Hair is your symptom. In Suzanne Boccalatte and Meredith Jones (Eds.), Trunk Vol. One: Hair, (pp. 3-5). Sydney, Australia: Boccalatte Pty Ltd.

Journals

  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Enigma, gift, commodity, curse. Metascience, 22, 399-403. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Juliet Flesch: 'Life's Logic: 150 Years of Physiology at the University of Melbourne'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 24(1), 160-161.
  • Hobbins, P., Forsyth, H. (2013). Mobilising medical knowledge for the nation, 1943-49. Health and History, 15(1), 59-79. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Ann Elias: 'Camouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 23(1), 78-80.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Mark Lewis: 'Cane Toads: an Unnatural History' and 'Cane Toads: the Conquest'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 23(1), 86-87.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Ashley Elkins and Elizabeth Stewart: 'War Wounds: Medicine and the Trauma of Conflict' and Kirsty Harris 'More Than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 22(2), 304-305.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Kevin Markwell and Nancy Cushing: 'Snake-bitten: EricWorrell and the Australian Reptile Park'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 22(1), 182-184.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). ‘Immunisation is as Popular as a Death Adder’: The Bundaberg Tragedy and the Politics of Medical Science in Interwar Australia. Social History of Medicine, 24(2), 426-444. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). "Outside the Institute there is a Desert": The Tenuous Trajectories of Medical Research in Interwar Australia. Medical History, 54(1), 1-28.
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). 'Immunisation is as Popular as a Death Adder': The Bundaberg Tragedy and the Politics of Medical Science in Interwar Australia. Social History of Medicine, 24(2), Page 1 of 20-Page 20 of 20. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P., Hillier, K. (2010). Isolated cases? The history and historiography of Australian Medical Research. Health and History, 12(2), 1-17.
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). Serpentine Science: Charles Kellaway and the Fluctuating Fortunes of Venom Research in Interwar Australia. Historical Records of Australian Science, 21(1), 1-34. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Melissa Larner, James Peto and Nadine Monem: 'War and Medicine'. Health and History, 11(1), 183-184.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Shattered Anzacs: Living With the Scars of War. Health and History, 11(2), 149-151.
  • Hobbins, P. (2007). 'Living in hell but still smiling': Australian Psychiatric Casualties of War during the Malaya-Singapore Campaign, 1941-42. Health and History, 9(1), 28-55.
  • Hobbins, P., Winkle, K. (2007). The forgotten successes and sacrifices of Charles Kellaway, director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, 1923–1944. Medical Journal of Australia, 187(11/12), 645-648.
  • Hobbins, P. (2006). A step towards more ethical prayer studies. American Heart Journal, 152(4), e33. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2005). Compromised Ethical Principles in Randomised Clinical Trials of Distant, Intercessory Prayer. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 2(3), 142-152.
  • Hobbins, P. (2005). Nicholas Agar Malden: 'Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement'. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 2(2), 106-108.

Edited Journals

  • Hobbins, P., Hillier, K. (2010). Isolated Cases? The History and Historiography of Australian Medical Research. Health and History, 12(2).

Conferences

  • Hobbins, P., Neff, C. (2012). Dangerous Animals: A history of snakes, spiders and sharks in Australia. Human Animal Research Network Seminar, Sydney, Australia: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Invasion ontologies: venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods. Rethinking Invasion Ecologies: Natures, Cultures and Societies in the age of the Anthropocene, Sydney, Australia: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Rewriting History. Australasian Medical Writers Association 28th Annual Conference, Sydney: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Snakes and ladders: professionalising medical research in Australia, 1920 - 1945. Royal Australasian College of Physicians Library Lecture Series, Sydney: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Vivisection in the pub: intersecting sensibilities towards dangerous and domestic animals in colonial Australia. History at the edge: Australian Historical Association Regional Conference, Australia: Australian Historical Association.
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). Taking nothing for granted: Australian medical science before the NHMRC. School of Medicine Research Colloquium, Sydney, Australia: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Snakes and the state: venom research at the frontier of federal funding for medical science. 11th Biennial Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine, Sydney: Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.
  • Hobbins, P. (2008). Charles Kellaway and the burgeoning of Australian medical research. Annual General Meeting of the NSW Society for the History of Medicine, Sydney.
  • Hobbins, P. (2008). Charles Kellaway, WEHI and Australian medical research between the world wars. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research lecture, Melbourne: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2008). The national interest: snake bites and the first Australian grants for medical research. Global Issues in Clinical Toxinology, Melbourne.

Textual Creative Works

  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Spectacular Serpents: Snakebite in Colonial Australia. Venom: Fear, Fascination and Discovery, (pp. 37 - 44). Melbourne, Australia: Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne.

Magazine / Newspaper Articles

  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Snake Germs and Professor Halford’s Webs. Chiron 2013.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Why don't we cuddle funnel-webs? The Conversation.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Snake Germs and Professor Halford’s Webs. University of Melbourne Archives Bulletin.

2014

  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Imperial Science or the Republic of Poison Letters? Venomous Animals, Transnational Exchange and Colonial Identities. In Robert Aldrich, Kirsten McKenzie (Eds.), The Routledge History of Western Empires, (pp. 285-298). London: Routledge.
  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Invasion ontologies: Venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods. In Jodi Frawley and Iain McCalman (Eds.), Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities, (pp. 181-195). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Hobbins, P. (2014). Snake Germs and Professor Halford’s Webs. Chiron 2013.

