Russel Ward Annual Lecture

Professor R.B. Ward, Professor of History 1967–1979The Russel Ward Annual Lecture honours the memory and legacy of one of the University's most renowned scholars, Emeritus Professor Russel Braddock Ward. Ward taught at UNE from 1957, and was Deputy Chancellor of UNE from 1981–1989.

Russel Ward authored a number of distinguished works, including The Australian Legend (1958), A Nation for a Continent (1977) and Finding Australia (1987). He delivered the inaugural lecture on 25 August 1986. Formerly sponsored by the UNE Union, the Russel Ward Annual Lecture is now maintained by Humanities.

Past speakers include Henry Reynolds, Ann Curthoys, Ken Inglis, Barry Smith, Stuart Macintyre, Geoffrey Blainey and Gillian Cowlishaw.

A memorial gathering for Russel Ward was held at UNE on 18 August 1995. Russel Ward: A Celebration, (ed. C. Bridge, University of New England Union, 1996) was published the following year.

For further details, please contact Associate Professor David Andrew Roberts.


Russel Ward Lecture 2019

Portrait image of Barry Godfrey

This year’s Russel Ward lecture was presented on 16 July by visiting international historian Professor Barry Godfrey of the University of Liverpool, an expert in international crime history and partner on UNE’s Landscapes of Production and Punishment project.

“Historians are preoccupied by processes of change, and the transition of Australia from penal colony to civil society is a rich and complex story. It encompasses conquest and violence, redemption and exploitation, the growth of socio-economic infrastructure, migration, the moulding of the landscape to suit population growth, and, above all, the development and manipulation of power. So, it’s a fascinating cultural and social landscape for historians to study,” Prof Godfrey said.

“My Russel Ward lecture praises Ward for his research on the immediate post-convict period – a period which has been overshadowed by convict history – and shows how important a realistic view of convict recidivism and redemption is for contemporary penal policy. 

Listen here

Click here to listen to the Russel Ward Lecture 2019 recording.


Past Russel Ward lectures

  • 2018: Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart
    'Russel Ward, Convict History and Big Data'
  • 2017: Bain Attwood
    ‘Fifty Years On: The 1967 Referendum and Constitutional Change’
  • 2016: Anna Clark
    ‘The Many Faces of Anzac: History, Memory and Historical Consciousness?'
  • 2015: Carolyn Holbrook
    'The ANZAC Legend and the Decline of Radical Nationalism'
  • 2014: Bruce Scates
    'The Last Battle: Broken Men and Soldier Settlement in Australia'
  • 2013: Dr Nick Dyrenfurth
    'Un-Australian Mateship: A Colonial Romance?'
  • 2012: Emerita Professor Jill Roe
    'Revisiting the frontier, from Miles Franklin's Brindabella to South Australia's Eyre Peninsula' (video); Publication JACH , Vol. 15, 2013
  • 2011: Associate Professor Jim Davidson
    'Federation Australia and South Africa: The Boer War and Other Interactions'. Published in JACH, Vol. 14, 2012.
  • 2010: Professor Hilary Carey
    'Bushmen and Bush Parsons: the Shaping of a Rural Myth'. Published in JACH, Vol. 13, 2011
  • 2009: Babette Smith
    ''Convict Australia in Legend and Reality: The genius of Russel Ward'
    (published as 'Legend and Reality: The Genius of Russel Ward',  in JACH, Vol.12, 2010)
  • 2008: Richard White
    'When the bush rang with cooees'
  • 2007: Gillian Cowlishaw
    'Principles of the Present: history and anthropology in Australia'
  • 2006: Geoffrey Blainey
    'A New Look at Captain Cook: Some Reflections on Australian History'
  • 2005: Peter Read
    'Murder, ignorance and reconciliation in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1934-2004'
  • 2004: Judith Brett
    'John Howard, Slim Dusty and the Australian Legend'
  • 2003: Stuart Macintyre
    'The History Wars: Russel Ward's and ours'
    Published in JACH, Vol.4, No.2, October 2002
  • 2002: Paula Hamilton
    'Memory and History in Australia'
  • 2001: Carl Bridge
    'Anglo-Australian Attitudes. Russel Ward: Gentleman, Scholar, Atheist, Communist' Published as 'Anglo-Australian Attitudes: Remembering and Re-reading Russel Ward', in JACH, Vol.10, No.2, 2008
  • 2000: John Hirst
  • 1999: John Moses
    'The Terror of Naivety and the Arrogance of Orthodoxy: Australian Historians and the First World War'
  • 1998: Kay Saunders 
    ‘Breaking the Cake of Custom’
  • 1997: Don Aitkin
    '
    Finding a new legend'
  • 1996: Barry Smith
    'The Cattle Plague of 1865–67 and the Politicians'
  • 1995: Marilyn Lake
    'Frontier Feminism'
  • 1994: John Molony,
    '
    From legend to nationality'
  • 1993: Ken Inglis
    'Australian Legends: ANZAC and the Bush'
    Excerpt published in Australian Folklore, No. 9, 1994, pp. 135-40
  • 1992: Ann Curthoys
    'Australian legends: Histories, identities, Genealogies'
  • 1991: Henry Reynolds
    Copy held in National Library of Australia, 'Papers of Henry Reynolds', MS 9548
  • 1990: Geoffrey Serle
    '
    Reflections: The Russel Ward Lecture', copy held in papers of Hugh Stretton, National Library of Australia.
  • 1989: Isabel McBryde
    'Archaeology, History and Social Interaction: Case Studies from Aboriginal Australia'
  • 1988: Eric Willmot
    'Restructuring the First 100 Years'
  • 1987: Patrick O'Farrell
    'Kings Deposed: Irish, Catholic and Immigrant since 1788'
  • 1986: Russel Ward
    'The Back Side of the Australian Legend' (published University of New England Union, Armidale, 1987, ISBN: 0731612248)