History, Genealogy and Heritage Events

Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Victorian Expo (Geelong) - Presenters

Brad Argent

  • Ancestry.com.au

Since early 2007 Brad Argent has looked after the acquisition of Australian and New Zealand content for Ancestry.  Whilst based in Sydney, Brad is often on the road in the hunt for content and the stories it can tell.  Brad has been doing his family history for about five years (a beginner by most standards) and has discovered that all the villainy was clearly on his mother’s side of the family.

Mark Beasley

  • Geelong Heritage Centre: Discover your treasure in Victoria's largest regional archive collection

Mark Beasley has been Manager of the Geelong Heritage Centre – Victoria’s largest regional archive collection since 2007. Mark describes the collection as an unpolished gem that not only contains a wonderful collection of public & private records but also holds many ‘unique’ items that make it a remarkable family history resource. Prior to joining the Geelong Heritage Centre he was with the National Archives of Australia for 10 years based in Melbourne.

Lauren Bourke

  • Introduction to family and local history research at the Public Record Office Victoria
  • Accessing your state's archives in regional Victoria: featuring Ballarat Archives Centre, Bendigo Regional Archive Centre and Places of Deposit

Lauren Bourke has been Coordinating Public Record Office Victoria’s Community Archives programs since 2007.  Lauren currently manages the Local History Grants Program, Archival Support training program and is involved in supporting PROV’s regional archives initiatives including the Ballarat Archives Centre and Bendigo Regional Archives Centre.  Previous to this role, Lauren worked for five years in PROV’s reference services team at the Victorian Archives Centre and Ballarat Archives Centre assisting researchers in accessing the archives for family and local history research.

Anne Burrows

  • Finding families at the State Library of Victoria

Anne Burrows has been Genealogy Librarian at the State Library of Victoria since October 2000. Prior to this appointment, she worked at the State  Library of South Australia for over twenty years, including four years as Family History Librarian and three years as Manager, Published Heritage Collections. In 1994, she was co-compiler of Kith and kin : sources for family history (Adelaide, Libraries Board of South Australia, 1994). Anne is a member of the Council of the Genealogical Society of Victoria and of the Committee of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations. In 2007 Anne was elected to a four year term as the Australian representative on the Standing Committee of the Genealogy and Local History Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Anne has written articles for many historical and genealogical journals. Anne has responsibility for the services and collections of the State Library of Victoria’s Helen Macpherson Smith Genealogy Centre opened in September 2003.

Kerry Farmer

  • Tracing English ancestors
  • DNA for genealogists

Kerry worked for many years designing, writing and testing computer software. Teaching family history classes since 1997, Kerry is on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at adult education colleges and elsewhere. She currently teaches online courses in “Australian and New Zealand Genealogy” through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (see www.genealogicalstudies.com ). Kerry and Rosemary Kopittke recently wrote the book “Which Genealogy Program?” published by Unlock the Past. More recently Kerry wrote the book "DNA for Genealogists", also published by Unlock the Past. Kerry’s website is www.familyhistoryresearch.com.au. More details.

Heather Garnsey

  • Are you sure you aren't reinventing the wheel? Why you should check if the Society of Australian Genealogists already holds your family's history

Heather Garnsey has worked full-time with the Society of Australian Genealogists since 1984, where she is also a Fellow and holds the Diploma in Family Historical Studies. She regularly lectures on a wide range of family history topics and contributes a monthly genealogy column to Australian Personal Computer magazine.

Jacqui Haraldstad

  • 1942: War comes to Australia

Jacqui is Business Development Manager for Clean Cruising, and is partnering with Unlock the Past in organising and managing the Unlock the Past cruises and War Comes to Australia tour of the Northern Territory.

Shauna Hicks

  • It's not all online: where else can I look?
  • Asylums: looking for the sick, the poor and the aged
  • Google your family tree: tips & tricks

Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years primarily in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. She is currently Director of Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and a collaborative partner in Unlock The Past. Shauna has a number of tertiary qualifications from Queensland universities as well as the Diploma in Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists. She is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society; a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award and in 2009 received the AFFHO Services to Family History Award. More details.

