Number 3 - march 2013

Historia - editors' message

The Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations Inc (ACPHA) is the peak body for Professional Historians Associations (PHAs) in Australia.

Welcome to the third edition of ACPHA’s e-bulletin Historia. Historia is distributed to all PHA members so they can find out what Australian historians are doing and share national history issues and events. This e-bulletin has a broader audience as it is also sent to our many friends and colleagues who interact with us in our professional work. Librarians, academics, archivists and publishers are just some of the recipients of Historia. The newsletter will give the wider history community a better insight into our work as professional historians.

We look forward to contributions to our next edition in May 2013. Please include your name and email address, and an image if appropriate. All copy is to be sent to  We are especially interested in items of national significance.

Pauline Curby, Virginia Macleod (PHA NSW) & Geoff Speirs (PHA SA)
ACPHA Public Relations sub-committee

President's message


Okay, drag yourself away from the beach, lake, river whatever, put down that new novel, Facebook those holiday snaps later … a new year is upon us and we need to start thinking seriously about being a professional historian again. 

Fortunately for us our PHA committees have been working hard to put together a program of professional development opportunities for the year ahead so we can soon shake off that holiday lethargy and get our brain cells working again.  Continuing professional development is essential to maintain the status and credibility of our organization, but also, as individuals, we need to constantly refresh, up-grade and hone our skills to meet the demands of our increasingly competitive work environment.  We should also not under-estimate the benefits of being able to reflect on, discuss and share our work with fellow members:  the outcome will definitely lead to a committed and engaged professional community.  In turn, the wider community and employer groups will be assured that participating members seek to deliver the highest standard of history.

What’s that you say?  What about a national initiative for structured professional development?  A program which would draw on ideas and resources from our various PHAs to assist professional historians around Australia?  Great idea.  And that’s what ACPHA will be focusing on in 2013-14.  Your ACPHA delegates are keen to begin the process of making professional development an essential part of PHA membership.  A lot of the ground work has already been done by an ACPHA sub-committee and an excellent pilot program carried out in Victoria, so it’s now time to hit the ground running.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

Sonia Jennings

Circa prize

The winner of the award for the best article in Circa, Issue Number 3, 2012 has been announced. The article ‘How can a museum collect dead things and remain alive?’ written by Carolyn Rasmussen of PHA Vic took out the top honour. This work was praised for sharing ‘valuable insights about what historians can learn from a museum’s approach to displays and their interpretation’. Highly commended was Michael Bennett’s (PHA NSW), ‘History and native title in NSW: an overview’ and Juliet Flesch’s (PHA Vic), ‘He died with his scientific work little more than begun: the life and work of Arthur Cecil Hamel Rothera’.

ACPHA sincerely thanks the judges of the Circa prize who undertook the task with admirable speed and enthusiasm.  While the judges wish to remain anonymous, we can reveal that they were drawn from the ranks of distinguished, long-serving members of PHA (SA), PHA (Qld) and PHA (WA).

Circa award winners

ACPHA president Sonia Jennings presents a cheque for $500 to first prize winner Carolyn Rasmussen, February 2013 (left to right) Circa editor Katherine Sheedy, prize winner Carolyn Rasmussen, ACPHA president Sonia Jennings, PHA Vic president Jill Barnard.

Judges’ comments

(1) Carolyn Rasmussen, ‘How can a museum collect dead things and remain alive?’
Carolyn Rasmussen’s strong affinity with the Museum Victoria stems from working on its history, which involved documentary evidence and real objects. These sources are fundamental to any museum, which gives her article a broad applicability. She provides interesting personal observations along with useful practice and advice for historians concerned with museums. Using items from the collection, she discusses the principles of collecting, researching and displaying within a museum setting. Meanwhile, she understands the need to add colour and showmanship: professional historians making/keeping history lively and informative for a diverse audience is a key lesson.

