Heritage Futures Research Centre


The Heritage Futures Research Centre was founded in 2001 to consolidate the University's range of expertise and research relating to the natural and cultural history and heritage of regional Australia, and to facilitate the sharing of values, information and expertise among scholars, professionals and the broader community.

HFRC includes active researchers from a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, as well as Higher Degree Research students and Associate Members from community organisations, local government and the general public.

The Centre promotes research and consultancies that strengthen Australia's social and economic fabric, as well as enhancing rural and regional sustainability and the development of regional communities. Using a broad, collaborative and practical approach to history and heritage, much of our research impacts on issues of tourism, environmental sustainability and development, and enhances community identity and awareness of the past.

Our interests include

  • the creation, use and implications of local and regional history and heritage, including their implications in the national and international contexts
  • the history and role of community organisations
  • indigenous, settler and immigrant heritage
  • historic objects, sites and precincts
  • commercial, industrial, agricultural, environmental, domestic, educational, political, literary and performing and visual arts heritage

Current HFRC Projects include:

Protection of Volunteers in the Workplace : a pilot study of Great Community Transport Inc, Blue Mountains & Penrith by AsPro Melanie Oppenheimer in association with Great Community Transport and funded by HACC and Transport NSW.

Glen Innes Celtic Heritage : a study of the cultural and social development of our national celtic centre, orchestrated by AsPro John Ryan in conjunction with the Glen Innes Historical Society, the Australian Standing Stones Management Board, and the Glen Innes Celtic Heritage Committee

Australian Policy and History , an online forum linking historians with policy-makers, the media and the Australian public, in partnership with Deakin University, the History Council of New South Wales and the Australian National University, with seeding funds provided by Copyright Agency Limited.

The role of Queensland Museum collections in producing knowledge of Aboriginal people from Federation to the present day : an ARC funded Linkage Project (LP0561944), conducted by Prof Iain Davidson, A/Prof Russell John McDougall

The Family Ties Project : a collaborative venture with the Inverell and District Family History Group and the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.

Different Sights: Immigrants in New England , a NSW Migration Heritage Centre and Heritage Branch, NSW Department of Planning funded project in cooperation with local historical societies and museums in New England

A Land Fit for Heroes? A Social, Cultural and Environmental History of Soldier Settlement in NSW, 1919-1939 , an ARC Linkage grant [LP0883705, A$191,092] shared by UNE and Monash University, in partnership with the State Records NSW and the Department of Veterans' Affairs

Views of Maitland: Art + History' , a series of collaborative projects  with Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Gamilaraay Resource Use Project , by Iain Davidson, Maria Cotter & Steve Porter: a project focused on the documentation of Gamilaraay people's historical and contemporary knowledge, use and management of natural resources within the Namoi, Gwydir and Border River catchments of northern NSW, funded by the Australian Research Council, Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources and UNE.

All HFRC projects

Projects in preparation

Volunteering in Regional Australia

This project examines the role of women, local communities and voluntary organisations in rural and regional Australia, focusing on the engagement and function of women's volunteer labour through key voluntary organisations such as the Red Cross and Country Women's Association. The project is orchestrated by Melanie Oppenheimer, author of Volunteering: Why we can't survive without it (UNSW Press, 2008)

Professional Engagement

HFRC has active and ongoing relationships with numerous community, business, industry, government, and professional organisations, including:

Heritage Futures Database: an ongoing development and use of an innovative relational online research database.

HFRC maintains a major online relational database which collates and promotes the data obtained from our numerous historical and archaeological projects, including the Family Ties Project, Immigrants in New England, and View of Maitland. (The data from other acquitted projects, including The McLean's Corner Conservation Project, the Saumarez Store Archaeological Survey, and the Armidale K-Mart Archaeological Project, will be online in 2010).

Centenary History of the Australian Red Cross , commissioned by the Australian Red Cross

Meals on Wheels: building towards a new social experiment for our times : An ARC Linkage Project (LP100200065, $92,673), with LaTrobe University (see UNE Press Release)