History Week: Life and Death

1-9 September 2018  |  #HistoryWeek18


History Week
is the annual, state-wide celebration of history organised by the History Council of New South Wales. 

Initiated by the HCNSW in 1997, History Week is a fantastic opportunity for member organisations, large and small, throughout NSW to engage and educate the community about the vitality, diversity and meaning of history and its practice. 

What happens in History Week?

Members apply through the HCNSW  to host history events relating to the annual theme.  Previous events have included talks and lectures, ‘behind the scene tours’ and heritage trails, exhibitions and radio features, film festivals, open historic houses and gardens, book sales and launches.

In 2018, History Week commences on 31 August with the NSW Premier’s History Awards.  Another feature event is the Annual History Lecture and Awards on the night of 4 September.  Overall, there are close to 100 events being staged throughout NSW in History Week.

How can members be involved in History Week 2018?

You and your organisation can take advantage of the week and promote your organisation by hosting an event that you create, by hosting a history speaker through our Speaker Connect program and/or attending the NSW Premier’s History Awards at the State Library of NSW and the History Council’s Annual History Lecture and Awards. Your event will form part of the HCNSW’s media campaign and be promoted in the History Week 2018 Program Calendar on our website.

What is the theme of History Week 2018?

The theme of History Week 2018 is ‘Life and Death’, which will explore life’s defining moments and the impact of death on communities across time.  This rich palette includes:

  • life’s milestones and how different cultures come to terms with death
  • how we commemorate people’s lives
  • what rituals and burial practices reveal about our relationship with and understanding of life and death
  • how death has been feared, used as a form of punishment and shattered communities
  • how communities have rebuilt after loss, shared stories across generations and inspired remembrance and creative expression.

Further details about events and how you can engage with History Week 2018 can be found below, or the interactive program button to the right.

Images: Sam Hood, PXE 789, State Library of NSW (left) and National Library of Australia (centre and right): Eugene de Balk nla.obj-137931560 and Joseph Lycett nla.obj-138501624

*your organisation must be a member of the History Council to register an event as part of History Week 2018. Registrations close 5pm Friday 13 July. For key dates and event ideas, see our History Week announcement.

ANNUAL HISTORY LECTURE & AWARDS

Warnings from the grave:

Death, glory and memory in Australian cemeteries

with Dr Lisa Murray | 6pm, 4 September, The Mint, Sydney

Cemeteries are storehouses of history and rightly form part of our national heritage. To truly understand the Australian way of death we must appreciate cemeteries as cultural landscapes, analyse the social and economic history of funerary practices and consider the fickle nature of memory and commemoration.

In our 2018 Annual History Lecture, Dr Lisa Murray will survey the history of Australian cemeteries, highlighting the central role memory has played in their fates. She will reflect upon the beauty, value and threats to our national heritage.

In addition, the History Council of NSW will present the following prestigious history awards:

  • Aboriginal History Prize
  • Annual History Citation
  • Deen De Bortoli Award
  • Max Kelly Medal

Join us for a night of history, networking and nibbles.

Speaker Connect

Each year, we offer host organisations across Sydney and regional NSW the chance to receive speakers during History Week.

Find out about our History Week Speaker Connect program or apply to host a speaker or speak during History Week.

(Applications for History Week Speaker Connect have now closed.)  Find out more about our year-round Speaker Connect program.

See previous History Week Speaker Connect events to the right.

Maud Butler: You Can’t Fight, You’re A Girl

Yvonne Fletcher is at Toronto Library this History Week to share the story of Maud Butler: a girl, disguised as a soldier, who served in World War One.

Why We Read True Crime

Woollahra Libraries will host Rachel Franks this History Week as she investigates the power and popularity of true crime.

Execution as Entertainment

Join historian Rachel Franks at Sutherland Library this History Week as she looks at ‘execution as entertainment’ through four colonial-era hangings.

In the Footsteps of Governor Macquarie

Join Pauline Conolly at Singleton Public Library in History Week as she shares the little-known history of Charles Macquarie, nephew of the famed Governor.

Veiled Warriors: Lives and Deaths of Australian Nurses in war

This History Week, Michelle Cavanagh visits Mudgee Town Hall to share the lives and deaths of Australian nurses who made the ultimate sacrifice in war.

