Don Grant Memorial Lectures

Since 1997 VAFHO has hosted the Don Grant Family History Lecture to promote family history education and provide interesting speakers on a variety of family history topics. The Lecture is named in honour of Don Grant (living legend) he was formerly of SLV and PROV and current VAFHO committee member.

2011 – "Storming the Barricades - The Family History Revolution"

Dr Andrew Lemon’s path to professional history began with a job in archives at the Public Record Office in the 1970’s after graduating with a BA (Hons). He went on to complete an MA in History & soon after gained a commission to write the history of the City of Box Hill. He now has a string of publications to his name including histories of Northcote & Broadmeadows. Andrew is perhaps best known for his trilogy ‘History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing’, commissioned by the Victorian Racing Club. He is currently President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

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2010 – “Victoria in the 19th Century: Everyday life and family history” – Prof. Geoffrey Blainey

Professor Geoffrey Blainey is the author of 36 books, mostly on Australian history & scores of others for which he wrote chapters. His book The Tyranny of Distance, written in 1966 gave Australia one of its well known phrases. His Short History of the World has reached hundreds of thousands of readers in many languages. A televised history of Australia, The Blainey View was shown in ten episodes on ABC television in 1982. He was the first chancellor of the University of Ballarat. He was chairman of the governing body of various national institutions, including the Australian Council for the Arts and the National Council for the Centenary of Federation. At the United Nations in 1988, he was awarded a gold medal for excellence in the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

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2009 – "Family History & Women's History: Critical Intersections" - Prof Patricia Grimshaw  

Prof Patricia Grimshaw is a Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne where since 1977 she taught Australian, Pacific & United States history. She has undertaken extensive work in gender history and was co-founder of Women Studies at the University. In 1985 she co-edited Families in Colonial Australia and in 1999 co-edited a special edition of the Women's History Review, 'Revisiting Motherhood: New Histories of the Public and Private'. She authored/ce-edited Women's Rights and Human Rights: International Perspectives (2001), Creating A Nation (1994/2006) and Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures (2007).

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2008 – "Moving Stories: British Migrant Women & Family Life in Post-War Australia" - Prof Alistair Thomson

Alistair Thomson completed his BA degree in Arts at Melbourne University in 1982, followed by an MA and DPhil in History at the University of Sussex in England.  He was active in the community history and oral history movements, and taught for 16 years at the University of Sussex where he became Professor of Oral History, Director of the Centre for Life History Research and a Trustee of the Mass-Observation Archive.  Between 1991 and 2007 he co-edited Oral History, the Journal of th Oral History Society of Great Britain, and is currently President of the International Oral History Association.  He returned in 2007 to take up a position at Monash University.

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2007 – “Speed-relating: family history in a digital age” - Prof Graeme Davison

Prof Graeme Davison has been a Professor of History at Monash University since 1982 and is now Director of the Monash University London Centre. He has published widely in Australian history where his publications include The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne (1978, revised edition 2004), The Unforgiving Minute (1993), Car Wars: How the Car Won Our Hearts and Conquered our Cities (2004) and, as co-editor, The Oxford Companion to Australian History (1998). He has been keenly interested in various aspects of public history, including historic buildings, museums, archives and family history.

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2006 - “Great Expectations and Hard Times” - Helen Doxford Harris O.A.M.

Helen Doxford Harris, O.A.M.; Grad.Dip.Arts (History) is a professional genealogist, historian and author. Her research interests focus on 19th century goldfields, police and criminal records, and she has an abiding interest in cemeteries. She is an Honorary Life Member and former Councillor of the A.I.G.S. and founder of the Avoca and District Historical Society and was awarded her O.A.M. in 1993 for services to community history.

2005 - “Their Family Histories Liveth for Evermore – Remembering the Great War” - Dr Tanja Luckins

Dr Tanja Luckins is a La Trobe University historian whose main interests are in cultural history and memory and the intersection of life-stories and history. She is the author of The Gates of Memory: Australian People’s Experiences and Memories of Loss and the Great War (2004); and co-editor of GO! Melbourne in the Sixties (2005) and Dining on Turtles: Food, Feasts and Drinking in History (2007). She is currently writing a history of the pub in Australia with Diane Kirkby.

