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August 20 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

$10 – $20

Renovation or Revision: (re)writing Indigenous and Institutional Histories

We are thrilled that Dr Ross L Jones will deliver the 3rd Hugh Anderson Lecture in the RHSV’s Distinguished Lecturer series. 

Eric Hobsbawm wrote that national histories comprise ‘anachronism, omission,  decontextualization and, in extreme cases, lies.’ If we substitute ‘nation’ with ‘university’ does the truth hold, especially for foundational institutions in settler colonies, such as the University of Melbourne? In this lecture Dr Jones will take a number of case studies highlighted in his latest publication Dhoombak Goobgoowana and ask what this work has accomplished and whether it encourages a radical re-thinking of the role of institutional histories. Along the way he hopes to explain the strong connections between an eighteenth-century cockney pedestrian, a leading twentieth-century Australian psychologist, Indigenous knowledge and Hugh Anderson’s historical project.


Dr Ross L Jones BA (hons) Dip.Ed. (Melbourne) M.Ed.Stud. PhD (Monash), Senior Research Fellow in the Indigenous History of the University of Melbourne Project in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. The outcome of this project is the recent publication of, Dhoombak Goobgoowana: a History of Indigenous Australia and the University of Melbourne, volume one: Truth (eds Ross L. Jones, James Waghorne and Marcia Langton) Melbourne University Press: Carlton, 2024. Volume 2 ‘Voice’ will be published in 2025. A free e-book is available from the MUP website here.

Ross studied in the History School and Education Faculty at the University of Melbourne and then taught for two decades in secondary schools in Australia and the United Kingdom. He then completed a Master of Educational Studies and a PhD at Monash University, the latter on the eugenics movement in Victoria.

After teaching the histories of medicine and biology in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne, he took up an ARC postdoctoral position in the History School at the University of Sydney which culminated in, amongst other publications, Anatomists of Empire: Race, Evolution and the Discovery of Human Biology (2020). In 2016 he was awarded the Redmond Barry Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria to write on the history of tuberculosis. He has held honorary positions at the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney and La Trobe University variously in Medicine, Law and History departments. Ross’s research interests and publications range across medical and educational eugenics in Australia and the US and UK; the history of human anatomy, anthropology and race theory; the development of public education; medical biography and public health policies. He was commissioned by the Melbourne Medical School to write Humanity’s Mirror: 150 years of Anatomy in Melbourne (2007). He has given numerous keynote and invited presentations at local and international conferences. Ross has also been regularly involved in all forms of media as a public historian, on screen and as a researcher, including for Who do you think you are? on SBS. He has 90,000 readers for articles in The Conversation and has been invited to talk for local and national radio on many occasions. He has also prepared and participated in documentaries for ABC Radio National.


Hugh Anderson (1927-2017) was a scholar of formidable breadth, productivity and versatility. While it is as a folklorist that he is arguably best known both in Australia and abroad, Anderson’s prolific output also included biography, bibliography, history, school textbooks and documentary collections. His range of interests was very wide: Anderson seemed as comfortable in writing about John Pascoe Fawkner as Squizzy Taylor, as at home with an Aboriginal gumleaf player and a Sydney street poet as with the exquisite verse of John Shaw Neilson or the stately poetry of Bernard O’Dowd. Anderson’s historical and biographical writing incorporated many of the materials, perspectives and insights derived from folklore studies, and he treated literary creativity as central to telling the Melbourne, Victorian and Australian stories. Anderson’s boundary-riding between history, biography, folklore and literature was remarkably productive for him, and it was not unusual among writers with his radical-nationalist politics in the middle decades of the twentieth century. (An edited version of material written by Professor Frank Bongiorno)


This event is offered both in person at the RHSV and also via ZOOM. Those who are attending by ZOOM will be sent their log-in details 24 hours prior to the event.

As with all RHSV events, we serve refreshments from 5:30pm until 6pm when the lecture will start. 6pm is also when the ZOOM broadcast will start.


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Member - in person
For members of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria who will be attending the event in person at the RHSV's Drill Hall
$ 10.00
Member - on ZOOM
For members of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria who will be attending the event via ZOOM
$ 10.00
Non Member - in person
For those who are NOT members of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria who will be attending the event in person at the RHSV's Drill Hall
$ 20.00
Non Member - on ZOOM
For those who are not members of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria who will be attending the event via ZOOM
$ 20.00


August 20
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
$10 – $20
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV Gallery Downstairs
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9326 9288