Applications closed

About the Fellowship

Picture of man on stained glass window

Stained glass window in Mitchell Reading Room

The specific focus of the Australian Religious History Fellowship is for the study and research of any aspect of Australian religious history of any faith. It is understood that the successful fellow will more than likely need to consult archives and records outside the Library, however it is expected that the fellow will use the Library’s resources to a significant degree. 

The Australian Religious History Fellowship was established in 2010 with a generous endowment from an anonymous benefactor.

It is expected that Australian Religious History Fellows will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Agree that the fellowship is a priority during their tenure and that a concentrated period of effort, in the one year tenure, will be made to deliver the fellowship.
  • Consider the Fellowship a priority during their tenure and that a concentrated period of effort, in the one year tenure, will be made to deliver the Fellowship.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.


Dr Matthew Grubits, for his project: “Two Young Clergymen”: Francis Cusack Russell and Peter Teulon Beamish in New South Wales.


Dr Patricia Curthoys, for her project: Anglican White Female: a study of Rose Selwyn


Dr Damian Gleeson, for his project: Irish-Australian Catholicism in the Penal Colony of New South Wales: Evidence from the Therry collection.


Dr Jan Lanicek, for his project: The Holocaust as an Australian Story: An intimite history.


Associate Professor Clare Monagle, for her project: Christian Consciousness Raising: Magdalene Journal and Australian feminism.


Dr Stephen Jackson, for his project: Sunday Morning Empire: Protestantism and Empire in the British World, 1880-1970.

The project will consider how Protestant Sunday schools helped frame an imperial identity in the early part of the 20th century, across the Anglo-world, and Australia in particular.


Dr Tim Stanley, for his project: Religious print after the Enlightenment.

This project will focus on the Library’s Richardson Collection of bibles and examine how the printing of religious texts was modified for an Australian audience. This project will also look at how the distribution of religious texts in Australia informed the thinking around section 116 of the Australian constitution, which deals with the Commonwealth’s ability to control religious observance.


Dr Charmaine Robson, for her project:  The Little Flower Black Mission: Catholic redress and masculine piety.  

The founding of the Little Flower Black Mission in 1935 near Alice Springs  was part of a new phase of Catholic missionary activity directed towards Indigenous Australians. 


Dr Catherine Bishop, for her project: "She has the Native Interests Too Much at Heart": Gender, religion and race in the life of Annie Lock, Missionary to Aborigines 1903-1937.

Dr Bishop's project was a biography of the United Aborigines Missionary, Annie Lock, a singular individual who is perhaps best known as the whistle-blower of the Coniston Massacre, but was also an active and controversial missionary across Australia. 


Dr William Emilsen, for his project: Christianity and Indigenous Culture in Transition: a history of Goulburn Island (Warruwi), 1916-2016.

This project explored the history of Christianity on Warruwi from its inception in a manner that allows the Indigenous voice to speak. It was conducted in collaboration with the leaders of the Marung People on Goulburn Island, and with the support of the Northern Regional Council of the Aboriginal and Islander Congress of the Uniting Church. 


Dr Peggy James, for her project: The Shaping and Communication of Australian Buddhist Thought: the contribution of Marie Byles.

While the Marie Byles papers are a constant reference point for environmental history researchers, this aspect of her life as a leading Australian Buddhist thinker and writer had never been examined. Byles was an early and influential Buddhist, and was instrumental in establishing a Buddhist Society of NSW in 1952.


Dr Gwenda Baker, for her project: Harold Shepherdson: pioneer aviator, missionary and visionary worker with Indigenous people in Arnhem Land.

This project looked at the life of Harold Shepherdson, a significant Arnhem Land Methodist Missionary from the 1930s to the 1950s, who strongly advocated for Aboriginal independence and encouraged Aboriginal occupation of their own land to ensure connection and rights to ownership and management.


Matthew Allen, for his project: Protestant Ethics and the Creation of a Secular State in New South Wales, 1820-1836.

This project examined the way Christian ethics informed the public writings of three newspaper editors in early colonial Sydney - Robert Howe, Ralph Mansfield and Edward Smith Hall – and how their faith contributed to the development of a strong and articulate liberal society during this period.

2011 (Inaugural)

Dr Patricia Curthoys, for her project: The (Protestant) Church and the Great Depression.