Explaining how the history behind the objects, and how this knowledge is shared with the public, helps bring the exhibits to life and underpins her article. Rasmussen is about bridging the gap between research and writing, and capturing the interest of the public. Since there is an educational role for the professional historian to engage with the community, placing Museum Victoria in the context of the ongoing evolution of museums is another strength of this article.

Essentially, she is sharing valuable insights about what historians can learn from a museum’s approach to displays and their interpretation. This upbeat, thought provoking and clearly written series of reflections uses historic and contemporary photographs well. Rasmussen sustains her theme by frequently referring to the title of her article (which might annoy some) to ensure that the reader gets her message.

(2) Michael Bennett, ‘History and native title in NSW: an overview’
The judges found Michael Bennett’s personal account of the role of the professional historian in the field of native title claim highly informative, appropriately detailed, and successful in maintaining the interest of the reader. While the subject is specific to NSW the content has relevance to other states and territories. Bennett’s depth of experience enables him to take the reader through the complex process involved from the establishment of native title claim to its resolution at the Federal Court. The essay is well structured with sub-headings that lead the reader through this process while exploring the nature of native title, the importance of traditional knowledge, genealogical research and family histories, and lots more. The value of Trove in establishing a crucial link in his research is something we can all relate to. The essay is well illustrated with a select range of historic documents such as photographs, a 19th century drawing of a ceremony and a map of NSW showing registered native title applications. Bennett’s discussion about maintaining good working relationships with colleagues in other professions, such as anthropologists, is something that is relevant and salutary for all historians involved with cross-disciplinary research.

(3) Juliet Flesch, ‘He died with his scientific work little more than begun: the life and work of Arthur Cecil Hamel Rothera’
Professional historians can serve a valuable role by rediscovering and restoring the reputation and role of forgotten people. Juliet Flesch offers us a useful rediscovery of the forgotten biochemist Arthur Cecil Hamel Rothera. The author indicates his contributions in research, in matters such as water purification for farmers or the Rothera test for diabetes sufferers. The wider context of other researchers in the field at the University of Melbourne is also covered in some detail. While Flesch raises several of the problems that arise in the researching and writing of biography one hopes that she will make a fuller assessment of the man and his achievements. The article is clearly written and argued, and is well illustrated.

Launch of Circa Issue three

The venue was strictly Melbourne – Little Markov Bar in inner city Carlton. But the hot steamy air and torrential rain after a burning day could have placed the launch of Circa: the Journal of Professional Historians on 13 December 2012 in any number of Australian cities. Although the interstate contributors were unable to attend the launch, a majority of the Victorian contributors were there to enjoy the relaxed, informal and festive atmosphere.

Along with articles contributed by PHA (Vic) members Carla and Robert Pascoe, Juliet Flesch and Carolyn Rasmussen, the third edition of Circa includes articles from Susan Marsden (PHA SA), Michael Bennett and Pauline Curby (PHA NSW) and Carol Gistitin (PHA Qld). A new review section also reflects national contributions, with Victorian reviewers, Seamus O’Hanlon, Dorothy Wickham, Fay Woodhouse and Kirstie Barry, joined by PHA (WA) member Malcolm Allbrook.

While firmly grounded in the scholarly achievements of the contributors, the high production values of Circa number three owe much to the work of the Circa Editorial Board – Tsari Anderson, Susan Aykut, Rachel Buchanan, Leigh Edmonds, Sonia Jennings, Emma Russell, Vicky Ryan  and Dorothy Wickham. But, probably most of all, the high standard of Circa issue three is due to the exacting standards, attention to detail and dedication of editor, Katherine Sheedy. The launch offered the opportunity to thank Katherine for all she has done, not only in bringing the third issue to fruition, but in establishing Circa as a quality, professional, refereed journal in its first three issues. After several years devoted to editing Circa, Katherine has announced her retirement from the role.

Over the Christmas break, PHA members across Australia have had the opportunity to relax and enjoy Circa issue three, thanks to ACPHA’s funding of printing and postage. Perhaps the next Circa launch will take place in another state, as the journal moves even closer to becoming a truly national PHA publication.

