Two perspectives on Armidale history in focus

Published 15 April 2011

iaindavidsonThis year’s John Ferry Heritage Lecture at the University of New England will focus on the work of John Ferry himself, contrasting his approach to the history of Armidale with that of the archaeologist Heather Burke.

John Ferry, the UNE-based historian who died in 2004, published his book Colonial Armidale in 1999 – the year in which Heather Burke published her Meaning and Ideology in Historical Archaeology. Both books were based on the authors’ doctoral research at UNE into Armidale heritage and history.

Colonial Armidale examines the growth of Armidale society by focusing on its inhabitants, their sense of place and special affection for their town, the moral dimensions of the day, and the proscriptions of class and gender. Meaning and Ideology in Historical Archaeology investigates the relationship between the development of capitalism in New England and the expression of ideology in Armidale’s architectural styles.

“The two books could hardly be more different as approaches to history and heritage,” said Professor Iain Davidson, who will discuss them both – making some points about the relationship between history and heritage – when he presents the John Ferry Heritage Lecture on Wednesday 20 April.

Titled “Two tales of a city: history and heritage of Armidale by John Ferry and Heather Burke”, the lecture will be at 5.30 pm in UNE’s Arts Building (Lecture Theatre A2). Everyone is welcome to this free lecture.

Iain Davidson (pictured here), Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at UNE, was the foundation Director of UNE’s Heritage Futures Research Centre, which honours the memory and work of John Ferry by organising the annual Heritage Lecture.

A Cambridge graduate, Professor Davidson arrived at UNE 12 weeks after the University established an academic department devoted to prehistory and archaeology – later to become the Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology. When that department was absorbed into a multidisciplinary School of Human and Environmental Studies, he was appointed foundation Head of School. He held a Personal Chair at UNE from 1997 to 2008, and holds honorary positions at Flinders University, the University of Queensland and Harvard University.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1994, held the Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University in 2008-9, and was awarded the Rhys Jones Medal of the Australian Archaeological Association for 2010.