Welcome to the History Council of NSW

Welcome to the History Council of NSW

Our vision is to ensure that history, in all its diverse forms, is an important part of the cultural life of the people and communities of New South Wales.

We aim to achieve this by pursuing our goals in the five key areas: advocacy, awareness, diversity, excellence and outreach.

Find out more about us, our programs or membership.

History Week 2017: Pop!

Now in its 20th year and our flagship event, History Week, engages a range of audiences by showcasing the rich, diverse history being produced by organisations and individuals across New South Wales.

History Week 2017 featured over 80 events across the state from 2 to 10 September. The History Council of NSW would like to thank its members, supporters and partners for participating. If you attended a History Week event, let us know your thoughts.

Order and Disorder: Madness in Penal NSW
Sat 25 Nov, 2pm | Moruya Museum, 85 Campbell St, Moruya | FREE

Madness was a feature of the colony of New South Wales from the start: sailors, convicts, soldiers, and free men and women. But how did they manage this madness? And what effect did that have on colonial society?

Join the Moruya and District Historical Society as they host Dr James Dunk for this Speaker Connect talk.

Find out more or book now

Order and Disorder: Madness in Penal New South Wales

Moruya and District Historical Society host Dr James Dunk for a Speaker Connect talk on madness in penal and colonial New South Wales: Sat 25 Nov 2pm.

Annual History Lecture 2017 on ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas

The 2017 Annual History Lecture, delivered by Associate Professor Michelle Arrow, featured last night on ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas: listen online here.

History Week with the Friends of Linnwood

During History Week 2017, HCNSW staff visited one of our long-time members, The Friends of Linnwood, for a special open day. Read the recap here.

Sydney on Screen: History Week at Ashfield Library

The lights were dimmed low as James Findlay took his History Week 2017 audience on a journey through Sydney’s cinematic history at Ashfield Library.

The Mirror’s Writing Women at Dickson St Space

At Dickson St Space, Cathy Perkins spoke about the fascinating women writers interviewed by Zora Cross in the 1920s & 30s for the Australian Woman’s Mirror.

History Week at Camden and public drinking in colonial NSW

Our Executive Officer visited Camden Library during History Week to hear Dr Matthew Allen’s talk on public drinking in colonial NSW.

Annual History Lecture 2017: The Popular is Political

History Council of NSW proudly presented its Annual History Lecture, delivered by Assoc Prof Michelle Arrow on Tuesday 5 September. Here’s a wrap up!

Evolution and Revolution: History Week at the Australian History Museum

During History Week 2017, the Australian History Museum and Macquarie University Library hosted an exhibition on 1960s popular culture. Browse the highlights.

History Week at the Henry Kendall Cottage and Historical Museum

Accompanying their History Week exhibition, Henry Kendall Cottage and Historical Museum also hosted Emeritus Professor Richard Waterhouse. Read the wrap up.

History Week with Lake Mac Libraries

What did it mean to be a ‘man’ in 1950s Australia? Read the wrap-up of Dr Chelsea Barnett’s History Week Speaker Connect talk, hosted by Lake Mac Libraries.

2017 History Council of NSW Award Winners Announced

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 awards – Annual History Citation, Max Kelly Medal, Deen De Bortoli Award and Aboriginal History Prize.

Michelle Arrow talks “ocker” culture on 2ser

Michelle Arrow spoke on 2ser Breakfast radio’s Nic Healey ahead of her highly anticipated Annual History Lecture as part of History Week 2017: Pop!

City of Sydney’s Late Night Library: Welcome to the Studio

Join the City of Sydney, actors and broadcasters as they explore the hey-day of radio drama of the 1930s and 40s for History Week – 6 September

History Week online program launched

We’re excited to introduce the fantastic array of members’ events celebrating History Week: Pop! View our online events list or download the program.

Hashtags, Heroines, and Histories: Popular Culture in History

Macquarie University’s Department of Modern History, Centre for Media History and Centre of Applied History present a symposium on pop culture in research.