Jill Barnard
President, PHA (Vic)


PHA Vic members enjoying the ambience of the Circa launch, December 2012: left to right: Kirstie Barry, Anisa Puri and Brian Tseng.

Circa Editor and Editorial Board members wanted


ACPHA invites expressions of interest from members for the role of Circa Editor and for a new Circa Editorial Board. It is envisaged that the future production of Circa will be a national project with Editorial Board members from PHAs around Australia. Alternatively, if one PHA wished to take on the whole project, proposals for undertaking this are also invited.

If you wish to contact the retiring editor, Katherine Sheedy, about the roles and responsibilities, please email her at

If you wish to register an expression of interest, or require details of the publication process, please contact the ACPHA President, Sonia Jennings, by email at

History awards


NSW History Prize: Set in Stone: the Cell Block Theatre

There was plenty of genial celebration at History House in Macquarie Street Sydney on 4 December 2012. It was PHA NSW’s Christmas party, but members were also celebrating the award of the NSW Community and Regional History Prize to Deborah Beck for her book, Set in Stone: the Cell Block Theatre. This is the third consecutive year a PHA NSW member has won this prize.

Set in Stone is the story of how a derelict wing of Darlinghurst Gaol, home to Sydney’s most notorious female criminals, became the Cell Block Theatre, the hub of Australia‘s avant-garde theatre, music and dance scene in the 1960s and 1970s. A place of creative freedom and ingenuity, this venue saw early performances from artists such as John Bell, Yvonne Kenny, Peter Sculthorpe, David Malouf, Jim Sharman and Nick Cave.

The judges commented

Written in an engaging style, and drawing on a range of sources — from archives to film, newspapers and interviews — this book captures the spirit that informed the Cell Block Theatre. The images produced in the book, from photographs of musicians and dancers to set sketches, are used to good effect in the telling of this history. The posters, in particular, provide a shorthand survey of changes in Australia’s cultural history. Yet the history of what was once D Wing is not ignored: the women who served time in the cell blocks included the unfortunate victims of a patriarchal society, the poor and the lost — and the legendary, such as Sydney’s ‘Queen of the Underworld’, Kate Leigh, who served time for perjury.

Published by UNSW Press, this history challenges Australian expatriates’ claims that the Australia of the 1950s and 1960s was a cultural desert.

Our Schools and the War

our schools nad the war cover

PHA Vic member Rosalie Triolo’s 2012 publication, Our Schools and the War (Australian Scholarly Publishing) was recently commended in the 2012 Victorian Community History Publication Awards.

Based on her Monash University award-winning doctoral thesis, this book brings to life nearly 350 Victorian State school communities, many of which no longer exist, along with hundreds of teachers and pupils at the time of the Great War, 1914-1918. It investigates how the school communities were affected by patriotic appeals and activities, and how they responded to the long years of grim news from Gallipoli, the Western Front and other sites of training, fighting and convalescence. It explains how every teacher on the home front had the complicated task of explaining the war to their pupils then dealt with their pupils’, as well as their own grief at the loss of loved ones, along with the disruptions to school and community life. Many teachers, a disproportionately large number, also enlisted and died, and were joined by older pupils. For years after, the names of those who fell were respectfully displayed on school honour boards, in honour books and remembered in other ways, including through the introduction of Anzac Day and solemn commemorative ceremonies in schools.

Vale Dr Marita Bardenhagen (1961-2012)

On 25 October 2012 the President of PHA Tas, Kathy Evans, presented long time member Dr Marita Bardenhagen with a Special Service Award honouring her outstanding contribution to the history profession in Tasmania. Sadly, Marita passed away three weeks later, on 19 November, after a long battle with cancer. Marita was a community- minded, dedicated and passionate historian - demonstrated through her work at Heritage Tasmania and her involvement with the Launceston Historical Society, through which she instigated a history prize for school children.  She will be sorely missed by all her friends and colleagues in the history and heritage sector in Tasmania.

