It’s been said ‘the past is a foreign country’. Let me issue you with a visa.
Plenty of people write their own histories — particularly family history, local history, or the history of their organisation. The ‘detective work’ of history is a big part of the pleasure of such projects. However, sometimes people reach a point where they need help with particular aspects of their own history project, which is where I can step in.
I can assist with your current research by:
* doing research for you within appropriate archives, or
* helping you identify and collect research materials,
* suggesting fresh lines of historical enquiry and additional resources to investigate,
* helping you to interpret or ‘make sense’ of historical documents, and
* suggesting ways of framing your research in a broader historical context so that you can ‘bring your history to life’.
I can also:
* comment on an existing history manuscript and offer suggestions for its development or completion,
* comment on an existing body of research and suggest how it can be structured into a coherent story/presentation/manuscript,
* make a Wikipedia page for your topic.
* or write an entire history manuscript for publication.
I’m also happy to talk to camera. You can watch me talking to camera in this video made to interpret Albury Library Museum’s exhibition, for which I wrote the catalogue, Emporium — Inside Albury’s Most Famous Department Store.
Why should you choose me?
I have a PhD in Cultural History from La Trobe University (2005), as well as an undergraduate degree with first class honours in cultural resource management (Charles Sturt University, 1997). I bring a broad historical knowledge, strong research and writing skills, and a capacity for critical reflection, to any history project.
I am also a full professional member of the Professional Historians Association (Victoria), and subscribe to their standards and code of ethics.
I have experience in family history (I am third generation in a family of obsessive genealogists), local history, migrant history, researching historic objects, places and landscapes, and art history.
I have had journal papers, book chapters, essays and catalogue texts published by the Italian Historical Society Journal (Melbourne), Historic Environment (Australia ICOMOS), Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies (York University, Canada), the University of South Pacific (Art and Architecture of the Cook Islands), Southern Cross University (Heritage Landscapes — Understanding Place and Communities) and Albury Library-Museum.
I have consulted on council heritage studies for the Rural City of Wangaratta (the first thematic study of tobacco kilns), Albury City (case study for the Australian Heritage Commission’s Principal Australian History Themes project), Indigo Shire (history consultant for the Indigo Shire Conservation Study), and Jerilderie Shire (now Murrumbidgee — Main Street Heritage Study). I recently completed a project for the Benalla Migrant Camp Inc., writing and constructing a Wikipedia page for this state-listed historic site.
I also have the occasional stint teaching at La Trobe University, including running the workshops for Introduction to Aboriginal Australia in 2017.
Why do I think history is important?
One of my favourite historians, Inga Clendinnen put it best (in her brilliant book Dancing with Strangers): ‘we humans proceed in a fog. By coming to see the fogs through which people in other times battled in the direction they hoped was forward, we may better be able to recognise and penetrate our own.’
Image of items recovered from a defunct gold mining town in Woolshed Valley, by Scott Hartvigsen.