2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards: Presentation and Launch of History Week

Join us for a glittering evening as we announce the winners of the 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards and officially launch History Week 2017.

Popping along: a walking tour of popular culture icons in North Sydney

Join Dr Ian Hoskins, from Stanton Library North Sydney, for a walking tour that explores the popular culture landmarks along the Lavender Bay waterfront.

1960s Pop Music at the Magpie Milk Bar

Come to the Magpie Café Milk Bar and listen to the music of the past while sampling milkshakes, soda pops, and sharing memories of 1960s’ Picton.

The state of New South Wales during the Great War

Sutherland Shire Historical Society host Dr Naomi Parry for a special speaker connect event revealing the impact of the Great War on the people of NSW.

University of Sydney Postcards 1899-1955 by Jill Brown

Enjoy a nostalgia-filled talk about the University of Sydney’s history through its buildings and the people responsible for them with author Jill Brown.  

Cinemas and Theatres of the Inner West 1900s-1960s Exhibition

Join historian Robert Parkinson as he discusses the exhibition ‘Popular Pastimes’ and the history of theatre and cinema in Sydney’s Inner West.

The Angels, by Bob Yates

Join Bob Yates, Australian author and long-time associate of the band ‘The Angels’ as he talks about the impact the band had on the Australian rock scene.

A Walking Tour of Dulwich Hill

Join local historian Mark Matterson for a fascinating guided walking tour highlighting the gentrification of Dulwich Hill and the rise of high rise living.

Annette Kellerman: Behind the Myth

Join researcher and curator Peter Cox for a lively History Week talk about swimmer and actress Annette Kellerman, including rare footage from the archives.

Mini Discoverers – Movie Stars

In this hands-on History Week session, children can touch and try on clothing from the past such as hats, gloves, and coats, and dress up like a movie star!

Exploring Colonial Sydney

Discover the story of Sydney from 1788 to 1900, through manuscripts, maps, paintings and artworks at the State Library of New South Wales.

Come and See the Chinese Fairyland: Sydney’s Chinese Dance Entertainment in the 1920s-1950s

Dr Mei-fen Kuo explores how dance reshaped Chinese community politics, gender relations and styles of public gathering from the 1920s to the present.

The Power of the Picture

Join Greg and Sylvia Ray while they discuss their research and work to collect and capture a photographic record of the Hunter’s social history.

Our Fabulous Fifties

Join Lake Mac Libraries for ‘Our Fabulous Fifties’, a themed talk about social history and 1950s fashion that explores the lives of women in the past.

3 BOATS Exhibition

The Manly Art Gallery and Museum host an exhibition juxtaposing an original Manly Pier dodgem boat, a Manly Junior surf-craft and Richard Goodwin’s Moth.

The Phantom Show Exhibition

Manly Art Gallery and Museum host a touring exhibition of contemporary artworks inspired by the comic book character The Phantom.

Victoria Barracks Tour with the RAHS

Take a tour with the Royal Australian Historical Society as they explore the grounds of the Victoria Barracks and the Barrack’s onsite museum.

Evolution and Revolution: Exhibition

This exhibition at the Australian History Museum explores the pop culture developments of 1960s Australian entertainment compared with that of today.

‘Stepping out on the Coast’ Exhibition and History Week Open Day

Brisbane Water Historical Society presents ‘Stepping out on the Coast’ an exhibition that highlights the biggest and best performances on the Central Coast.

Hat Box Treasures – Launch of Exhibition

The Richmond River Historical Society invites you to attend the launch of the exhibition ‘Hat Box Treasures’ to explore the history of hats in Australia.

The Good Old Bad Old Days, with Warren Fahey

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts host Warren Fahey for an eclectic romp through the colourful history of all five precincts of Sydney’s inner east.

POP goes Randwick: A History of Music in our City

This History Week, join “Little Pattie” and the Mayor of Randwick for a celebration of popular culture and music heritage in the local Randwick area.