Dr Kathy Evans
PHA Tas President


From left: Kathy Evans (PHA Tas President) and PHA Tas members, Nic Haygarth, Marita Bardenhagen and Di Snowden.

The Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Project


Images courtesy NLA

Many thousands of children in Australia were affected by the experiences of being placed in care during the twentieth century.

The Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project, a result of the Senate Inquiries, was announced by the Prime Minister at the National Apology in 2009.  Funded by the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs it was conducted by the National Library of Australia between 2009 and 2012. Over 200 interviews were conducted with 41 professional oral history interviewers across Australia, with some interviews also conducted in England.

The interviews show the lifelong impact on those who were themselves in care, their siblings and family members.  Interviewees came from all walks of life and had a wide range of work and life experiences.  The project also interviewed advocates and associated professionals, including welfare officers, employees of institutions and administrators. The interviews record a variety of impacts of care experiences in Australia from the 1920s onwards in over 140 institutions run by state governments, churches, non-government organisations as well as in foster homes.

On the third anniversary of the Apology, 16 November 2012, as the project drew to its end, the National Library of Australia launched a booklet of excerpts, You Can’t Forget things Like That.  The quotes in the booklet are taken from interviews in the collection as a taster for the  complete interviews, many of which are available in full online. The power of audio was amply demonstrated at the launch. When excerpts were played it was very moving.

Interviewers from all the states and territories, several of them PHA members, had two days’ intensive orientation to the project. It was a good experience to contribute to a large, well-conceived and well-run process of creating a collection of interviews. Support from project manager Joanna Sassoon, and other staff working in the Oral History and Folklore Collection before, during  and after interviews was excellent. Equipment was supplied by the NLA, with friendly technical backup. Interviewers created keyword summaries using the NLA online program, which despite a few fiddly foibles, is an excellent way of producing the summaries. These, once submitted, appear with the audio tracks online at the NLA website.

This collection of interviews will be a broad rich resource for different types of research, not only history and oral history methodology, but also those involved in the fields of education, anthropology, psychology and social science. The commemorative booklet You Can't Forget Things Like That and project interviews are available to download at

Virginia Macleod (PHA NSW)

The Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Seminar

OHAA NSW invite you to join a wide-ranging discussion about one of the most complex national oral history projects during the past decade.

Speakers:  Dr Joanna Sassoon, project manager, Dr Joanna Penglase, author of Orphans of the living. Growing up in care in twentieth century Australia, and interviewers Jeannine Baker, Roslyn Burge, Virginia Macleod and Frances Rush.

Saturday 23 March 2013
Dixson Room, Mitchell Library, State Library NSW
10 am to 1pm

Cost (includes morning tea) $45   Oral History Assoc Members $35
Bookings essential 
Enquiries: (02) 8094 1239

Tweet Button

Member profile - Bob Marmion


Bob Marmion

Why history? How did you come to history?

I’ve always been fascinated with history. My mum says that as a young kid, I used to keep her broke as she continually had to buy me history books or drive me down to the library. The only subject I did really well in at school was history, which was a pity as it meant that I couldn’t follow my other dream of medicine. I’ve always had an enquiring, technical type of mind and this led to an interest in science and technology through history as well as military history.

What was your first history-related job? What path have you taken since then?

Getting expelled from school didn’t help my career options, so I joined the Victoria Police. I spent many years as a detective using exactly the same skills as I use as a historian: start with a clue and develop a picture. After leaving the police force, I decided to follow my love of history and enrolled in an Arts Science degree at Latrobe. I did every history unit I could before going onto a Masters in colonial military history and later a PhD at the University of Melbourne on Victoria’s defences.

What kind of work have you done? What are you working on now?