Jenny Higgins

  • National Library: family historians' treasure trove

Jenny Higgins is the Family History Reference Librarian at the National Library. For over a decade she has assisted numerous family historians researching their origins and regularly conducts Reader Education sessions. Sharing her vast knowledge with colleagues, she recently developed and delivered a family history reference training course for National Library Reader Services staff. Originally a computer programmer, she has researched her own family history for 33 years and assisted at the local family history and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints libraries in Canberra for over 10 years. Prior to joining the National Library Jenny undertook contract family history research. In recent times, Jenny has given many talks on family history resources in the National Library's collections and about digitised newspaper content in TROVE.

Andrew Kilsby

  • Captain Octavius Skinner Burton
  • Researching Pre-Federation Military Ancestors

Andrew is an early career historian, published author and researcher.  His strengths as an historian lie with military, biographical, business and social history in the period 1850-1920, but he has wide ranging history interests across most periods. His history consulting firm, Cooee History & Heritage, was established in 2009. More details.

Rosemary Kopittke

  • Findmypast.co.uk
  • Findmypast.com.au
  • Connecting with family lines online
  • ScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research

Rosemary has been tracing her family since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician though now works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History. She has published numerous indexes but is best known for Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879. A current member of the AFFHO Council and the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of QFHS and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History. More details.

Peter Mansfield

  • Regional newspapers: a wonderful resource

Dr Peter Mansfield was formerly the CEO of three public library corporations and is a member of the Geelong Historical Society Inc. He has a PhD from Deakin University and is the author of ‘Generous Providers and Stern Custodians: the development of colonial libraries’ and ‘In Perfectly Safe Hands: local government in Geelong and District since 1836’.

Anne Major

  • Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies: a treasure trove for family historians

Anne Major is an English born experienced researcher who has played a significant role in AIGS over some 16 years. She has been a past AIGS Councillor and currently convenes two English County Interest Groups and conducts numerous individual personal tuition sessions for both AIGS members and non-members. Anne is also an accomplished speaker and spokesperson for AIGS at Libraries, Probus Clubs and other similar organisations.

Laura Miles

  • Museum treasures of regional Victoria

Details to come...

Paul Parton

  • FamilySearch: Ancestors At Your Fingertips
  • FamilySearch: More Records to More People Faster

Paul Parton is a presenter for FamilySearch in their Outreach program. He also gives technical support to 145 Family History Centres Australia-wide. He has had an interest in family history for more than 40 years. Paul was a professional trainer prior to his retirement as Pacific Area Director of Information Technology Services with FamilySearch’s parent organisation. He was also involved in the early development of data acquisition systems for Australia’s nuclear research facility.

Alan Phillips

  • 1942: War comes to Australia

Alan has been involved in local and family history since 1971. He was foundation President of the Torrens Valley & District Historical Society in 1976 and The Gumeracha and District History Centre soon after. He has contributed to, and published, a number of books and booklets on the Hannaford, Kelly and Randell families of South Australia - as well as assisting with 3 historical books on the North Adelaide Football Club. He established the following historical/genealogical services.

  • Gould Genealogy & History (1976)
  • Gould Publishing Services (1990)
  • Archive Digital Books Australasia (2003)
  • Family Photo Book (2009)
  • Unlock the Past (2009)

Kate Prinsley

  • The collections of the Royal Historical Society Victoria

Details to come...

Carole Riley

  • Social media for family historians

Carole Riley is a professional genealogist based in Sydney, Australia with a background in computer programming and an interest in using the web to further genealogical education and networking. Carole serves on the Council of the Society of Australian Genealogists  and is the Convenor of their IT Committee. She is also the founder of the Sydney User Group of The Master Genealogist  (TMG) and is currently serving as a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists . She has a Master of Applied Science (Psychology of Coaching) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, and a Diploma of Professional Counselling. Carole writes two blogs - Genealogy in New South Wales  about genealogy research in NSW and elsewhere; and Carole's Canvas , which is her personal blog about her own family history and other topics. More details.