The Buchenwald Boys

This History Week, join the Sydney Jewish Museum to hear from three Polish Holocaust survivors from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Technology on Trend at Willoughby

Willoughby City Library presents an exhibition of technology as a pop culture trend, exploring the role of technology in the development of Willoughby.

Pop! with Hurstville Museum & Gallery

The Pop! photographic exhibition shows how Hurstville locals have been influenced by both national and international forms of mass culture.

Popular Culture in Dungog: The Role of the James Theatre

Join Dungog Historical Society for an exhibition exploring the role of the James Theatre in Dungog popular culture since 1912.


The Cross Art Project and Kandos Museum present the exhibition ‘Obsolete?’ telling the stories and conflicting histories of innocently obsolete objects.

Winning Streaks Open Day: Exhibition and Open Day

Join Wyong District Museum and Historical Society as they celebrate Wyong’s colourful history of horse racing with the exhibition ‘Wyong at the Races’.

When the Beatles Landed at Mascot

Join Bayside Council to hear some of the most memorable celebrity arrivals at Sydney airport and share your own stories about popular culture in Sydney.

Unveiling of restored 1890 map of Concord

Join the City of Canada Bay Heritage Society as they unveil a restored map of Concord in the 1890s and discuss the history of the Concord community.


The State Library of NSW presents the exhibition ‘WHAT GOES POP!’ providing a window into the world of post-war popular culture in Australia.

Feminism and Popular Culture

Join the Jessie Street National Women’s Library as they showcase items from their collection which show the impact of feminism on pop culture in Australia.

Closing Time: A photographic exhibition of historic hotels and inns

Camden Libraries presents a photographic exhibition which celebrates over one hundred and fifty years of historic local public inns and hotels.

Tell Your Story: Life in Ku-ring-gai

Ku-ring-gai Gordon Library present the exhibition ‘Life in Ku-ring-gai’ which uses local oral histories to tell the history of the Ku-ring-gai area.

Chinese Influences in Australian Popular Culture

The Chinese Australian Historical Society host Claudia Chan Shaw to explore how Australia has embraced Chinese popular culture.

History Now! Mobile interactive walking tours of Leichhardt and Balmain

For this year’s History Week, Inner West Council Libraries presents an interactive mobile walking tour to celebrate the histories of the Leichhardt area.

Pop! goes the beach: Women’s Popular Culture on Newcastle’s Beaches

Join Dr Nancy Cushing as she reveals what went on at Ladies’ Bathing Places and why women so valued their time at the beach in the late nineteenth century.

Campbelltown: Remembering Our Pop Culture

Explore how Campbelltown folk have lived popular culture through the decades with a special History Week exhibition at Campbelltown Library.

Storyland by Catherine McKinnon

Author Catherine McKinnon will talk about her powerful new novel Storyland, set in the Illawarra, and discuss notions of time, place, and human interaction.

Shacks of the Royal National Park

Wollongong City Libraries presents a free podcast which explores the oral histories of owners of shack housing in the Royal National Park.

John Macarthur: Visionary or Villain?

The City of Sydney Historical Association and Patrick Dodd present a talk which asks, was John Macarthur a visionary or a villain in Australian history?

Cinema at Woollahra

During History Week, Woollahra Libraries will be celebrating its local history by screening historic footage from the National Film and Sound Archive.

Samuel Pepys: His Library and The Enlightenment

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and The Royal Society of NSW hosts a fascinating talk about Samuel Pepys and his place in Australian history.

Exploring the History of Hawthorne Canal

This History Week, join Mark Sabbolch for a guided walking tour of Hawthorne Canal and hear about the Inner West’s forgotten waterway.

Callan Park Seminar: History of the Cerebral Surgery and Research Unit and Bee Miles

Friends of Callan Park present an afternoon of talks about the history of psychiatry in NSW with Dr Richard White and Associate Professor Robert Kaplan.

There are two ways to support the work of the History Council of NSW – become a member and/or donate.

We offer membership benefits including special ticket offers, promotional support, professional development and networking events, the opportunity to register an event for History Week and participate in Speaker Connect, and more.

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