2004 - “Family History and the changing face of State Archives since 1974 and into the future” - Shauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks has worked in government for over 33 years primarily in libraries and archives including the State Library of Queensland, the John Oxley Library in Brisbane, the Queensland State Archives, the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, before moving to Melbourne in February 2003. Shauna is currently Senior Manager, Access Services with the Public Record Office Victoria with responsibility for Reference Services (reading rooms in Ballarat and Melbourne), Public Programs, Exhibitions, Online Projects, Website, Repository, Archival Records, Regional Archives and Koorie Records.

2003 - “Changes and Challenges at The State Library of Victoria” - Anne-Marie Schwirtlich

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich was CEO and State Librarian of the State Library of Victoria from 2003-2011. Her background includes Archives Administration which she taught at the University of NSW; various Senior positions at the National Library and the Australian War Memorial; and Acting Director-General of the Public and Reader Services Branch of the National Archives in Canberra.

2002 - “Point Henry: The Right Place at the Right Time” - Susie Zada

Susie Zada has been researching her family for almost 40 years and working as a genealogist, historian and researcher for 15 years. She completed an Associate Diploma in Local and Applied History at University of New England (Armidale) in 1996.She has researched and published five books as well as historical interpretive displays, CD-ROMS, indexes, databases and extensive web sites on local history. Formerly she was President of the Richmond & Burnley Historical Society, President of the Bellarine Historical Society, and editor of the Geelong Historical Society journal.

2001 – “It Gets Easier Every Day” - Michael Gandy

Michael Gandy has been Chairman of the Society of Genealogists in London, and Editor of their Journal The Genealogist; Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies and is the author or many publications. He is best known for his work on London and Irish ancestors, and on the various non-Anglican religious groups, particularly Catholics, Quakers and Huguenots

2000 – “Amusing Recollections of a Bungling Researcher” - Sue McBeth

Sue McBeth is a well respected genealogist and member of the Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents (AAGRA), who has presented papers at numerous Congresses and Conferences. She is the Australian representative of Scotlands People and heads a genealogy business and bookshop. Among some notable achievements Sue has made many important contributions to the world of Family History, including the development of Digger™ for CD ROM and Flikker™ for CD ROM publication of images. She has been a sessional tutor of Family History for C.A.E. A member of the PROV Advisory Council, the Koorie Record Taskforce and a Judge of the Local History Grant Program administered by Arts Victoria.

1999 - “Ship Ahoy” - Ken Shewan

Ken Shewan was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Ken served on a variety of vessels including tankers, cargo, passenger, survey ships and a couple of trips in “square rigged” sailing vessels. He saw war service in South Vietnam as a Royal Naval Reserve Officer. He was a Marine Surveyor in the Middle East and Africa for eight years living mainly in Iran and Greece. He came to Australia in 1982 as a marine surveyor and was a weights and measures Inspector for 10 years to 1995. Currently his is employed as Senior Calibrator. He is also engaged as Weekend Manager and event co-ordinator at the POLLY WOODSIDE Melbourne Maritime Museum, and is Shipping Consultant to the State Library of Victoria and the National Trust.

1998 - “Impact on Family Historians of the Redevelopment of The State Library of Victoria” - Frances Awcock

Frances Awcock was the Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian of the State Library of Victoria in 1998, having previously been Technical Services Director at the State Library Victoria from 1983 to 1988, and Director of the State Library of South Australia from 1988 to 1997. She was in charge of the State Library’s redevelopment program.

1997 - “Partnerships and Plans – The Public Record Office Victoria 1977 - 1996 - The Don Grant Years” - Ross Gibbs

Ross Gibbs, PSM is currently Director-General of the National Archives of Australia. Ross’s career in archives began in the Australian Manuscripts Collection of the La Trobe Library in the State Library of Victoria in the early 1970’s. From 1991 until early 2003 he was Keeper of Public Records and Director of Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) .