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Weston Bate Oration & RHSV AGM

May 17 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Our AGM will run from 5pm to 6pm. At the AGM we present the RHSV financial reports for 2021 to our members, elect new Councillors and welcome our new RHSV Fellows and present the Awards of Merit, Barbara Nixon Awards and Distinguished Service Awards. We then have a short break for recharging our glasses.

The agenda and necessary paperwork for the AGM will be emailed or posted to members 14 days prior to the AGM.

The AGM is followed by the Weston Bate Oration 6:15pm -7:15pm.  Following Weston’s death in late 2017, his family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the RHSV and it is with these donations and the family’s agreement that we established the annual Weston Bate Oration, one of our Distinguished Lecturer Series.

We are delighted that Dr Andrew Lemon will present this year’s oration:


After having just published his first historical novel after four decades as a professional historian, Andrew Lemon contemplates the nature of the divide between the writing of history and the writing of fiction. Our best historians—including the late Weston Bate—are invariably outstanding writers, but why is it that historians are so rarely included when the literary world acclaims the best Australian writers? This lecture looks at the writing of Australian history as literature, and considers why journalists and storytellers customarily outsell academic historians when writing on historical subjects. Does this matter? Should aspiring historians be taught about good writing and literary technique? Has jargon and cliché prevailed in the academic teaching and writing of history?

The lecture also considers the impact of Australian novels, plays and poetry on Australians’ understanding of their history, for better and for worse. Myth prevails over accuracy; generalisations swamp truth. Is there a remedy?

Dr Andrew Lemon AM FRHSV was president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria from 2009 to 2013, and edited the Victorian Historical Journal throughout the 1990s. He has written innumerable articles and sixteen major books, winning literary prizes and commendations. His topics range from local history, schools and education to biography and Australia’s worst shipwreck. His epic three-volume social and political history of Australian thoroughbred racing, was completed over three decades, Andrew’s degrees in History and English Literature were augmented by his 2004 Doctorate of Letters from the University of Melbourne recognising the body of his published work. In 2019 Andrew was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to community history and the racing industry. His latest book, based on a true story, is called The Pebbled Beach at Pentecost—a Novel.


Both the AGM and the Weston Bate Oration will be hybrid events with the option to join by Zoom. Please indicate when you RSVP whether you’ll be attending in person or via Zoom. Zoom details will be sent to attendees 24 hours prior to the event. When you RSVP below you should automatically get an email confirmation – if you don’t get the email please check your Junk Mail folder as automated emails often end up there!

You also have the option of recording your apologies for the AGM below.



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May 17
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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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