About the Fellowship
Opening May 2023
The Fellowship encourages deep and focused research into Australian culture, history and society, drawing on Australian and international research collections. It also will promote discussion on Australian history and culture through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.
The Coral Thomas Fellowship, inaugurated in 2015 in honour of Coral Kirkwood Thomas née Patrick (1920-1996), is the most significant Fellowship offered by the Library. The Library gratefully acknowledges Rob Thomas and family, whose generosity has established it. The fellowship encourages deep and focused research into Australian culture, history and society, drawing on Australian and international research collections. It promotes discussion on Australian history and culture through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.
The Coral Thomas Fellowship will:
- Encourage deep and focused research into Australian culture, history and society, drawing on Australian and international research collections.
- Promote discussion on Australian history and culture through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.
- Enhance the national and international reputation of the State Library of NSW as an institution of major research significance.
- Actively promote the research experiences and research outcomes of the fellowship during their tenure as fellow as well as at its conclusion.
The Coral Thomas Fellowship supports research into major questions in the humanities. Cross cultural and interdisciplinary applications are welcome. Projects proposed for the Coral Thomas Fellowship need not be limited to archival research but may also employ emerging methodologies in the digital humanities. Applicants must specify a well formed research question and provide a detailed research strategy that clearly articulates proposed methodologies, key milestones, a planned timeline and major outcomes of the fellowship.
It is expected that Coral Thomas Fellows will:
- Be recognised scholars who are able to demonstrate a successful record of research, scholarship, and significant 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.
- Will consider the fellowship a primary appointment during their tenure and that a substantial proportion of at least one year in the two year tenure would be devoted to the fellowship.
- Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
- Make a major presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship. This could take the form of a lecture or lecture series, a major article, book or digital resource or other form of permanent public record agreed to by the Library.
- Engage with, and make a presentation to, Library staff so that staff will be able to benefit from their research.
- Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the Fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the Coral Thomas Fellowship.
- Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
- Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a eight-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
- Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.
Professor Sean Scalmer, for his project: A History of the Eight Hours Movement.
This project will offer the first history of the movement for the eight-hour day in Australia, from its origins until its recognition as a general industrial standard. It considers the movement's genesis, traces its mobilisation and outcomes, and ponders its memory and significance. It also critically examines the changing tactics adopted by the proponents of the eight-hour day.
Professor Sally Young, for her project: Sworn to No Masters: a corporate and political history of Australian newspapers 1941–2021.
Professor Young will, following on from her recent major work of scholarship Paper Emperors: the rise of Australia’s newspaper empires (2019), write a history of the political and corporate power of Australia’s various newspaper dynasties. This project will draw extensively on the Library’s recently acquired Fairfax Media Business Archive.
Professor Grace Karskens, for her project: The Real Secret River, Dyarubbin.
This project will use the State Library of NSW’s extensive and rich collections of manuscripts, books, images and maps to tell new cross-cultural and environmental stories about one of Australia’s most beautiful and historically significant rivers: Dyarubbin, the Hawkesbury River.
Dr Rebe Taylor, for her project: The Wedge Collection: moments of encounter on the Tasmanian and Victorian frontiers.
The Saffron Walden Museum in North Essex houses one of most significant collections of south-eastern Aboriginal wooden artefacts dating from Australia’s early colonial period. Surveyor John Helder Wedge collected the artefacts at the close of the Tasmanian Black War and in the first year of Victorian settlement in 1835.