Local, Family and Applied History


Our family, our community, our locality, our region: we shape our sense of who we are partly by the people and places who surround us and with whom we live. Their stories are part of us, and to understand those stories is to understand ourselves and to imagine and explore the links between past, present and future.

The teaching of local, family and applied history at UNE has a long and distinguished history beginning with the pioneering work of Dr Lionel Gilbert at the Armidale College of Advanced Education in the early 1980s. This was arguably the first time a tertiary education institution in Australia dared to introduce these popular history areas as part of its teaching and research profile.

Over the years, the content of the courses has evolved as the subject area has encountered new issues, new debates and new methodologies.  However, the principles laid down by Lionel Gilbert in the early 1980s are still fundamental. These include:

  • Study is done by distance education.
  • Students draw on their own communities and family histories for many of their assignments.
  • Developing skills in oral history, critical reading, good writing, analysing historical sources, interpreting and displaying objects, and understanding buildings, cemeteries and landscapes are of central importance.
  • Local and family histories are placed in the context of wider Australian history and of historical developments throughout the western world


How to apply

If you would like to study Local Family and Applied History there are a number of courses in which you can enrol at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

In the course information pages listed below, see the Course Rules & Plans tab to see the recommended Program of Study for the Indigenous Studies Major.

Undergraduate Degrees

Advanced Diploma In Local, Family and Applied History

Local, family and applied history units can also be studied in the following awards:
Advanced Diploma in Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Education (Secondary Arts)
Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Practice
Bachelor of Arts with Honours

Postgraduate Coursework

Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History

Local, family and applied history units can also be studied in the following awards:
Graduate Certificate in Arts
Master of Arts
Master of History

Postgraduate Research

Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy


ARPA104 Archaeology: Studying the Human Past
HIST150 Colonial Australia
HIST151 Modern Australia
HIST165 Europe and the New World
HIST195 Asian Pasts
HINQ100 What is History?
HINQ101 The Historian
HINQ200 History: Uses and Abuses
HINQ201 Researching and Applying History
HIST330 Local and Community Histories
HIST331 War and Australian Society in the 20th Century
HIST332 History as Film
HIST333 Waking the Dead: Death, Burials and Memorials
HIST335 Heritage Conservation
HIST337 History and Museums
HIST338 Australian Frontiers; Rural and Regional Histories
HIST339 The Family in History
HIST351 Convict Australia
HIST354 Aboriginal History Since the Late 18th Century
HIST361 The Cold War and Popular Culture
HIST368 The Swinging Sixties: The 1960s in America, Britain and Australia
HIST376 Oral History

There are a number of units which complement Local, Family and Applied History, see the Course Rules & Plans tab of your enrolled course to see the recommended Program of Study for the Local, Family and Applied History Major.

Research Opportunities

Students at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level are encouraged to do research. We believe that research skills are critical for graduate employability.

Students interested in pursuing research into Local, Family and Applied History can find topics we are willing to supervise on on the Research Opportunities page.  Please contact the relevant supervisor for those interested in HUMS units.  For those interested in undertaking fourth year Honours projects contact the Honours coordinator.  For those interested in undertaking higher degree research projects (MPhil, PhD) please contact the program convenor.

Undergraduate Research Units

HUMS 301 Special Option A

HUMS 505 Reading Unit A

HUMS 507 Major Research Project

HUMS 508 Major Research Project