Dr Matthew Allen

Lecturer - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Matthew Allen

Phone: +61 2 6773 2125

Email: matthew.allen@une.edu.au


BA (Hons), History, University of Sydney; PhD, History, University of Sydney

Teaching Areas

CRIM 104 Deviance

HIST310 – Being Bad: Sinners, Crooks, Deviants and Psychos

HIST313 – Crime, Protest and Reform in the British World, 1780-1840

HIST554 – Imagining Australia: Nation, Empire, Sovereignty

History Honours Coordinator

Research Interests

Dr Matthew Allen is a Historian and Criminologist whose diverse research is all focused on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century British world and particularly colonial New South Wales. He is currently writing a history of alcohol in the colony which will explore the political symbolism of both celebratory drinking rituals and the regulation of public drunkenness in the period 1788-1856. Another major project, supported by a University Research Support grant and a BCSS Seed Grant, examines the changing nature of deviance in New South Wales through a quantitative and qualitative study of magistrates and summary justice in the era of gubernatorial government, c.1810-1850. He is also researching secularisation and the role of religious faith, and especially protestant dissent, in the emerging colonial public sphere, c.1820-1840.  All of these projects share an interest in understanding the unique and extraordinary transition of New South Wales from penal colony to responsible democracy, and the way that this process was shaped by the conflict between liberal ideals and authoritarian controls within the British world.

Supervision Areas

History of crime and deviance; history of colonial NSW; history of popular culture; history of Australian politics; history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain.

I’m especially interested in supervising students interested in the history of crime in the British world, broadly conceived. Interested students would identify a specific crime, or an aspect of policing and punishment and research its history within a specific jurisdiction and time period. For example, you could study the history of the criminalisation of marijuana in twentieth-century Australia, the history of vagrancy in nineteenth-century England, or the history of flogging in colonial NSW. If you have an interest in understanding the origins of our criminal justice system, feel free to contact me and discuss your ideas.

Service Roles

School of HASS Honours Coordinator

Book Review Editor, Journal of Australian Colonial History

UNE Representative, History Council of New South Wales


Public Speaking

  • ‘Commissioning Evidence: Deconstructing the Bigge Archive’, Colonialism and its Narratives: rethinking the colonial archive in Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, December 2018.
  • ‘Sober and Orderly – A Short History of Policing Public Drunkenness in New South Wales’, ANZ Society of Criminology Conference, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, December 2018.
  • ‘Surveillance and Reform in Theory and Practice: Policing a Convict Colony, New South Wales, 1788-1809’, Eyes and Ears of Power. Surveillance, History, Privacy. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, September 2018.
  • ‘Toasting the Governor: Drinking as Political Performance in Colonial New South Wales’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, July 2018.
  • ‘Popular Culture as Political Performance: The Meaning of Public Drinking in Colonial NSW’, NSW History Week 2017: Pop!, Camden Library, Sydney, September 2017
  • ‘Counterfactual History’ – Exploring New Horizons in History Extension, Australian Independent Schools Conference Centre, Sydney, June 2017.
  • ‘Samuel Marsden’s Neighbours – A Magistrate and the Construction of a Neighbourhood in Parramatta’, NSW History Week 2016: Neighbours, UNE Future Campus, Parramatta, September 2016.
  • ‘Temperance and the Invention of Australian Masculinity’, Voyages & Visions: A Symposium in Honour of John Gascoigne and Ian Tyrell, University of NSW, Sydney, July 2016.
  • Bigge Data: Official Inquiry, Summary Offences and the Construction of Colonial Crime’, Digital Panopticon: Penal History in a Digital Age, University of Tasmania, Hobart, June 2016.
  • ‘Samuel Marsden Lays Down the Law: Eighteenth-Century Justice in Nineteenth-Century New South Wales’, Law's Empire or Empire's Law? Legal Discourses of Colonies and Commonwealths, ANZ Law and History Conference, Coffs Harbour, December 2014.
  • ‘Disorder and Disease: the Risks of Consuming Alcohol’, State, Society, Stigma: Rethinking Disease in a Global Age, Monash University, June 2014.
  • ‘Drink and Deviance in Colonial NSW: Magistrates and the Construction of a Responsible Society’, Scholarly Musings, Mitchell Library, Sydney, May 2014.
  • ‘Drunken gentlemen?  Honour, respectability and drunkenness in Colonial NSW’, Crossing Cultures: Gender, Space and Honour in Colonial Societies, University of Sydney, Sydney, December 2013.
  • ‘Social Mobility and the Transformation of Summary Justice in NSW, 1820-1840’, Motilities and Mobilisations, Australian Historical Association Conference, Wollongong, July 2013.