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Workshop and Symposia


  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. An organisational history of NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
    19th May 2017 Rm 5040, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)

    Presenter: Dr Martha Knox-Haly
    Psychologist, researcher and author.

    Abstract: NSW ICAC has been in existence since 1988, and was the result of an electoral promise to provide clean and efficient government in NSW. This paper is an historical examination of ICAC’s work and government response over the previous 29 years of ICAC’s operations. There is analysis of where the ICAC has been supported, and where its recommendations have not been accepted. Two notable conclusions are that minority government supported with the assistance of independent MPs provided the strongest environment for democratic and electoral reform; and that the first year of corruption investigations revealed themes that continued to dominate NSW Government twenty-nine years later. These themes included soft influence peddling, lobbyists access to ministers, lack of transparency in electoral donations and vulnerability of the procurement and licensing systems to corruption.

    Biography: Dr Knox-Haly is an organisational psychologist and author of the books “Workplace Stress versus Outcomes”, "How to stop your workplace going pearshaped"; as well as a comparison of organizational governance between Australia and Italy, recently published through the University of Florence. Dr Knox-Haly's writing and practice is based on more than twenty-years experience as a practitioner and researcher in managing, assessing and understanding the relationships between organizational systems, workplace culture and psychological risk management across transport, insurance and not for profit organisations. Her particular interests are cross cultural comparison of organizational governance, organizational psychological risk and mental health in the workplace. Dr Knox-Haly works closely with executives, middle management and employees in building positive, performance oriented and inclusive organisations.

  • Association of Academic Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools (AAHANZBS) 9th Annual Conference 2017
    9th Nov 2017 University of Sydney Business School

    Why History?: The Business and Labour History Group (BLHG) of University of Sydney Business School, Australia, will be hosting the 9th Annual Conference of AAHANZBS on 9-10 November 2017.

    The highlights include a plenary address from Professor Chris Howell and sessions that cover a range of issues including work and employment history, co-operatives and mutuals, and business history and architecture.

    Plenary speaker: Professor Chris Howell, Oberlin College

    AAHANZBS 2017 Program

    Abstracts and papers

    Date: Thursday 9 and Friday 10 November 2017
    Time: 9.00am -  5.00pm
    Venue: Room  2080 Level 2
    The Abercrombie Building (H70)
    The University of Sydney Business School
    Cost: (All registrations include morning tea, afternoon tea  and lunch)
    Full Rate (General  Public/Academics)- $120 
    Concession (Student, Pensioner, Newstart) - $90
    Free Registration (University  of Sydney Business School Staff and research students, Postgraduate  students presenting research papers and Members of the Business and Labour  History Group)

    Register here for conference

    Conference Dinner Information 

    The Business and Labour History Group (BLHG) of  the University of Sydney Business School, Australia, invites you to attend  the 9th Annual Conference Dinner of AAHANZBS at Rubyos in Newtown featuring an  eclectic grazing menu 'tapas style' including  dessert and beverages (Red, White and Sparkling wines, light and full  strength Beers, soft drinks and sparkling  water).
    Date: Thursday  9 November 2017
    Time: 6.00pm-8.00pm
    Venue: Rubyos-  18-20 King St, Newtown NSW

    Register here for conference dinner

    Please advise of  any dietary requirements (RSVP by 2  November 2017).

  • Testing the Market: The Ashby Research Service and Australia's Media Industry
    17th Nov 2017 Rm 5040, Abercrombie Building (H70)

    Presenter: Professor Robert Crawford, Professor of Advertising in the School of Media and Communication, RMIT University

    In 1936 Sylvia Ashby opened the first independently-owned market research firm in Australia. Over the next three and a half decades, the Ashby Research Service conducted hundreds of surveys for various clients, including various newspapers and radio stations. The Ashby Research Service provided important insights into the media’s audience demographics and, more importantly, their broader attitudes and opinions. Such research not only enabled them to gauge the popularity of various initiatives, it offered insights into their commercial viability. The Ashby Research Service’s relationship with Frank Packer provides further insights into Australia’s newspaper business. Packer, who would buy the Ashby Research Service, was actively involved in the market research firm’s operations. The correspondence between him and Sylvia Ashby offer a unique perspective of the everyday operations and interactions of both firms. By examining the surveys and correspondence held in the archives of the Ashby Research Service, this paper will provide an overview of market research and its growing impact on the Australia’s media industry and its operations.

    Robert Crawford is Professor of Advertising in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. His research has focused on the growth and development of the advertising, marketing, and public relations industries across Australia, Oceania, and South East Asia. His most recent publications include Behind Glass Doors: The World of Australia’s Advertising Agencies 1959-1989 (with Jackie Dickenson - UWAP 2016) and Global Advertising Practice in a Borderless World (with Linda Brenna and Lukas Parker - Routledge 2017).

  • Labour of love? Working conditions in aged care and faith organisations in the early 20th century
    13th Apr 2018 Rm 5040, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)

    Presenter: Ron Ringer

    Business communications consultant, independent historian and the published author of educational textbooks and business histories.

    Two of my recent books have explored quite disparate subject areas: aged care, and the history of St Jude’s Church, Randwick, a so-called ‘society church’ in Sydney.