Even while working as a detective, I used to moonlight as a historian researching and writing military history, working with museums, and doing consulting work for films and industry. After using up eight lives, I decided police work was a little too dangerous and, being a single parent, I needed to find something with regular hours and pay. I moved into teaching secondary school history and maths which is rather ironic considering how much I hated school as a kid.  

In recent years, I’ve been building up my consulting business, while teaching part time. The past twelve months I have been extremely busy including a three-month overseas study tour. I have a number of projects underway at the moment including Middle Gate, a commissioned history on 150 years of local government in the West Wimmera, 1862-2012. I’ve also been working on significance assessments, heritage studies, background material for film-makers, legal research as well as an Australian World War II regimental history.

Research or Writing? (What do you enjoy more and why?

Researching, but at some stage you have to say, ‘Come on, sit down and do some writing.’

What are the best and hardest things about the kind of work you do?

I love the field work, searching for clues on historic sites or musty archives and then trying to make sense of it all. I also love the collegiate atmosphere of working with a range of people from all walks of life, from international professors through to the members of my local historical society. The hardest thing is finding the time to do all I want to do. Juggling teaching and history work is hard, as is delivering a paper at conference when you really have to put yourself out there in front of your peers.

What advice do you give to those starting out? What do you wish someone had told you?

Develop a good balance of theory and practical skills. Get a post-graduate qualification, but remain firmly anchored at the grassroots level as well. Mix with all sorts of people, clients, professors and the local historian – they all have something worth saying. Never stop asking why.

What’s next?

The next book, due out in early 2013, is an account of two unsolved murders near Queenscliff, Victoria, in 1942. Set against wartime Victorian history, this story has so many twists and turns and may even include unveiling the identity of the murderer.

Norman Haire and the study of sex


Hon. Michael Kirby & Diana Wyndham

PHA NSW member Diana Wyndham’s long awaited history Norman Haire and the study of sex, tracing the life of a daring Australian who supported sexual freedom, was launched by the Hon. Michael Kirby, AC CMG on 3 December 2012 at the University of Sydney.

Dr Norman Haire, sexologist, practised at a time when sex and sexuality – woman’s sexuality in particular – were taboo topics. Born in 1892, Haire was the eleventh, final, and unwanted child of upper-middle class parents who lived in the suburbs of Sydney. Diana Wyndham suggests Haire knew at an early age that he was homosexual, and that it was the suppression of his sexuality that made him sympathetic towards the sexual suppression of others.

After studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Haire moved to London to begin his career as a sexologist. Here he started his own medical practice, and worked with numerous prominent leaders of the birth-control movement. During the war, Haire returned to Australia and worked as a sex-advice writer for the magazine Woman. He caused controversy by encouraging sex education for young people, including contraception, and countering the popular opinion that Australia could only succeed by significantly increasing its population through large families.

He moved back to London after the war, where he died in 1952 after a period of illness. Upon his death, his papers, books and a large bequest were given to the University of Sydney.  The University Library’s Rare Books Collection now holds the material. A sample of important artefacts, but also whimsical ones, such as one of Norman’s many grocery lists and recipes were displayed at the launch of the book.

Life’s Logic: 150 Years of Physiology at the University of Melbourne

In 2012, the Medical School of the University of Melbourne celebrated its 150th birthday.  One of the events that marked the year was the launch on 27 November by Barry Jones AO of Life’s Logic: 150 Years of Physiology at the University of Melbourne written by PHA Vic member Juliet Flesch.

The appointment of George Halford as the first Professor of Physiology and Anatomy meant that Australian medical students no longer needed to travel to England or Scotland to undertake medical studies after taking their first degrees in the colony. It preceded the establishment of the Sydney school by a decade.
Physiology at Melbourne has continued to be at the forefront of physiology research in Australia and the world. Life’s Logic tells the story of its development and highlights the extraordinary personalities in the Department as well as the groundbreaking discoveries.

These have continued under successive Heads of Department, and Physiology was able to celebrate its sesquicentenary with the publication in Nature of Stefan Gehrig’s work on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which also won him the Victorian Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research.