2013

  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Enigma, gift, commodity, curse. Metascience, 22, 399-403. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Juliet Flesch: 'Life's Logic: 150 Years of Physiology at the University of Melbourne'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 24(1), 160-161.
  • Hobbins, P., Forsyth, H. (2013). Mobilising medical knowledge for the nation, 1943-49. Health and History, 15(1), 59-79. [More Information]
  • Bashford, A., Hobbins, P. (2013). Science and medicine. In Alison Bashford, Stuart Macintyre (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Australia: Volume 2: The Commonwealth of Australia, (pp. 263-283). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hobbins, P. (2013). Spectacular Serpents: Snakebite in Colonial Australia. Venom: Fear, Fascination and Discovery, (pp. 37 - 44). Melbourne, Australia: Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne.

2012

  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Ann Elias: 'Camouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 23(1), 78-80.
  • Hobbins, P., Neff, C. (2012). Dangerous Animals: A history of snakes, spiders and sharks in Australia. Human Animal Research Network Seminar, Sydney, Australia: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Invasion ontologies: venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods. Rethinking Invasion Ecologies: Natures, Cultures and Societies in the age of the Anthropocene, Sydney, Australia: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Mark Lewis: 'Cane Toads: an Unnatural History' and 'Cane Toads: the Conquest'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 23(1), 86-87.
  • Hobbins, P. (2012). Why don't we cuddle funnel-webs? The Conversation.

2011

  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Ashley Elkins and Elizabeth Stewart: 'War Wounds: Medicine and the Trauma of Conflict' and Kirsty Harris 'More Than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army Nurses at Work in World War I'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 22(2), 304-305.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Kevin Markwell and Nancy Cushing: 'Snake-bitten: EricWorrell and the Australian Reptile Park'. Historical Records of Australian Science, 22(1), 182-184.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Rewriting History. Australasian Medical Writers Association 28th Annual Conference, Sydney: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Snake Germs and Professor Halford’s Webs. University of Melbourne Archives Bulletin.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Snakes and ladders: professionalising medical research in Australia, 1920 - 1945. Royal Australasian College of Physicians Library Lecture Series, Sydney: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). Vivisection in the pub: intersecting sensibilities towards dangerous and domestic animals in colonial Australia. History at the edge: Australian Historical Association Regional Conference, Australia: Australian Historical Association.
  • Hobbins, P. (2011). ‘Immunisation is as Popular as a Death Adder’: The Bundaberg Tragedy and the Politics of Medical Science in Interwar Australia. Social History of Medicine, 24(2), 426-444. [More Information]

2010

  • Hobbins, P. (2010). "Outside the Institute there is a Desert": The Tenuous Trajectories of Medical Research in Interwar Australia. Medical History, 54(1), 1-28.
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). 'Immunisation is as Popular as a Death Adder': The Bundaberg Tragedy and the Politics of Medical Science in Interwar Australia. Social History of Medicine, 24(2), Page 1 of 20-Page 20 of 20. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P., Hillier, K. (2010). Isolated Cases? The History and Historiography of Australian Medical Research. Health and History, 12(2).
  • Hobbins, P., Hillier, K. (2010). Isolated cases? The history and historiography of Australian Medical Research. Health and History, 12(2), 1-17.
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). Serpentine Science: Charles Kellaway and the Fluctuating Fortunes of Venom Research in Interwar Australia. Historical Records of Australian Science, 21(1), 1-34. [More Information]
  • Hobbins, P. (2010). Taking nothing for granted: Australian medical science before the NHMRC. School of Medicine Research Colloquium, Sydney, Australia: N/A.

2009

  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Hair is your symptom. In Suzanne Boccalatte and Meredith Jones (Eds.), Trunk Vol. One: Hair, (pp. 3-5). Sydney, Australia: Boccalatte Pty Ltd.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Melissa Larner, James Peto and Nadine Monem: 'War and Medicine'. Health and History, 11(1), 183-184.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Shattered Anzacs: Living With the Scars of War. Health and History, 11(2), 149-151.
  • Hobbins, P. (2009). Snakes and the state: venom research at the frontier of federal funding for medical science. 11th Biennial Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine, Sydney: Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine.

2008

  • Hobbins, P. (2008). Charles Kellaway and the burgeoning of Australian medical research. Annual General Meeting of the NSW Society for the History of Medicine, Sydney.
  • Hobbins, P. (2008). Charles Kellaway, WEHI and Australian medical research between the world wars. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research lecture, Melbourne: N/A.
  • Hobbins, P. (2008). The national interest: snake bites and the first Australian grants for medical research. Global Issues in Clinical Toxinology, Melbourne.

2007

  • Hobbins, P. (2007). 'Living in hell but still smiling': Australian Psychiatric Casualties of War during the Malaya-Singapore Campaign, 1941-42. Health and History, 9(1), 28-55.
  • Hobbins, P., Winkle, K. (2007). The forgotten successes and sacrifices of Charles Kellaway, director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, 1923–1944. Medical Journal of Australia, 187(11/12), 645-648.

2006

  • Hobbins, P. (2006). A step towards more ethical prayer studies. American Heart Journal, 152(4), e33. [More Information]

2005

  • Hobbins, P. (2005). Compromised Ethical Principles in Randomised Clinical Trials of Distant, Intercessory Prayer. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 2(3), 142-152.
  • Hobbins, P. (2005). Nicholas Agar Malden: 'Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement'. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 2(2), 106-108.

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