    Among other things, research for these books touched on working conditions and pay for aged care workers, and clergy and lay staff. At a time when basic pensions and aged care facilities were poorly resourced, individuals seeking care outside of the immediate family were obliged to make their own arrangements for accommodation as best they could. Those who worked in the industry received low wages and worked long hours in often difficult conditions.

    Similarly, for clergy, their spouses, as well as ordained and lay staff, pay and working conditions were grossly inadequate. Service in a religious capacity was deemed to be sacrificial, which was often to the detriment of one’s financial security, health and mental well-being.

    The purpose of today’s presentation is to draw attention to issues that were (and still are) common to both ‘industries’, with a view to opening up discussion.


    Ron Ringer is a business communications consultant, independent historian and the published author of educational textbooks and business histories. He established Syntax Writing Services Pty Ltd in 1991 following a successful career as a teacher in the UK (Liverpool) and Australia (Sydney). Since leaving the teaching profession in 1989 he has been commissioned by many of Australia’s leading banks, tertiary institutions, and corporations to provide communication and consulting services on complex writing and documentation-related drafting and publishing projects.

    Qualifications and memberships
    Ron Ringer holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of New South Wales (1991), a B.A. Hons in Economic and Social History from the University of Nottingham (1974), and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Liverpool (1975). He is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Professional Historians Association (NSW), and the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS).

    Education and early career
    After graduating in 1975, Ron taught in a school in one of the many ‘overspill housing estates’ in Liverpool, UK. In 1979 he settled in Sydney and worked briefly as a research assistant in the Department of Economics at the University of New South Wales. In 1981 he resumed his teaching career and in 1984 was appointed Head of History at Barker College, Hornsby. In 1991 he completed a Masters degree in history at the University of New South Wales.

    In 1988 Ron left teaching to pursue career opportunities in the financial services industry. He was employed in the publishing unit at MLC Limited where he developed innovative technical, compliance and marketing documentation, and also a business ethics program. Having established his own consultancy in 1991 he built a successful business which provides writing and consulting services to a variety of clients at senior level in the banking and finance industry, especially the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

    Ron works closely with the Research Office in the School of Business at The University of Sydney, where he makes regular contributions to teaching, learning support, and grant writing seminars.

    Apart from texts for Australian and overseas educational publishers, all published works are private commissions. Ron has also contributed articles to the Dictionary of Sydney (online) and Hummer.

    These include:

    • Materiality: brick and block in contemporary Australian architecture (Vol 2 to be published in Feb 2019)
    • The Material City: density and design in contemporary Australian architecture (release February 2019)
    • Australian Story: a history of Twilight Aged Care, 1912-20016 (2017)
    • Summoned by bells: A history of St Jude's Church, Randwick, 1865-2015 (2016)
    • Materiality: brick and block in contemporary Australian architecture (2015)
    • The Spirit of SMEC: Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (2012)
    • Along the Wayside: 50 years of the Wayside Chapel (2014)
    • The Brickmasters: 1788-2008 (2008)
    • A history of Elgas Limited (2004)
    • Numerous educational texts on European history (Pergamon Press, Pascal Press, Macmillan Educational, 1987-2018)


  • Book Launch Event - 'Frontiers of Labor: Comparative Histories of the United States and Australia'
    21st Jun 2018 Rm 5050, Lvl 5, the Abercrombie Building (H70)

    Presenter: Professor Stephen Garton
    Professor of History and Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney

    Frontiers of Labor: Comparative Histories of the United States and Australia, edited by Greg Patmore and Shelton Stromquist and published by the University of Illinois Press, explores workers’ experiences in the two countries to illuminate important issues in labour history. Alike in many aspects of their histories, Australia and the United States diverge in striking ways when it comes to their working classes, labour relations, and politics. The volume’s essays use transnational and comparative analysis to explore five major areas: World War I’s impact on labour and socialist movements; the history of coerced labour; patterns of ethnic and class identification; forms of working-class collective action; and the struggles related to trade union democracy and independent working-class politics. Throughout, many essays highlight how hard-won transnational ties allowed Australians and Americans to influence each other’s trade union and political cultures. The contributors are Robin Archer, Nikola Balnave, James R. Barrett, Bradley Bowden, Verity Burgmann, Robert Cherny, Peter Clayworth, Tom Goyens, Dianne Hall, Benjamin Huf, Jennie Jeppesen, Marjorie A. Jerrard, Jeffrey A. Johnson, Diane Kirkby, Elizabeth Malcolm, Patrick O’Leary, Greg Patmore, Scott Stephenson, Peta Stevenson-Clarke, Shelton Stromquist, and Nathan Wise. The book arises from Australia-US Comparative Labour History Project, which commenced in 2013, and was sponsored by the BLHG, the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History and the Labor and Working Class History Association.

    Stephen Garton is Professor of History and Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney. He is the author or co-author of 7 books and numerous chapters and articles, largely in the area of Australian social and cultural history, although he has also published in the fields of British, British Imperial and American history. He is a former Associate Editor of the journal Labour History and was a member of the Labour History Editorial Board for 25 years.

    Date: Thursday 21 June 2018
    Time: 12:00pm - 1.00pm
    Venue: Room 5050 Level 5
    The Abercrombie Building (H70)
    The University of Sydney Business School

    Light lunch will be served so please advise of any dietary requirements.

    Registrations close 19 June 2018.

    Register now

    For more information please contact:
    Glenn Howell
    T +61 2 9351 6625
    The University of Sydney Business School