Aus map - Federation of Australian Historical Societies Tasmanian Historical research Association Royal Historical Society of Queensland Royal Australian Historical Society Canberra & District Historical Society Royal Historical Society of Victoria History Trust of South Australia Historical Society of the Northern Territory Royal Western Australian Historical Society


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Structure and Committee

Under its constitution, the Federation has eight members, each of which is the major historical society or organisation in an Australian state or territory, and most of which in turn have affiliated historical societies within their state. In all, there are about 1,000 historical societies in Australia under the umbrella of the Federation.

The Executive is composed of the President, two Vice-Presidents, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer (all elected biennially at the Annual General Meeting), together with the Immediate Past President.

The FAHS employs a part-time Executive Officer (who is also the Public Officer) and Online Outreach Officer.

Associate Professor Don Garden (RHSV)

FAHS President

Associate Professor Don Garden is an environmental historian who now works as a consultant historian after teaching at the University of Melbourne for many years. He holds honorary positions at the University of Melbourne and the University of New England. Since 2013 has been President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, and is a member of the Kew, Newstead, Nepean and Rye historical societies in Victoria.

Esther Davies (CDHS)

FAHS Vice-President and CDHS Delegate

Esther Davies is a retired history teacher and former President of both the Canberra and District Historical Society and the ACT History Teachers' Association. She currently works part-time as a school archivist.

Dr Ian Jack (RAHS)

FAHS Vice-President and RAHS Delegate

Ian Jack is Senior Fellow at St Andrew’s College in the University of Sydney. He has retired from the Department of History in that university, where he was a co-founder of Historical Archaeology in 1974. He was President of the Royal Australian Historical Society from 2003 until 2010. His six-year stint on the Heritage Council of NSW ended in 2005. He is currently a member of the History Advisory Panel of the Heritage Council. He is author of Exploring the Hawkesbury and Macquarie’s Towns; co-author of Australian Pioneer Technology, Industrial Archaeology in Australia, Regional Histories of New South Wales and Australia’s Age of Iron: History and Archaeology; and many articles on heritage and local history.

Dr Helen Henderson AM (RWAHS)

FAHS Hon. Secretary

Prior to her retirement twelve years ago, Helen was a Senior Researcher in Epidemiology in the Health Department of Western Australia. She has a PhD in Anthropology. She was elected to the Council of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society in 1996 and became Vice-Chairman in 2001, a position which she still holds. She has been actively involved for varying periods in: the History Council of Western Australia; the Historical Records Rescue Consortium; Museums Australia (WA); and the FAHS, of which she has served as Vice-President and President. Helen and her husband, Bill, are currently preparing a biographical account of the life and scientific contribution of Augustus Oldfield (1821-1887) who was an important botanical collector in Australia in the mid-nineteenth century.

Nick Drew (RWAHS)

FAHS Hon. Treasurer

Since leaving full time employment with Wesfarmers, Nick is now on various committees for the Royal Western Australian Historical Society being a Councilor, Tours & Events, Promotions & Marketing and the Affiliated Societies. Nick is also Treasurer of the Friends of Battye Library, Perth and the History Council of WA

Dr Ruth Kerr OAM(RHSQ)

FAHS Immediate Past President

Dr Ruth Kerr is an experienced historian in mining, regional, economic and company history, having written several books on these subjects. Ruth has worked in the area of native title, been an archivist at Queensland State Archives and is currently in Strategic Policy in Primary Industries and Fisheries in Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. Ruth is a long term member of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland Council (first female president,1992-1995), an Adjunct Professor of History at University of Queensland, member, past President of Professional Historians Association (Queensland), past President of the FAHS (and Committee member since 1986), and a member of several historical societies.

Margaret Anderson (RHSV)

RHSV Delegate

Margaret Anderson joined the Council of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in 2015 and is a member of the Heritage Committee. Margaret researches and writes on women’s history, the history and demography of the family and on aspects of public history and museums. She has held senior positions as a public historian in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria, and is currently General Manager of the Old Treasury Building, Melbourne. She is a Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies and is a member of the Board of the History Council of Victoria and of the International Standing Committee on Museum Definitions and Futures, of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

Colin Beard (HSNT)

HSNT Delegate

Colin is a Bushman-Scientist (Surveyor, Hydrographer and Engineer) and later an ICT Professional as an Analyst/Programmer and Award-winning Systems Architect MACS (Snr).  Parallel to this professional career he also served 15 years with the Scout Association of Australia and 16 years on the Board of a major Australian Credit Union FAICD (Dip).
Colin is a 4th Generation Territorian from two Territory pioneer families who came to Darwin (1893) and Daly River (1911).  He has travelled extensively over, across and around the Territory and has visited most Historical, Cultural and Heritage sites.  He has been an active Member of the Historical Society of the Northern Territory and of the National Trust of Australia (Northern Territory) for more than 30 years.

