2017 Tom Stannage Memorial Lecture


Henry Reynolds

Tom Stannage bw

Professor Tom Stannage with his inaugural Prime Minister's University Teacher of the Year Award in 2002.

Fifty Years of Writing Australian History from the Periphery

By Professor Henry Reynolds, University of Tasmania

Henry Reynolds is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania. He grew up and was educated in Hobart and after a few years in Europe he took up a lectureship in history at the Townsville University College, now James Cook University, in 1967 remaining there until 1999. During that time he developed a strong interest in the history of settler/indigenous relations resulting in the publication of a series of books. Among his best-known titles are The Other Side of the Frontier, This Whispering in our Hearts, The Law of the Land, and Why Weren’t We Told. His books have won many national prizes. His most recent work has been about the history of war and his two most recent books are Forgotten War, and Unnecessary Wars.

I began teaching and researching Australian history fifty years ago this year. This lecture will reflect on my years as an historian. Living and working in north Queensland my interest turned to the history of race relations. At the forefront of my work was the situation of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders both in the past and the present. But north Australia also had in the nineteenth century a large Asian diaspora. Pursuing this distinctive local history forced me to question many aspects of traditional Australian historical writing. In doing so my career trajectory ran parallel with that of my near contemporary, colleague and friend Tom Stannage.

The Tom Stannage Memorial Lecture

This memorial lecture commemorates the exceptional contribution made by Professor Tom Stannage (1944-2012) to the Western Australian community. Professor Stannage was a prominent Australian historian who worked hard to foster a wider understanding of Western Australian history and heritage. He is remembered as an inspiring teacher and a passionate advocate for the study of history.