Life’s Logic is published by Australian Scholarly Publishing.


Professor Gordon Lynch, Dr Juliet Flesch and Professor Barry Jones

Beer Barons or Bankrupts? Early Brewers in South Australia

Beer barons

Described as a ‘must have’ for anyone with more than a cursory interest in the history of beer brewing, Alison Painter’s (PHA SA) latest venture into the history of beer brewing tells the story of the many breweries which operated in South Australia from settlement in 1836 to the mid-1950s.

The history of the early brewers in South Australia is littered with insolvencies, but why, Painter asks, did so many of them fail, especially when beer was a beverage sought by working men who regarded it as a wholesome drink, necessary for their physical well being? Although there was no shortage of people ready to try brewing, the majority had little experience of the intricacies in the art of brewing good ale. Early brewers also faced a number of problems when they started out – the availability of imported malt and hops, indifferent water quality and the long, hot summers made brewing a precarious business. Many did not survive for long or soon became insolvent. The story ends in the mid-1950s when only two breweries remained in South Australia – The South Australian Brewing Company and Coopers & Sons Ltd.

In more recent years many craft breweries have been established in country towns producing specialist beers, but they are small by comparison with the two major breweries – SABCo, now a subsidiary of Lion Pty Ltd, operating as West End at Thebarton and Coopers Brewery Ltd, which, after moving to Regency Park in 2001, is celebrating 150 years as a family company.

The Spirit of SMEC, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation

PHA NSW member Ron Ringer’s history of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) was launched by Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean in Parliament House, Canberra in November 2012. This history explores the life and times of two distinct yet interrelated organisations, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (SMHEA) and the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC). In addition to researching and writing The Spirit of SMEC, Ron supervised the production of this ambitious project.

Established in 1970 as a public sector organisation, SMEC was corporatised in 1985 and finally sold to the staff in 1993. Ron comments, ‘the spirit of those who worked on the Snowy Scheme continues through a company that provides consulting services for many of the challenging engineering projects in Australia and throughout the world’.

Spirit of SMEC

Ron Ringer, Minister for Regional Development Simon Crean, Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly and SMEC chairman Peter Busbridge

Pictorial history, Kings Cross


PHA NSW member Anne-Maree Whitaker’s Pictorial History, Kings Cross is the latest of Kingsclear Books pictorial histories which introduce readers to the history of their suburb or town. Journalist, author and publisher, Larry Writer, launched this history of a self-contained Sydney suburb at Kings Cross Library on 18 December 2012.

Once known as Woolloomooloo Hill, Kings Cross is like no other place in Sydney. Here Sydney’s 19th century elite built grand mansions along the ridge to enjoy sea breezes, a wonderful view and access to the city. When these villas were sold, abandoned or demolished, the suburb became home to bohemia, with wild girls Dulcie Deamer and Rosaleen Norton walking the same streets as the crime queens Tillie Devine and Kate Leigh.

As it evolved into the gold mine of Art Deco apartments and blocks of flats, The Cross attracted lovers of the Parisian lifestyle. Cafes and nightclubs appeared where visitors could get a drink after 6pm, a Continental meal and stay awake until dawn. The Cross attracted artists of all types: writers, cartoonists, painters, sculptors, publishers. Change to the bohemian character came with the generations of US servicemen who docked at Woolloomooloo Wharf and came up the hill to escape and party: the Great White Fleet in 1908, World War II servicemen with stockings and cigarettes to give away and the Vietnam War ‘R and R’ soldiers. The Cross’s classy nightclubs turned into seedier strip joints, Go-Go clubs, huge brothels and sex shops.