Dr David Rowe

  • Soldier Settlement in Victoria

Dr David Rowe has a Bachelor of Arts (Architecture), Bachelor of Architecture and a PhD (Architecture) and he is the Heritage Advisor to the City of Greater Geelong and Golden Plains Shire.  David is also Director of Authentic Heritage Service Pty Ltd, a private heritage consultancy company.  Over the past 18 years, David has prepared a large range of local government heritage studies, Conservation Management Plans and other heritage assessments on thousands of places across Victoria and has authored a number of heritage publications.  He is a member of the Heritage Council of Victoria’s Technical Advisory Committee and a course presenter for the PLANET training programs offered by the Department of Planning & Community Development for planners throughout Victoria.  In 2008, he was the lead consultant in a Survey of Victoria’s Veteran-Related Heritage, prepared for the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development.  

Dr Liz Rushen

  • Researching Irish immigrant women

For many years, Liz has been researching the first wave of immigrant women to the Australian colonies. These women left Great Britain and Ireland with nothing more than the promise of a job and hope of a better life. A research fellow at Monash University, Liz is the former Executive Director of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. She is the author of Single & Free: female migration to Australia 1833-1837, (initially published 2003; new edition 2011) and co-author with Dr Perry McIntyre of Quarantined! (2007), The Merchant’s Women (2008) and Fair Game: Australia’s first Immigrant women (2010).

Bruce Smith

  • Family history and sports archives

Consultant Archivist Bruce Smith holds an MA (Archives & Records) (Monash Uni) and has over 25 years experience as an archivist and archive and records management educator.  From the early 1980s until 1990 Bruce undertook various roles at the Public Record Office, Victoria.  He then became a Lecturer in archives and records management at the University of Melbourne (1990-1994) and RMIT University (1995-2002).  Since mid 2002 Bruce has undertaken a range of archival projects and has provided training services in the archives and records management field.  Over the years Bruce has also been involved in genealogical research and has been on the Councils of both AIGS and AFFHO and has presented papers at genealogy and local history conferences and seminars. More details.

Dianne Snowden

  • Heritage tourism
  • Tasmanian family history research: repositories, records and rogues

Dr. Snowden is a professional historian and genealogist based in Hobart. She has served on the Tasmanian Heritage Council including as Interim Chair. She represents the Tasmanian Historical Research Association (THRA) on the Federation of Australian Historical Societies (FAHS). She is a Board Member of the National Trust (Tasmania), a director of the Female Factory Historic Site and a member of the State Library of Tasmanian Advisory Board. She is Secretary of the Female Convicts Research Group (Tasmania). Since 2008, she has been a member of the National Archives of Australia Advisory Council.

She is founder and convenor of the Friends of the Orphan Schools, St John’s Park Precinct, and as an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania, is working on a longitudinal study of children admitted to the Orphan Schools. In July 2010, she presented a paper at Queen’s University Belfast on the free children who accompanied convict parents to Van Diemen’s Land.

Dr Snowden has taught Adult Education classes in family history for more than 25 years and is currently lecturer for the UTAS Winter School Researching Family History. She is also a member of Founders and Survivors project team.

Dr Snowden completed her doctorate – ‘ “A White Rag Burning”: Irish Women who committed arson in order to be transported to Van Diemen's Land’ at UTAS in 2005. She is currently working on its publication. In 2008, Dr Snowden was commissioned by the FAHS to write Heritage tourism in Australia: a guide for historical societies. She is completing a history of the Rajah with Dr Trudy Cowley and working with Irish historian Joan Kavanagh on the history of the women and children of the convict ship Tasmania (2)

Kay Söderlund

  • Preservation of your records
Kay Soderlund is a professional conservator with over 30 years experience and has been working in all levels of the private sector for most of that time. She delivers workshops and presentations around Australia and is currently National President of The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM).'

Kristen Thornton

  • Regional and university libraries

Kristen Thornton is Curator and Librarian, Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Deakin University Library

Susie Zada

  • Genealogical Society of Victoria
  • Look local, it's not all on the web: regional family and local history societies

Susie Zada has been researching her family since the late 1960s and working as a genealogist, historian and researcher since 1990.  She completed an Associate Diploma in Local and Applied History at University of New England (Armidale) in 1996 and has been working in the area of the built Heritage since 1996.  Susie has been guest speaker on various topics at genealogical and historical societies and community groups across Victoria and has worked on Heritage Studies in various municipalities in Victoria. She has researched and published several books as well as historical interpretive displays, CD-Roms, indexes and extensive web sites on local history.  Susie is Assistant Library Manager at the Genealogical Society of Victoria. More details.