Judith Dunn OAM(RAHS)

RAHS Delegate

Judith is a Past President of Parramatta & District Historical Society and served on the Society Council for 23 years. She initiated the Parramatta Historic Graves Committee thirty years ago, remains its’ Convenor and is author of the Parramatta Cemetery Series, a series of five books recording the oldest remaining cemeteries in Australia. Two other books reveal her interest in convict women. After retiring Judith re trained in Tourism and has been Course Co-ordinator at TAFE in Certificate IV Tourism (Tour Guiding) besides conducting her own Heritage Tourism business. Judith is currently a Councillor at the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Caroline Homer (THRA)

THRA Delegate

Elisabeth Jackson (RHSV)

RHSV Delegate

Elisabeth completed a degree in History at University of Melbourne followed by a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at RMIT. Her working life was spent in libraries and she was Manager, Library Services at Moonee Valley City Council in Melbourne. She was also active in local government and was a Councillor at the City of Brunswick for twelve years. After retirement she re-kindled an interest in history and has been a member of the RHSV Council since 2013. She is currently Vice-President. In 2016 she was one of a group of people who compiled the book Remembering Melbourne which was based on images from the RHSV collection.

Ms Amanda James (HTSA)

HTSA Delegate

Amanda has been working in community history for many years, both within community museums and for History SA. For History SA Amanda manages the museum standards program and grant programs, coordinates a range of collaborative history and historical collections management projects, and provides advice, project assistance and skills development to South Australia’s community history network. She has a keen interest in the sustainability of regional museums and collections and the value of these in preserving and presenting South Australian historical stories.

Hon. Robert Nicholson (RWAHS)

RWAHS Delegate

Bob Nicholson has spent his life in the law. After six years as foundation Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia, he returned to private legal practice in Perth. In 1986 he was appointed to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In 1988 he became a justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. In 1995 he became a member of the Federal Court of Australia. After reaching the compulsory retirement age in 2007 he became President of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and now continues on the Council as Past President. In addition to articles on the law, he has published several papers on issues of historical moment concerning the law.

Maryanne Pender (RHSQ)

RHSQ Delegate

Maryanne was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland in 2013. She has recently completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in history. Prior to resuming her studies, Maryanne worked with the Queensland Government, primarily in program management and development. She is also a qualified teacher.

Julia Ryan (CDHS)

CDHS Delegate

A retired senior secondary history teacher and ACT Department of Education curriculum adviser, Julia Ryan was a founding member of the ACT History Teachers Association in the 1960s. Co-convenor of the Association’s professional development committee for many years she co-organised the History Teachers Association of Australia’s 2001 Conference to celebrate the Centenary of Federation. Since 2003 she has been a Council member of the Canberra & District Historical Society and, on their behalf, has managed such ACT Heritage Grant Projects as Settler Society on Record and Canberra History Gateway.  

Emerita Professor Kay Saunders (RHSQ)

RHSQ Delegate

Emerita Professor Kay Saunders AM is a Fellow of Australian Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of Royal Historical Society and Fellow of Royal Anthropological Institute. She is a Fellow of Queensland Academy of Arts and Science. Her most recent book is Deadly Australian Women.

John Davies

Executive Officer

John Davies is retired from the Australian Public Service, where he was an Information Technology Officer. He has been working for the FAHS part-time since 2006.

Dr Bernadette Flynn

Online Outreach Officer

Bernadette Flynn holds a PhD from the University of NSW. She taught in Humanities and Digital Media at Griffith University and has designed interactive visualisations of the UNESCO Mnajdra temples in Malta (iCinema and Heritage Malta). In recent times she managed Pioneer Park Museum in Griffith and is currently a museum officer with the National Trust. Bernadette publishes in the areas of interpretative cultural heritage and digital media and is producing a book about the social history of Spencer on the Hawkesbury River.