Playing in the bush: recreation and national parks in New South Wales


National parks have always had to strike a balance between recreation and conservation. Historically the balance has not been easy to achieve, and yet the whole purpose of recreation in national parks, from romantic interludes to bushwalking and mountain-climbing, revolves around their conservation values. Playing in the Bush, edited by Sydney academic Richard White and PHA NSW member Caroline Ford, explores these challenges. Researched and written by seven young historians from the University of Sydney, the book considers how peoples’ relationships with parks have been formed through recreation, and the ways in which their enjoyment of these landscapes has been negotiated with the parks’ authorities.

Launching the book at the Macleay Museum in November 2012, the Hon. Bob Debus AM, former NSW Minister for the Environment, talked about the diversity of recreational pursuits people have historically enjoyed in national parks, and argued that Playing in the Bush helps to contextualise current debates about ideas of ‘appropriate recreation’ and particularly, around hunting in national parks, a contentious issue in NSW at present.

The Story of Ipswich Grammar School, 1863-2013


PHA Qld’s Sophie Church is looking forward to the launch of her new book celebrating the sesquicentenary of Ipswich Grammar School in south east Queensland. Old Boy Sir Llew Edwards, a former deputy premier and treasurer of Queensland will launch The Story of Ipswich Grammar School 1863-2013 on 15 March.

Ipswich Grammar School was the first school to be established under the provisions of the Queensland Grammar Schools Act of 1860. The school’s inauguration by Sir George Bowen took place on 25 September 1863, and two weeks later, on 7 October, 16 pupils began lessons. The first Headmaster, Stuart Hawthorne, is just one of many remarkable people who have been associated with the school, including notable alumni such as Dr John Bradfield, Vance Palmer, Major Arthur Graham Butler, Thomas Welsby, Sir James Blair and Sir Harry Gibbs. The launch is one of a series of events celebrating this historic anniversary, including a commemoration of the school's first day on 7 October. Further details will be made available on the school website

A Bank for Teachers: History of Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank 1992-2012

bank for teachers

Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, the International Year of Co-operatives, with a history by PHA Vic member Lesley Alves.

Originally a credit union for primary teachers, this organisation formed in 1972 when it was difficult for most people, particularly women, to obtain bank loans. At that time credit unions were small concerns, run by dedicated volunteer directors and a few paid staff whose friendly service engendered loyalty and affection, unknown among bank customers.

Originally called VTU Credit Union Co-operative Limited, reflecting its origins in the Victorian Teachers’ Union, its name was changed to Victoria Teachers Credit Union (VTCU) in 1996. The name, Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank, was adopted in March 2012 to proclaim the organisation’s evolution into a modern sophisticated financial institution. To many members, however, it is still simply ‘Vic Teachers’, an organisation that has never been part of any merger, but has preserved its identity as a financial institution specifically for teachers.

Although A Bank for Teachers discusses finances, regulation and software, it is essentially a human story. It is about the people who were part of the organisation’s transition from credit union to mutual bank — directors, management, staff and member/customers. Along the way there have been tensions as well as triumphs, as would be expected in any dynamic organisation.



Victorian State Family History Conference

On the first weekend in May 2013, the 8th Victorian State Family History Conference: ‘Under the Southern Cross: A Goldfields Experience’, will be held at the Australian Catholic University (Aquinas Campus), 1200 Mair Street, Ballarat, in the city’s CBD.

Early bookings for this event and the conference dinner are essential. Conference attendees are encouraged to stay on in Ballarat for the city’s annual Heritage Weekend on 11-12 May 2013.  The 2013 Conference is held under the auspices of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO) and Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc. (VIPs)
More information on the conference is available online

New Zealand Historical Association Conference

To be held from 20-22 November 2013 in Dunedin, the New Zealand Historical Association Conference will feature a line up of international talent. In addition a range of events either side of the main conference may be of interest to Australian professional historians. On Tuesday 19 November, PHANZA (Professional Historians’ Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa) will hold a one-day workshop, with sessions on the theory and practice of public history in New Zealand. More details relating to this event will be posted soon.

Tweet Button

Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations (ACPHA) - PO Box 9177 Deakin ACT 2600 Australia