If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


I am a public historian who specializes in the history of the family, motherhood and poverty. I am passionate about researching ordinary people and places in the past and co-creating historical knowledge with diverse communities.

My first three books were about the history of 'illegitimacy', poverty and philanthropy. My third book Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial New South Wales was a history of Australia's oldest surviving charity The Benevolent Society and I wrote this in collaboration with family historians and the charity. I love teaching and producing public history and working in teams. I curate exhibitions, write for general as well as academic readers, politicians and social policy makers and I make radio and television programs based on my scholarship. I pitch my work at a variety of audiences because my research is targeted at disrupting people's assumptions about the history of the family. It questions supposedly 'authoritative' or 'commonsensical' knowledge about family life in the past. I am committed to the democratization of historical knowledge. My last book was published by New South and was a community history of the Spit Swimming Club at Balmoral Beach. I am continuing to write a history of 'ordinary' mothers in Australia in collaboration with family historians while writing about the different ways in which family history is practiced in Australia, England and Canada.

I am Director of the Centre for Applied History: https://www.mq.edu.au/research/research-centres-groups-and-facilities/resilient-societies/centres/centre-for-applied-history@AppliedHist

The Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations (with colleagues in MMCS, Geography and Planning, Business and Economics and Ancient History) at Macquarie University established this Centre to build linkages with community and industry partners and explore the production and consumption of history outside of universities.

It aims to highlight the role of historical knowledge in shaping public policy, and the uses of history in the development of key institutions and within diverse communities. The Centre will draw upon Macquarie University's nationally and internationally recognised research and teaching strengths in the field of applied history, including family history, digital history and eResearch, cultural heritage, museums, oral history, consultancy work, history and policy, television, radio, community, regional and local history. 

To engage with us please contact me or email arts.cah@mq.edu.au

HDR supervision


Marian LorrisonThe More Things Change:” Gender Relations and Married Life Across a Time of Transformation’, commenced Feb 2017, Scholarship candidate. Awarded the History Council’s Max Kelly Prize for a Beginning Historian 2017 for a chapter from her MRes thesis. Submitted Feb 2020. 

Melanie Burkett, 'Impressions That Stick: A Critical Examination of Assisted Immigrants' Much Maligned Reputation'. She was an International Scholarship Candidate from the US. Commenced Feb 2016 – I was her Principal supervisor. She was awarded the 3-minute thesis prize in the Faculty of Arts 2016. She was also a postgraduate representative for the Australian Historical Association. (On-time completion. Awarded 2019) 

Jennifer McLaren, ‘Irish Engagement in the British Caribbean, 1780-1830’. Scholarship Candidate. (Associate Supervisor. On-time completion. Awarded 2018). 

Cameron Nunn, ‘Children in Chains: The Transportation of Juvenile Convicts 1787-1834’. PhD by publication – 6 articles accepted for publication in high-ranking journals. One of these was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association’s Jill Roe prize in 2016. Co-principal supervisor. Submitted 7 months before final due date and he’s a full-time Headmaster at a Secondary School (awarded 2018 – Principal S/V). 

Pip Gale, ‘The Medical and Social History of the Craniotomy in British Obstetrics between 1800 and 1920’ (awarded 2015 – on time completion. Principal S/V). Pip is a mature student not interested in pursuing an academic career but she is busy producing co-authored publications on obstetric history and making valuable contributions to her field.) 

Current Students: 

Michael Nicholls, 'Masculinity and the Millions Club in Interwar Australia, 1919-1939' (part-time, Associate Supervisor, Due to submit Oct 2021) 


Alexandria Hawkins, 'Breaking the Silence: A Social and Cultural History of Domestic Violence in Rural and Regional NSW, 1974-2014' (Full time, Co-primary supervisor, Due to submit March 2021)) 


Nicole Starling“A New Faith”? Religious belief and ‘moral enlightenment’ in the temperance movement in Eastern Australia: 1833-1878. (Full time, Associate Supervisor, due to submit Feb 2021) 

Karen Pack, ‘Singularly engaged: How and why unmarried, evangelical Christian women in Australia engaged in activism outside the church from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century’, (Principal Supervisor, Full time, due to submit Feb 2022). 

External positions

Executive Board of Public History Weekly

2020 → …

International Federation of Public History, Steering Committee Member


Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Tanya Evans is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Outputs

Making histories

Ashton, P. (ed.), Evans, T. (ed.) & Hamilton, P. (ed.), 2020, Berlin ; Boston: De Gruyter. 285 p. (Public History in International Perspective: Theory, Method, and Public Practice; vol. 1)

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book/Anthology

Making histories, making meories in difficult times

Hamilton, P., Ashton, P. & Evans, T., 2020, Making histories. Berlin ; Boston: De Gruyter, p. 1-7 7 p. (Public History in International Perspective: Theory, Method, and Public Practice; vol. 1).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript/introduction

A New History of the Irish in Australia

Evans, T., Nov 2019, In : Labour History. 117, p. 217-218 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article/Exhibition review

Discovering violence in the family

Evans, T., 2019, Gender violence in Australia: historical perspectives. Piper, A. & Stevenson, A. (eds.). Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Publishing, p. 20-33 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Love thy neighbour: local and community history

Evans, T., 2019, What is public history globally?: Working with the past in the present. Ashton, P. & Trapeznik, A. (eds.). London ; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, p. 239-250 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter