Irwin River UWA Geology Camp, September 1928, UWA Geology Museum

Irwin River UWA Geology Camp, September 1928, UWA Geology Museum


The History Council is governed by a Committee of Management.  Committee members are elected from the History Council membership at the Annual General Meeting. The Committee comprises up to seventeen members; fifteen are elected by the corporate and individual membership and two are chosen by the Indigenous membership of the Council.

At the 2019-20 Annual General Meeting, the following members were appointed:

Executive Members 2019-20

President: Emeritus Professor Jenny Gregory AM (University of Western Australia) taught and researched in the fields of history and heritage at The University of Western Australia for many years. She was Director of UWA’s Centre for WA History, Head of the School of Humanities (2009-15) and Chair of History (2007-08) and Director of UWA Press (1998–2006). Her research spans urban history, town planning and heritage. Her most recent publications are War and Emotions with Bobbie Oliver (2018), and A Man for All Seasons: Essays for Geoffrey Bolton with Stuart Macintyre and Lenore Layman (2017). Other major publications include City of Light: a history of Perth since the fifties, Claremont with Geoff Bolton, and Building a Tradition: a history of Scotch College, as well as the edited collections, Seeking Wisdom: a Centenary History of UWA with Jean Chetkovich (2013), and the Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia with Jan Gothard (2009). She was inaugural President of the History Council of WA (2003–07) and a board member of Australia Day WA (2011-18). She is currently a council member of the National Trust of Australia (WA) after years as President and Chair (1998–2010), a board member of the History Foundation of WA, and a member of the UWA Convocation Council.

Vice President: Bobbie Oliver (Australian Society for the Study of Labour History) is Honorary Research Fellow in History at The University of Western Australia. Prior to her retirement in 2018, she was Associate Professor of History at Curtin University. Her recent publications include: Radical Perth, Militant Fremantle, co-edited by Charlie Fox and Lenore Layman (Black Swan Press, 2017, 2nd revised edition forthcoming from Interventions, 2019) and A Natural Battleground. The fight to establish a rail heritage centre at Western Australia's Midland Railway Workshops (Interventions, 2019). She is currently researching a history of Australian war resisters and conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. Bobbie is an Executive Member of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Perth Branch, and of the History Foundation of Western Australia, and co-convenor of the 16th National Biennial Labour History Conference, Perth, 2019.

Secretary: Lucy Hair (Independent Member) is a Professional Historian with considerable experience working on commissioned history and heritage projects.She has worked for State Government, Local Government and as a private consultant. Most recently she was the Research Coordinator at the Centre for WA History, UWA and Local History Engagement Officer at the City of Fremantle. She has also been a Member of the Heritage Council’s Register Committee.

Treasurer: Nick Drew (Royal Western Australian Historical Society) Since leaving full time employment with Wesfarmers, Nick has served on various committees for the Royal Western Australian Historical Society being a Councillor, Assistant Treasurer , Convenor of the Affiliated Societies Committee, Co Convenor of the Book Sale Team and on the Tours & Events Committee. Nick is also Treasurer of the Friends of Battye Library, the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, Canberra and the WA History Foundation.

Membership Secretary: Pam Harris (Fremantle History Society) has a degree in Social Sciences (with Distinction) majoring in Australian History and Politics and a Graduate Diploma in Information and Library Studies. Pam has worked in libraries for over twenty seven years, most recently as a librarian with the Heritage Council, the Supreme Court Law Library. She has recently retired after eleven years as History Librarian at the Fremantle City Library. Pam has also been actively involved with the Fremantle History Society during this period.

Committee Members 2019–20

Bruce Baskerville (Centre for WA History, University of Western Australia) is an independent public historian, a current UWA Honorary Research Fellow in Humanities and former History Council NSW office bearer (1998-2008).  His general research interests lie in the ways old institutions are transported, re-imagined and adapted in new realms, especially settler societies.  Particular interests include history for heritage purposes, cultural cleansing at heritage sites, reading landscapes, ruins, place-name histories, common lands, vice-regal history, heraldry, symbols of identity, forced migration, convict history, and LGBTIQ histories.  He holds an Honours degree in History from UWA and a PhD from the University of Sydney.

Jean Butler (Independent Member) works at the State Library of WA where she is responsible for choosing original documentary material (including digital material) for inclusion in the heritage collection. She was previously the Director of the Centre for WA History at UWA. She completed her PhD in history at UWA in 2002. Her topic was Irish migration to Western Australia post World War Two.

Kyra Edwards (Indigenous Representative) is a Nyikina and Bunuba woman who grew up in Derby, in the Kimberley area of Western Australia. She is the local history officer for the City of Stirling, based at the Mount Flora Regional Museum. Kyra works closely with the Museum curator, helping manage the museum collection and the city’s local history collection. Kyra is the president of the Oral History WA committee, treasurer and WA representative on the Oral History Australia committee and one of the Indigenous representatives on the History Council of Western Australia. She is currently completing a postgraduate certificate in museum studies. She is the recipient of a 2019 National Museum of Australia Encounter Fellowship, where she is working on developing a digital platform, to share the stories and history of the Mooro Nyoongar community between people locally and around the world.

