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Welcome to our 2017 Fellows

Explore our past: Inform our future

Last week the Library was pleased to welcome the 2017 Fellows. Seven established researchers from various universities were introduced to the Library and its staff. Honorary scriptwriter, Rachael Coopes also attended the formal induction as she will be joining the 2017 Fellows through the Education & Scholarship’s creative writing honorary program. The Library’s Fellows play an integral part in our role as a proactive partner in knowledge creation and we gratefully acknowledge the generous philanthropic support of our benefactors whose generosity maintains this prestigious program.

Find out more about our prestigious program of support for researchers.

CH Currey Fellow, Dr Breda Carty’s project, "Changing social participation of people with disabilities in 19th and 20th Century Australia" will develop an overview of the lives of people with disabilities in 19th and 20th Century Australia, seeking to identify the antecedents to Australian attitudes and practices in education, employment and legal rights and social inclusion for people with disabilities. The project will contribute historical context to contemporary discourses about disability, social inclusion and special education in Australia, especially relevant as the National Disability Insurance Scheme is rolled out.

David Scott Mitchell Fellow, Associate Professor Robert Crawford’s project, “Probing the Consumer’s Mind: The Ashby Research Service and the Post-war Australian Market” focuses on the Ashby Research Services during the period spanning 1945-72. Established by Sylvia Ashby in Sydney in 1936, the Ashby Research Service offered clients an independent market research service. While historians have noted the firm’s work in passing, its primary work for commercial companies has nevertheless remained under-examined by social and cultural historians working in the areas of marketing and the media. This project aims to redress this shortcoming by focusing on two interrelated areas. Firstly, it seeks to document the way that the Ashby Research Service operated – its organisation, its clients, and its survey processes.  Secondly, it will examine the findings of these surveys in the areas of media consumption and food consumption with a view to gaining insights into the mindset and the consumption habits of everyday Australians.  

Merewether Fellow, Dr Stephen Gapps’ project,The Sydney Wars - A military history of the Sydney Region 1788 to 1816” will develop a military history of the period of conflict between Aboriginal people and British military and para-military forces in the Sydney region from 1788 to the last known conflict in the area in 1816. Despite its importance in shaping patterns of frontier conflict after 1816, this period of ongoing guerrilla warfare has never been studied in terms of military history, nor as a war. It has never been closely analysed in terms of strategy, tactics, terrain and supply. Colonists regularly used the term ‘war’ in diaries from this period, such as David Collins noting of the Hawkesbury region in 1795 as in a state of ‘open war’. Surprisingly, a military history of this period has not appeared. The project will examine official records of the colony of NSW and examine colonial diaries prior to 1816.

Nancy Keesing Fellow, Associate Professor Lee Stickells’ project, “Aquarian Green: Building new ways of living in the 1970’s counterculture”. The 1960’s and 1970’s counterculture proposed revolutionary and alternative ways to live, work and love – and equally radical spaces in which to do that. Nothern New South Wales was a crucible for the Australian counterculture and became fertile terrain for its experimental architectures. Beyond shelter, building was a means to also materialise ideals of communal living, ecological harmony, independence from the state, individual creative expression, and alternative economies. Significant within this activity was experimentation that prefigured contemporary concepts of sustainable design and living. Approaches included designing with appropriate technologies, for self-sufficiency, and for low environmental impact. This project will draw on the unique resources of the State Library – including the recently digitised Rainbow archive oral history collections – to explore interactions between architecture and the counterculture. It will particularly highlight ways that alternative communities in Northern NSW forged new spatial vocabularies for sustainable living during the 1970’s. The project will extend and enrich historical understanding of the Australian counterculture. It will also reflect on experiments that still resonate as climate change and global urbanisation prompt an increasingly urgent rethinking of how we shaper our environment, both collectively and individually.

Australian Religious History Fellow, Dr Charmaine Robson’s (not pictured) project is titledThe Little Flower Black Mission: Catholic Redress and Masculine Piety”. In 1935 a Catholic mission near Alice Springs was established by Francis McGarry, a lay missionary, and Patrick Moloney, a priest of the men’s Catholic order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The founding of the Little Flower Black Mission was part of a new phase of Catholic missionary activity directed towards Indigenous Australians dating from the interwar period. This project examines the motivations, methods and objectives of the two missionaries with the aim of demonstrating how a particular Catholic male piety informed the work undertaken with local Indigenous groups. It also considers Indigenous responses as seen through the missionaries’ eyes and the effects on the latter’s approach to their work. The main source through which these insights can be garnered are the men’s correspondence: McGarry’s lengthy and candid letters, mostly to his family, and all located in the Mitchell Library, and Moloney’s letters, some of which are in the same repository, while others are accessible in the archives of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

The National and State Libraries Australasia Honorary Fellow is Associate Professor Isabella Alexander for her project,Commercial map-making and copyright law in Australia from 1788 to 1917”. This project examines cartography and copyright law in Australia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It interrogates the ways in which the law of copyright affected the production and dissemination of maps in the Australian colonies and how, in turn, the particular nature of maps as both physical object and source of information influenced the development of copyright law. From the early nineteenth century, disputes began to arise over the ownership and production of surveys and maps in the colony of NSW. Some of these disputes turned into formal legal proceedings which culminated in the 1917 High Court decision of Robinson v Sands & McDougall, a landmark decision which continues to be cited by courts today. This project goes behind the formal legal record to uncover the people and the maps involved, and to situate them in the context of the legal, commercial, cartographic and cultural development of Australia, producing a history of the relationship between map-making and copyright law in Australia’s history.

The State Library of NSW Honorary Fellow is Ms Jane Singleton for her project, What Katie Did! How a white woman recorded and preserved the legends and lives of Indigenous people in outback Australia, a century ago - Katherine (‘Katie’) Langloh Parker”. Ms Singleton’s project will address the life and works of Katherine Langloh Parker (often referred to as ‘Katie’) with particular emphasis on gender and its role in her own life and her relationship with Indigenous women. Placing her in the society in which she lived and worked which make her achievements all the more remarkable. Also examining why her work was presented and regarded as ‘fairy tales’ (the term then perhaps having more credibility, given the regard for British folklorist, Andrew Lang, who wrote introductions to much of her work) rather than a serious nineteenth century depiction of Indigenous culture, then little known to the non-Aboriginal world.

Finally our Honorary Scriptwriter, Rachael Coopes is exploring the tragic story of champion boxer Les Darcy. The Darcy story, which has been passed down through her family, is a passionate account of a young man, a bonafide star who became embroiled in the national conscription debate during the First World War. Coopes intends to draw from the Library’s Les Darcy collections, using oral histories, photographic archives, papers and ephemera undertaking deep research to assist her with developing the play.

The Library’s Fellowship program has been providing research funding since 1974. An extraordinary some $1 million worth of scholarship support has been provided through the Fellowship program since 1974, providing an invaluable contribution to Australian culture, history and society. This year the Library will be opening all of its Fellowship opportunities at the same time, so don’t miss out on your chance to be selected for over $160,000 worth scholarship funding. Our online applications will be open from 8 May and will close on 17 July 2017.

More information can be found on our website in the Guidelines and FAQ’s.

State Library of NSW Welcomes 2017 Fellows from left to right: Rachael Coopes, Jane Singleton, Stephen Gapps, Robert Crawford, Isabella Alexander, Breda Carty and Lee Stickells

From left to right: Rachael Coopes, Jane Singleton, Stephen Gapps, Robert Crawford, Isabella Alexander, Breda Carty and Lee Stickells.

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