History Week 2016: Neighbours

3-11 September 2016  |  #HistoryWeek16

The theme of neighbours is crucial to our understanding of the past’s impact on the present. It includes stories of individuals, families and communities living near one another and links between adjoining suburbs, regions and countries. As the success of the Australian television program Neighbours shows, the theme has long been a significant component of popular culture. It shaped imagination and memories, created identities and was a source of both conflict and friendship.

How important were class, the economy, gender, governments, the media, race, religion and sport in the formation of ideas regarding neighbours? How have attitudes regarding a nation’s geographic neighbours determined defence, foreign, immigration, refugee and trade policies? Did new types of communication and transport from the nineteenth century onwards radically alter how neighbours and neighbourhoods were perceived? In 2016 History Week focuses on these and other related questions.

Follow the conversation and share your experiences using the hashtag #HistoryWeek16.

Download our History Week postcard (PDF 976 KB) or poster (PDF 2 MB). If you would like copies of the postcard or poster, please contact us.

NOTE: To register an event and promote it as part of History Week, your organisation must be a member of the History Council of NSW.

History Week is supported by Arts NSW

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Activist, Phyllis Johnson, 1940s, image courtesy Phyllis Johnson

Phyllis Johnson, 1940s, image courtesy Phyllis Johnson

Annual History Lecture

Neighbours – and heroes

When: Wedesday, 7 September 2016
Where: The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Contact: 02 9252 8715, admin@historycouncilnsw.org.au
Tickets: $45 (HCNSW members), $50 (General admission)
Book online

How have Australians thought of themselves as ‘neighbours’ in the Asia-Pacific region? Professor Heather Goodall will look at how many Australians have had the courage to cross borders – taking risks to build relationships across old borders and new borders, cultural borders and ethnic borders. Goodall notes that some may define Australia by previous policies such as the White Australia exclusions, but history can tell a very different story about those who stood against these restrictions. Isabel Flick and Kevin Cook, Indigenous activists who stood up for their people, were also not afraid to build alliances across racial lines to work with activists from Australia and overseas. There have also been people like Fred Wong, Molly Bondan, Clarrie Campbell, Danny Singh, Lucy Woodcock and Phyllis Johnson. These are the real neighbours – the heroes we can learn from.

Heather_Goodall-200x200Heather Goodall is Professor Emerita in History in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Technology Sydney. She has published collaborative life stories with Indigenous people in Australia, and also on environmental history and on decolonisation across the Indian Ocean.

The Annual History Lecture is one of the History Council of NSW’s flagship events. First held in 1996, it was inaugurated by the History Council of NSW to underline the importance of history to current issues and concerns.

Presented by the History Council of NSW. Supported by Sydney Living Museums and De Bortoli Wines.


Image: Benjamin Thorn with staff at Nowra Library 2015, image courtesy of Derrilin Marshall

Speaker Connect

During History Week 2016 the History Council of NSW is once again offering the Speaker Connect program, which aims to connect professional and academic historians with suburban and regional organisations. Member organisations in regional and suburban NSW are offered the opportunity to receive speakers during History Week. The History Council of NSW will provide event management and publicity support and cover the speakers’ travel costs.

In addition, the History Council of NSW is seeking talented historians and postgraduate students to travel to community and local government organisations in regional and suburban NSW to deliver exciting and thought provoking talks that illuminate the theme of Neighbours. Presentations are held during History Week (3 – 11 September 2016).

The History Council of NSW offers an honorarium to all speakers for their services. Alternatively, speakers can contribute their fee as a donation towards program costs. The History Council of NSW will cover all travel costs for speakers. Applicants must be members of the History Council of NSW. Applications close 30 June 2016. 

About History Week

Now in it’s 19th year, History Week is a significant event that engages local communities on the NSW cultural calendar. Each year members of the History Council of NSW collaborate to host events that explore a particular theme. From talks to exhibitions, tours to online engagement, there is something for everyone. With over 100 events across NSW, History Week is about celebrating the best in community and professional history, highlighting its role
in our cultural life and inviting people to get involved. During History Week, community groups, local councils, libraries, archives, museums, universities, cultural institutions, professional and amateur historians across NSW open their doors to present the latest in today’s historical research – fascinating stories, artefacts and experiences about both our past and ourselves today.


To showcase history in an innovative and exciting format


To provide educational experiences that reach out to students from primary to tertiary level and promote lifelong learning opportunities


To attract new audiences to history, demonstrating that history is exciting, relevant and all around us


To present audiences with the rich and diverse history relevant to all aspects of our community

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