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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

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Research Outputs

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

Australian lives: an intimate history

Evans, T., Nov 2018, In : Public Historian. 40, 4, p. 222-224 3 p.

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

Enhancing student engagement through flipping: a case study in Australian History

Evans, T., Aug 2018, In : The History Teacher. 51, 4, p. 611-638 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Genealogy and family history

Evans, T., 2018, A companion to public history. Dean, D. (ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley, p. 175-185 11 p. (Blackwell Companions to World History).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter