Associate Professor Janis Wilton

Adjunct Associate Professor - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Janis Wilton

Phone: +61 2 6773 2107



BA (Hons)(USyd), PhD (NE)


Goonoo Goonoo Station Oral History Project, Winner, Education, Interpretation and Community Engagement category, Tamworth Heritage Awards, 2016.  (Janis Wilton was the consultant oral historian for the project.)

Maitland Regional Art Gallery: National Trust Heritage Award for Interpretation and Presentation (Corporate/Government) for Maitland Jewish Cemetery Project, 2010.

Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History, 2009.

Honorary Life Membership, Oral History Australia, 2009.

Order of Australia in the General Division (OAM) for ‘service to the community as historian, author and researcher, to historical associations, and to the Chinese heritage of New South Wales’, 2006.

(with Joe Eisenberg) EnergyAustralia/National Trust Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage/Individuals for Golden Threads: The Chinese in Regional NSW Project, 2005.

Research Interests

  • oral history theory and practice
  • ethnic community and family histories
  • history and museums
  • local and community histories
  • public and applied history.


Books & Monographs

Maitland Jewish Cemetery: A Monument to Dreams and Deeds, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, 2010.

Different Sights: Immigrants in New England, NSW Migration Heritage Centre, Sydney, 2009.

Golden Threads: The Chinese in Regional NSW 1850-1950, Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 2004.

Museums and Memory, Museum of Antiquities Maurice Kelly Lecture, University of New England, Armidale, 2004.

Immigrants in the Bush, NSW Department of Education Multicultural Education Coordinating Committee and Armidale CAE, Armidale, 1988/1989. (School resource package)

(ed.) Internment: The Diaries of Harry Seidler May 1940-October 1941, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1986.

with Richard Bosworth, Old Worlds and New Australia: The Post War Migrant Experience, Penguin, Melbourne, 1984.

Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters (since 2000)

‘“The most beautiful  joss house”: Chinese temples in Emmaville and Tingha”, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, 2019 (in press).

‘People and place: local history’ in Paul Ashton, Anna Clark and Robert Crawford (eds), Once Upon a Time: Australian Writers Using the Past, Australian Scholarly Press, Melbourne, 2016, pp. 178-193.

‘Imaging family memories: my Mum, her photographs, our memories’ in Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson (eds), The Oral History Reader, Third Edition, Routledge, London, 2016, pp. 267-280. (Reprint)

‘Imaging family memories: my Mum, her photographs, our memories’ in Alexander Freund and Alistair Thomson (eds), Oral History and Photography, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, pp.61-76.

‘Oral history in universities: from margins to mainstream’ in Donald Ritchie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Oral History, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011, pp.470-489.

'A cemetery and its stories', Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, 19/4, 2010, pp. 43-68

‘Belongings: oral history, objects and an online exhibition’, Public History Review, 16, 2009, pp.1-19.

‘Telling objects: material culture and memory in oral history interviews’, Oral History Association of Australia Journal, 30, 2008, pp.41-49.

'A white Australia?' in Deborah Gare and David Ritter (eds), Making Australian History: Perspectives on the Past since 1788, Thomson, Melbourne, 2007, pp.272-279.

‘Twentieth-century immigrants’ in Alan Atkinson (eds), High Lean Country: Land, People and Memory in New England, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2006, pp.196-208.

‘Museums and memories: remembering the past in local and community museums’, Public History Review, 12, 2006, pp.58-79.

‘Generations of journeys’ in J.A. Hammerton and Eric Richards (eds.) Speaking to Immigrants: Oral Testimony and the History of Australian Migration, History Program and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, ANU, 2002, pp. 149-169.

‘The Chinese history and heritage of regional NSW’ in Ann Curthoys, Henry Chan, Nora Chiang (eds), The Overseas Chinese in Australasia: History, Settlement and Interactions, National Taiwan University and Centre for the Study of the Chinese Diaspora, ANU, Canberra, 2001, pp. 91-101.

‘Chinese immigrants in Australia’ in Daniel Snowman ed., Past Masters: The Best of History Today, Sutton Publishing and History Today, London, 2001, pp.425-434.

Other Publications  (since 2000)

‘Multiculturism’ in Armidale 150 Years, Armidale City Council, Armidale, 2014, pp. 195-197.

‘Saving relics’, Inside History, 19, Nov-Dec 2013, pp.65-66.

‘Foreword’, Byron Plains and Beyond: Inverell District pre 1910 Biographical Register, (CD), Inverell District Family History Group, 2013.

'Local history in Australia’ in Carol Kammen and Amy H. Wilson (eds), Encyclopedia of Local History, Second Edition, Lanham, Altamira Press, 2012, pp.50-52.

‘Saving our cemeteries’, Inside History, 10, May-Jun 2012, pp. 44-45.

‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery: heritage, art, history’, History (Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society), 112, June, pp. 12-13.

‘A cup of tea with … Janis Wilton’, Inside History, 11, July-August 2012, p.13.

‘Memories, voices and silences in museums’, Museums Australia Magazine, 20/1, August 2011, pp.10-13.

with Joanne Scott, Al Stein and Alistair Thomson, ‘Teaching oral history in Australian universities’, Oral History Association of Australia Journal, 33, 2011, pp. 69-75.

Intangible collection: art and memories in a museum’ in Between Past and Future - Oral History, Memory and Meaning: Proceedings of the 16th International Oral History Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, CDRom,International Oral History Association and Institute of Contemporary History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2010.

‘Jews’ burial ground’ in Hanna Kay: Undertow, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, 2009, pp. 19-22.

'Migration stories, international oral history and transnational networks', Bios, 2007, pp.230-234.

with Rosemary Block and Paula Hamilton (eds), Dancing with Memory: Proceedings of the 14th International Oral History Conference, Sydney, Australia, CDRom, International Oral History Association and Oral History Association of Australia, 2006.

‘Book taps into my own passions’, address given at the launch Katsehamos and the Great Idea by Peter Prineas, Roxy Cinema, Bingara, April 2006.

‘Tingha’s Wing Hing Long’, Locality, 11/3, 2000, pp. 22-26.

‘The walls speak, don’t they? Heritage places and contested memories: a case study’, Oral History Association of Australia Journal, 22, 2000, pp.16-23.

‘”Yum cha, ah bak”. The stories teapots can reveal: memories, museums and the Chinese in Australia’, Proceedings of the XIth International Oral History Conference, June 2000, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, 2000, pp. 1088-1092.

Non Traditional Research Outcomes (since 2000)

with Joe Eisenberg, 'Open Museums, Open Minds', Report for Maitland City Council, September 2018

with Joe Eisenberg, ‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery Interpretation Plan’, Report for Maitland City Council, June 2018.

co-curator, Passchendaele: photography and the moving image in battle (exhibition), Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 14 October 2017- 28 January 2018

Co-curator, Maitland’s Own (exhibition), Brough House/Maitland Regional Museum, 29 September-26 November 2017.

‘Interpretation Plan: Maitland Showground’, Report prepared for the Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association, Maitland, 2015.

with Kay Delahunt, Shiralee Franks, Amanda Burke, Megan Pitt and Kerrie Shaw, Goonoo Goonoo Station Oral History Project, Central Northern Regional Library, Tamworth, 2015. (Outcomes: workshop notes, report, oral history manual, oral history interviews and accompanying material catalogued and accessible online).

Maitland Regional Art Gallery: Art and Heritage Tour (app and audio tour), Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Acoustiguide Australia, Maitland and Sydney, 2014. Available as free downloads from iTunes and Google Play.

Views of Maitland (online research database), Heritage Futures Research Centre, UNE, 2009 – (ongoing).

Different Sights: Immigrants in New England (online research database), Heritage Futures Research Centre, UNE, 2008 – (ongoing)

Golden Threads: The Chinese in Regional NSW 1850-1950 (website), 2001-2006. (Archived copy; many links no longer work).

Golden Threads: The Chinese in Regional NSW 1850-1950,  (Travelling exhibition, 2001 to 2004. 17 venues in regional and metropolitan NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Funded by Visions Australia.)

with Jinx Miles and Kevin Brooks, ‘Conservation and Management Plan for Wing Hing Long and Co Store, Tingha’, National Trust of Queensland prepared for the NSW Heritage Office, 2000.

Book reviews (since 2005)

‘Visions of colonial grandeur: John Twycross at Melbourne’s international exhibitions [Book Review]’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, 18, 2016, pp.218-220.

‘Kay Dreyfus, Silences and Secrets: The Australian Experience of the Weintraubs Syncopators, Melbourne, Monash University Publishing, 2013’, Australian Historical Studies, 45/2, 2014, pp.289-290.

'Alistair Thomson, Moving Stories: An intimate history of four women across two countries, Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2011’, Oral History Association of Australia Journal, 34, 2012, pp.76-77.

'Nathalie Nguyen, Memory is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora, Santa Barbara, Praeger, 2009’, Oral History (UK), 40/2, 2012, pp.120-121

'Peta Stephenson, The Outsiders Within: Telling Australia’s Indigenous-Asian Story, Sydney, University of NSW Press, 2007’, Oral History Review, 35/2, 2007, pp.241-243.

'Sophie Couchman, John Fitzgerald and Paul Macgregor (eds), After the Rush: Regulation, Participation and Chinese Communities in Australia 1860-1940, Melbourne, 2004’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, 9, 2007.

'Rob Perks and Alistair Thomson (eds), The Oral History Reader 2nd Edition, Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2006’, Oral History, 35/1, 2007, pp.107-108.

'Paul Jones, Chinese-Australian journeys: Records on travel, migration and settlement 1860-1975, Canberra, National Archives of Australia, 2005’, History Australia, 3/1, 2006, pp.22.1+.


International Oral History Association (incl. former Council member, Vice President and President)  (
Maitland and District Historical Society
Maitland Jewish Cemetery Advisory Committee
Oral History Australia (incl. former member national committee and journal editorial committee) ( History Association (USA) ( )
Oral History Society (UK) ( )
Professional Historians Association (NSW),
Royal Australian Historical Society  (
Local Studies Strategy Committee, Maitland City Council Library (2009)
Trustee, Historic Houses Trust of NSW (now Living Sydney), 1999 to 2007.