Department of History celebrates History Week 2013

6 September 2013

History Week 2013
PhD Candidate Dave Earl will discuss the story behind this image from Hawkevale Farm Colony, taken in the 1950s, as part of History Week 2013. Image courtesy of Activ Foundation Archives.

The role of alcohol in Australian society, the Vietnam war moratoriums and the creation of farm colonies for 'subnormal' boys and men are just some of the topics up for discussion as part of the Department of History's involvement in History Week 2013.

Under this years' theme 'Picture This', University academics and students will join several events showcasing a vast array of photographic materials, bringing the past into focus by commemorating Australia's visual history.

A group of current and recent PhD students from the Department of History will share the stories behind some of Australia's most captivating yet unseen images in the talk 'A Picture and a Thousand Words', on Monday 9 September.

In just 1000 words, each speaker is charged with the task of presenting a ten-minute short talk about a key image linked to their research.

PhD Candidate Dave Earl, who is completing a doctoral thesis on the history of disability in Australia, says the event is billed "like a poetry reading for historians."

"We're setting up in the bar, people will be serving cocktails, and there'll be music in the background," he says. "No one's done anything like this don't often get to do history in the bar while having a drink!"

Recent PhD graduate Matthew Allen, whose research explored historical criminology and alcohol in Australia, will discuss a rare series of photographs taken in the 1860s titled 'The Five Stages of Inebriation'.

Joining him is fellow graduate Hannah Forsyth, who will consider images of the women who posed for the artist Norman Lindsay, as well as Nick Irving, who plans to examine iconic photographs from the University of Sydney Quadrangle during the Vietnam moratorium.

A photograph of four young men at Perth's Hawkevale Farm Colony for 'Slow-Learning Children', captured in the 1950s, is the focus of Earl's talk on the history of disability care in Australia. Such pictures startlingly reveal vast attitudinal changes in a relatively short period of time, and provide a unique glimpse into many unexplored facets of Australian social history, according to Earl.

"They're images that most people wouldn't have seen but they're very evocative and beautiful pictures," he says.

"Hopefully we'll be able to flesh out some of the context and the stories behind their creation, and some of the cultural meanings of what they meant to people at the time."

Professor Richard White will also lead several events on the history of Australian tourism across the week, including the exhibition 'Touring the Past' at the University's Macleay Museum, and the lecture 'Tourists' Pictures of the Past'. Professor Iain McCalman also joins the two-day symposium 'Presenting the Past: A Symposium of History and the Media', beginning Tuesday 10 September.

The History Council of NSW's History Week celebrations run from 7-15 September, with full program details available at their website.


What:'A Picture and a Thousand Words', part of History Week 2013.

When: 9 September 2013, 6.30-7:15pm

Where: Grasshopper Bar, 1 Temperance Lane, Sydney

Cost: Free, but bookings essential.

RSVP: Dave Earl,

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Contact: Emily Jones

Phone: 02 9114 1961; 0405 208 616

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