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Time is like a river:  Writing histories of rivers and their people

This session is presented by the History Council of New South Wales as part of
the Newcastle Writers’ Festival.


Chaired by Associate Professor Nancy Cushing (UoN), Dr Mark Dunn, Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens (UNSW) and Dr Julie McIntyre (UoN)  will meet in-person to speak about writing histories of rivers and their people.  

This discussion will span writings about the Dyarubbin (Hawkesbury), Coquun (Hunter) and Northern Rivers.

When |  Saturday 2 April 2022 at 11.30am-12.30pm.

Where |  Hunter Room, Newcastle City Hall, 290 King St, Newcastle NSW 2300

On the Panel |


Note:  no bookings necessary.  Seats allocated on first come, first served basis.  Be early!

(Image:  USQ Photographers)

Associate Professor Nancy Cushing |

Nancy Cushing is Associate Professor in History at the University of Newcastle on Awabakal and Worimi country. An environmental historian whose interests range from coal mining to human-other animal relations, she was co-editor of Animals Count: How Population Size Matters in Animal-Human Relations (Routledge 2018) and is currently writing a monograph on the history of crime in Australia.  Nancy is on the executives of the Australian Aotearoa NZ Environmental History Network and the Australian Historical Association and is a member of the NSW History Council’s grants committee.

(Image:  Joy Lai)

Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens |

Grace Karskens is Professor Emerita of History at the University of New South Wales. Her books include The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney (1996), Inside the Rocks: the Archaeology of a Neighbourhood (1999) and The Colony: A History of Early Sydney (2009). Grace’s latest book People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia (2020) is a deep history of Dyarubbin, the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.

People of the River won the Prime Minister’s Award for History, the NSW Premier’s Award for Australian History, the Henry A Wallace Award for Best Book in Agricultural History (US) and co-won the Ernest Scott Prize for Australian History.

(Image:  Alex McIntyre)

Dr Julie McIntyre | 

Julie McIntyre, a historian at the University of Newcastle, has written two award winning books on winegrowing, making, selling, and drinking as a window to human transformations of nature. She is bringing a multi-faceted lens onto the past gained from writing wine history to writing a new history of Australia’s place in the world for an American publisher.

(Image:  Dr Lisa Murray)

Dr Mark Dunn |

Mark Dunn is a public historian who has worked for over twenty years in heritage and archaeology. He completed a PhD in History in 2015 at the University of New South Wales on the colonial Hunter Valley. He is the former chair of the Professional Historians Association of NSW & ACT and was the C.H. Currey Fellow at SLNSW in 2016.

Mark is descended from convicts who settled in the Hunter Valley in the 1820s. The Convict Valley is his first book and covers the history of the Hunter Valley in NSW between 1790 and 1850, investigating the lives, interactions and interconnectedness of the convict, Aboriginal and settler communities during this frontier colonial period.

Click on the image above to explore the Newcastle Writers’ Festival site and program.