2022
Applications open
17 May 2021 to 16 July 2021

About the Fellowship

Man and woman at event in LibraryThe Merewether Fellowship encourages and supports the use of the State Library of NSW's collections for the study and research of nineteenth-century New South Wales history. The Merewether Fellowship was established in 2007 through the generous benefaction of Edward John Merewether, great-great-nephew of David Scott Mitchell. The Fellowship celebrates the centenary year of Mitchell’s bequest of his collection to the Library.

The principal purpose of the Merewether Scholarship is to encourage and support the use of the State Library of NSW collections for the study and research of Australian history in writing and publication amongst scholars, researchers and the wider community, including internationally. The specific focus of the Merewether Scholarship will be for research associated with the nineteenth-century history of NSW.

It is expected that Merewether Scholarship recipients 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.
  • 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.

Mr Merewether, who died in 2008, was a longstanding and generous supporter of the Library. He both volunteered at the Library, and donated historical family memorabilia and documents associated with the Merewether and Mitchell families.

Past Fellows

2021

Dr John Zubrzycki, for his project: Circus to Shakespeare: Australian popular culture in Asia, c.1850-1910.

2020

Dr James Boyce, for his project: The Macquarie Years: the context for colonial Australia

2019

Dr Rebecca Hamilton for her project: Conservation mapping: a case study of Sydney’s 19th century water reserves.

The project will draw on historic data to try to determine the actual history of places now regarded as natural and historic landscapes. In part, she will test claims of ‘pristine’ environments thought to have escaped European development.

2018

Dr Julie McIntyre, for her project: Settlers in the Empire of Science: William Macarthur, James King and Australian agricultural modernity.

This project will examine the work of William Macarthur and James King, well-connected mid-nineteenth century agriculturalists and experimenters. Both men were at the intersection of imperial science, international networks and local innovation, yet their importance in introducing new ideas and methodologies in addressing plants, soils and cultivation is no longer recognised. 

2017

Dr Stephen Gapps, for his project: The Sydney Wars: a military history of the Sydney Region 1788 to 1816 which used the Library's collections of official records and colonial diaries.

This work developed 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.

2016

Dr Peter Hobbins, for his project: Curios and Curiosity: James Bray and the sunset of amateur science in colonial society.

This project examined the life of James Bray, a self-taught naturalist who ran the Museum of Curios in Sydney in the 1890s. Working with Bray’s drawings in the Library, Hobbins looked at the blurry boundaries of amateur, academic and commercial science in nineteenth-century Sydney. Venomous snakes and the impact of venom, was a pre-occupation of Bray’s and some of this project examined this area of Bray’s research. 

2015

Dr Matthew Fishburn, for his project: "I reckon on being the greatest curiosity of the whole": a study of the John Septimus Roe letters.

Fishburn worked closely on the archive of some 201 letters written by Roe between 1807 and 1829, which the Library purchased in 2010. Nearly a third of these letters discuss in detail NSW with Phillip Parker King and their circumnavigation of Australia.

2014

Dr Nancy Cushing, for her project: The Skeleton at the Feast: Australian animals as food and non-food in the colonial period.

In this project Cushing established how meat eating came to define the Australian diet, and how that meat eating came to be narrowed down to beef and mutton. This is a sophisticated project, and the first discrete part of a larger idea about the impact of meat on the Australian environment and culture.

2013

Dr Alecia Simmonds, for her project: Matching, Hatching and Dispatching: love, law and family in New South Wales 1788-1901.

This was a longitudinal analysis of the legal regulation of intimacy in NSW from 1788 to Federation, and combined archival research with legal doctrinal analysis to explore how the intimate lives of women and men shaped and were shaped by colonial family law. 

2012

Samia Khatun, for her project: Gaudy Hawkers and Floating Shops: Indian hawkers and inland rivers of New South Wales, 1880-1914.

This research examined Indian hawkers along the Murray River. Such traders constituted the inland distribution networks of the Asian import/export businesses that mushroomed in the port of Sydney in the final decades of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century. 

2011

Jesse O'Neill, for his project: Print Culture in New South Wales: 1795-1835, an early history.

2010

Dr Jodi Frawley, for her project: Science, Pastoralism and Environmental Change in Nineteenth-Century New South Wales

2009 (Inaugural)

Dr Peter Tyler, for his project: Research into the History of the Royal Society of New South Wales.