Deborah Gare (University of Notre Dame) is a Professor of History at The University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle. She is an author and editor of several leading works, including Fremantle: Empire, faith and conflict since 1829 (2016, with Shane Burke), Tom Stannage: History from the other side (2015, with Jenny Gregory) and Making Australian History: The politics of the past since 1788 (2008, with David Ritter). Her research interests are, broadly, Australian, Western Australian and Empire history. Notre Dame’s location in Fremantle has informed Deborah’s own research. In 2014 she published When War Came to Fremantle: 1899–1945 with Madison Lloyd-Jones, described by reviewers as ‘a gorgeous photographic and social history of the town of Fremantle and its interaction with different world conflicts’. Of the nineteenth century, Deborah is writing a biography of Mary Ann Friend (1800-39), an artist and writer who visited the Swan River Colony in 1830. The Friend journal was recently acquired by the State Library of Western Australia.

Vanessa Kirkham (History Teachers Association of WA) is Senior School teacher of Modern History, years 8-12. She currently works at All Saints College and has been there since graduating from Murdoch University in 2014. Her previous career was in retail management and training for over 25 years. She has always had a love for History with Russian History and American History being her particular focus. She has also studied the learning curve of the British Expeditionary Forces in World War 1. She has served on the HTAWA committee for two years and enjoys interacting with her fellow teachers.

Bri McKenzie (Independent Member) is a practising historian with interests in WA history and history teaching. Bri is currently a lecturer and major coordinator in History at Curtin University where she focuses on curriculum queering and queer pedagogy. Her research interests include WA midwifery history, gay and lesbian activist movements and radical feminist movements. She holds a doctorate in history.

Geoff Moor (Independent Member) is the part-time Heritage officer at the City of Canning (previously Manager Recreation Services until part retirement). He is a Councillor of National Trust of Australia (WA); past secretary of the local historical society and chair of the metropolitan chapter of MAWA. Has an avid interest in classic motoring and is President of the Council of Motoring Clubs of WA; and is actively involved with the Veteran Car Club (past president at local and federal levels).  Life member VCCWA; past secretary Motor Museum of WA Trust; hon. life member several organisations; Paul Harris Fellow etc. He has a keen interest in Western Australian commercial/retail history.

Helen Munt (Professional Historians Association WA)is President of the Professional Historians Association (WA) and past Secretary of the History Council. She has tertiary qualifications from UWA and WAAPA and has worked professionally in the heritage and interpretation sectors since 1994, in areas as diverse as development, conservation, heritage listings, policy development, management plans, grant assessment, interpretation and heritage-based tourism events and products. She also has strong abilities in communication and consultation, project management & delivery and has nurtured a vast network of professional and community contacts and associations from across the State, particularly through her work as regional heritage advisor. Helen has been involved in independent theatre since the 1990s and is an Artistic Director of Scooplight Theatre.

Samantha Owen (Independent Member) is a Lecturer in Humanities and Social Sciences in the School of Education at Curtin University. Previously she was a Lecturer in History at Curtin University. She is a historian who studies the (re)building of civil society post-1945, with a particular focus on Europe. Her research considers the relationship between nationalism and education. Samantha has a PhD in History (Reading U., UK), MA (History) (U. Pitt.) and BA Hons. (First Class, UWA) (History and Anthropology).

Cindy Solonec (Indigenous Representative) is a Nigena (Nyikina) from the West Kimberley. She is currently preparing her PhD thesis for publication, for a general readership. Her research in social history illuminates the ways in which her father a Spanish migrant, in the absence of his heritage in the Kimberley, forged new networks among diverse groups especially Aboriginal peoples. Since 2000 Cindy has worked in the higher education sector as both a general and academic staff at ECU, Curtin, Notre Dame (Broome) and UWA. As a sessional staff, she tutors and presents guest lectures at UWA   addressing Aboriginal themes.

Pamela Statham Drew (Friends of Battye Library) lectured in economic history at the University of Western Australia for 42 years retiring as Associate Professor in 2006. She graduated with an honours degree in Economics from Monash University in Victoria and was awarded her doctorate by the University of Western Australia. She has written and edited a number of books on Australian History, including The Origins of Australia’s Capital Cities (1989), James Stirling: admiral and founding governor of Western Australia (2003), Court and Camera: the life and times of AH Stone, a pioneer lawyer and photographer in Perth (2012). She is President of the Friends of Battye Library and Councillor of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, Convenor RWAHS Reading & Publications Committee and Co Convenor Book Sale Team.

John Toohey (Independent Member) B.A Hons History, UWA, 1998, M.A Art History, Concordia University, Canada 2012, member of ICOMOS. Currently PhD Candidate in Art History at Concordia University, Canada, focusing on the Edwardian era British landscape photographs by Fred Judge. Published works include Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare Duffy & Snellgrove 1998, republished 1999, 1998, 2019; articles in The Conversation on 'Montreal's Mysterious Monument', 'Organic Farming's Fascist Origins'; in Traces Magazine on African-American sailors in the early years of W.A's colonization and the Batchelder Studio, gold rush photographers; in Early Popular Visual Culture peer reviewed articles on William Friese-Greene and World War One photographic postcards of women. His particular interest is in photography and specifically the role vernacular or everyday photographs function as historical documents, but he has also written on the early exploration of the Australian coastline. He lived in Montreal for several years after ten years living and working in Istanbul. He is currently working on three photographic exhibitions in WA, which all have history or sociology as a central theme.

Sharron Turner (History Teachers Association of WA) is a history teacher at Leeming Senior High School and an active committee member of HTAWA. Sharron teaches Modern History at ATAR level and lower school history in years 7-10. She is passionate about teaching history and passing on a love of the subject to future generations. Sharron enjoys all areas of history and would find it difficult to pick a favourite area or topic.