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Personal profile


I am a public historian who specializes in the history of the family, motherhood, poverty and sexuality. 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 is a community history of the Spit Swimming Club at Balmoral Beach. I have just finished writing a history of motherhood in Australia from the Dreaming to the Present for the National Library of Australia and I am continuing to research and write 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 recently established the Centre for Applied History 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. At a time when government and public policy formation is under increased scrutiny and challenge, the Centre aims to provide an historically informed perspective on contemporary public policy issues. The Centre will promote greater awareness of the context of current decision making, and highlight the vital role of longstanding social and industrial organisations in promoting community welfare and inclusive policy outcomes.

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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

eighteenth century Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
illegitimacy Social Sciences
twentieth century Social Sciences
philanthropy Social Sciences
nineteenth century Social Sciences
book review Social Sciences
genealogy Social Sciences

Projects 2011 2019

Research Output 2000 2016


Evans, T. 2016 Swimming with the Spit: 100 years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club. Evans, T. (ed.). Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing, p. 13-51 39 p.

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

No limits: the Spit Club's female champions

Evans, T. 2016 Swimming with the Spit: 100 years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club. Evans, T. (ed.). Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing, p. 101-135 35 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Swimming with the Spit: 100 years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club

Evans, T. (ed.) 2016 Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing. 208 p.

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book/Anthology

twentieth century