2017 Don Grant Memorial Lecture: Land and Families: European land settlement in Victoria 1870–1940
Dr Charles Fahey is Convener History Program, Department of Archaeology and History, at La Trobe University. He is the author of many Victorian rural histories including Gold tailings: Forgotten history of family and community on the central Victorian goldfields.
Before becoming an academic, he was employed as a historian with the Victorian Government, where he worked on the conservation of historic sites on Crown land and the history of Victorian forestry.
Exploring the topic ‘Land and families: European land settlement in Victoria, 1850–1940’, Dr Fahey discusses the range of resources that both academics and family historians can use to flesh out details provided by land files.
By focusing on the story of a particular family, the Hirds, who migrated to Victoria from rural Lincolnshire in the 1860s, Dr Fahey describes how diaries, rate books, census returns and of course births, deaths and marriage certificates can provide vital background information about life in rural Victoria.
These sources reveal the unremitting hard labour involved in living on the land, of coming to terms with the local climate and environment, of the critical role played by family and of the slow but inexorable progress achieved by Victoria’s rural farming communities.
Watch the video of Dr. Charles Fahey’s Don Grant Memorial presentation, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.