Current History Research

Illustration of 19thC lady and gentlemen

Nineteenth Century

The Nineteenth-Century Studies Network

The Nineteenth-Century Studies Network is a broad-based, interdisciplinary community of scholars whose research and teaching encompasses various aspects of the 'long nineteenth century' (1789-1914).  The community networkaims to consolidate and enhance the existing expertise of UNE scholars in this field, with a view to establishing and strengthening cross-disciplinary connections, and raising awareness of the university's particular talents in Nineteenth-Century Studies.

Members of the Network include Dr Matt Allen, Dr David Kent, Dr David Roberts, Dr Richard Scully, and Dr Nathan Wise


Illustration of two men drinking from long neck bottles

[Detail] Real life in Sydney (c.1830)

The Governance and Symbolism of Drinking in NSW, 1788-1856

This research explores both drinking culture and the regulation of alcohol in colonial New South Wales.  I am interested in understanding both how the consumption of alcohol was governed and controlled and how drinking rituals ordered social interaction within this experimental society.
(Image Courtesy of State Library of NSW)

For further information contact Dr Matt Allen


An illustration of a priest and a judge standing back to back at a pulpit one holding a cross the other a hangman’s noose

Flogging Parson

Summary Justice and the Criminological Imaginary in NSW, 1815-20

This research uses the largest surviving collection of summary court records from early colonial New South Wales to explain how crime was managed and understood within a convict society, and more broadly, the British world during a period of criminological reform.  I am especially interested in the magistracy of the so-called ‘flogging parson’, the Reverend Samuel Marsden.
(Image Courtesy of British Museum)

For further information contact Dr Matt Allen


Illustration of rocket ship with a planet in the background

Science Fiction

Aspect of the Cold War through Two Childrens Novels

My current project is looking at an aspect of Cold War cultural history, specifically two series of 1950s children's science fiction novels, the first by popular 'Biggles' author W.E. Johns, and the second the 'Simon Black' books by the well-known Australian children's author, Ivan Southall.

For further information contact Dr Erin Ihde


Front of Saumarez Homestead

Saumarez Homestead

Three decades of National Trust management of Saumarez Homestead and the imminent bicentenary of Oxley’s traverse of the north make it timely for a roots and branch review of the formation and development of the property which is the key to Armidale and its evolution.  Recent pinpointing  of the first nine out-stations facilitates analysis and interpretation of the little documented Dumaresq phase (1834-1856).  This is fundamental to understanding the distinctive nature of sheep and wool pastoralism in New England.

The 2016-2017 Council of Reconciliation exhibit in the Thomas House has prompted a new dialogue with  local communities about indigenous/non-indigenous relations which seem to evidence a ”considerate and largely conciliatory” approach by Henry Arding Thomas (1857-1874) which in under investigation.

These and other factors will deepen and extend the heritage, conservation and volunteer recruitment/training activity of Saumarez Homestead and the National Trust whilst reinforcing and promoting UNE’s regional links.

For further information contact Dr John Atchison