Darling’s Suicides

Join James Dunk at Wollongong Central Library this History Week as he asks whether the actions of Governor Ralph Darling drove his employees to suicide.

Activist Commemorations: Remembering the Life of Bessie Guthrie

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts host Isobelle Barrett Meyering this History Week to explore the life, death and legacy of Sydney feminist Bessie Guthrie.

Death of men in training at the Liverpool Field Hospital in 1915

This History Week, Shoalhaven Libraries host Ian Willis as he explores the deaths of Australian Army recruits in training for the First World War.

Lest We Forget: How the Great War changed what we wore in the face of death

This History Week, Mosman Library Services host Fiona Reilly as she examines Australian clothing choices and how we honoured our dead in a changing world.

Using Oral History to inform Family History Research

Join Alison Wishart for this History Week Speaker Connect event and learn how to use oral history in your family history research. Hosted by WEA Sydney.

The impact of the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic in Australia

Join Alison Wishart as she explores the notorious influenza pandemic in Australia in this History Week Speaker Connect event, hosted by Lake Mac Libraries.

Sydney’s Lost Aquatic Centre (and zoo!): Pemberton’s Ramsgate Baths, 1924-1970

Hurstville Museum and Gallery host Dan McAloon for Speaker Connect as he shares the story of the Ramsgate Baths and its place in Sydney’s sports history.

Bushwhacker & City Slicker: songs and stories as signposts to Australian history

The History Council of NSW’s first Speaker Connect talk for 2018 will be delivered by folklorist and cultural historian Warren Fahey AM, hosted by Hawkesbury Regional Museum: Sat 28 July, 2-3pm.

Speaker Connect 2018: applications open

The History Council of NSW has opened applications for its popular Speaker Connect program for 2018. Apply to speak or to host a speaker now.

Further questions about History Week 2018?

More information is available through our frequently asked questions to the right, or contact us at programs@historycouncilnsw.org.au.

Do I have to be a History Council member to participate?

History Week events are open to the public. However, all organisations or individuals wishing to host a History Week event or take part in the History Week Speaker Connect program must be current members of the History Council of NSW. The History Council relies on the financial support of its members to deliver its annual programs. Apply to become a member here.

What makes a successful History Week event?

Successful History Week events:

  • relate to or incorporate the History Week theme
  • select a running time most appropriate for the target audience (for example, many students, full-time workers and young people are unable to attend events scheduled during the day. We advise hosts to consider running an event outside of regular office hours to attract wider audiences)
  • select a format most appropriate for the target audience (for example a lecture, exhibition, interactive experience etc)
  • are well and consistently promoted at least one month in advance and across a variety of channels, in addition to the History Council of NSW’s online channels
  • have a clear, concise and engaging event description, along with an eye-catching and relevant feature image, which entices audiences to attend
  • include clear instructions on how attendees can book or register for the event, whether this be through an online booking system, or via a contact email or phone number.
What is the History Week event registration process?
  1. All History Week event registrations must be made through our online registration form
  2. Registrations will be processed as they are received. You will be sent a confirmation email with your registration details. The contact person listed on the registration form will be the primary liaison with our staff
  3. Changes to any of these details must be sent immediately to our staff at programs@historycouncilnsw.org.au
  4. After registrations close on 13 July 2018, our staff will begin to post events on the HCNSW History Week website, starting with Speaker Connect events. A downloadable program will also be made available
  5. Events will be circulated and advertised throughout the months of July and August. Event hosts are strongly encouraged to advertise their selected event through a variety of their own channels in addition to our channels
  6. After History Week, event hosts will be approached to provide feedback on their experience of the event and its organisation and promotion. Detailed and specific feedback is greatly appreciated
  7. We will release a History Week report for download on our website.
Do you have a media pack and guide?

We have made a media pack available for our host organisations to assist in publicity. Download our logo, publicity guide and media release template below.

HCNSW logo (jpeg 62kb)
Publicity guide (pdf 172kb)

Please contact us at programs@historycouncilnsw.org.au for assistance.

NSW Government logo thumbnailHistory Week is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW

History Week partners

We are grateful to our partners, State Library of NSW, Sydney Living Museums, Macquarie University, City of Sydney and Dictionary of Sydney, and sponsor, De Bortoli Wines.

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