Professor Anne O'Brien


BA Adelaide, PhD Sydney

School of Humanities & Languages


9385 2384
368 Morven Brown
Fields: Historical Studies
Tags: Understanding Australia's Past, Understanding Past Societies

Anne O’Brien is Professor of History in the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW. Her interests in social and cultural history focus on Australia in its transnational context.

She is the author of three monographs, Poverty’s Prison: The Poor in NSW, 1880-1918, God’s Willing Workers: Women and Religion in Australia and Philanthropy and Settler Colonialism. She has written numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of women’s and gender history, religious history and welfare history.

Her current major research project is 'Homelessness and Homeless People: an Australian History', a project undertaken with Dr Heather Holst, Deputy CEO of Launch Housing, for which they were granted an ARC Discovery Project Grant 2018-20. She is currently supervising/co-supervising 3 PhD students and has supervised/co-supervised 15 completed PhDs.



    Book Chapters

    • O'Brien A, 2019, ''Homeless women': Histories of emotion and justice', in Aggleton P; Broom, A; Moss J (ed.), Practical Justice: principle, practice and social change, Routledge, New York: London, pp. 25 - 37,
    • O'Brien AP, 2015, 'Australian Methodist Women', in Methodism in Australia, edn. Ashgate Methodist Studies Series, Ashgate, pp. 211 - 224,
    • O'Brien AP, 2014, ''Christian Church Workers'', in Smart J; Swain S (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Australian Women's Archives Project, Melbourne,
    • O'Brien AP, 2013, 'Religion', in Macintyre S; Bashford A (ed.), The Cambridge History of Australia : Volume 1 Indigenous and Colonial Australia, edn. 1st, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 414 - 437,
    • O'Brien AP, 2012, 'Women in the churches before 1992: 'No obtrusive womanhood'', in Lindsay E; Scarfe J (ed.), Preachers, prophets and heretics: Anglican women's ministry, edn. Original, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 30 - 54
    • O Brien AP, 2012, 'The 'fully-ordained meat pie problem': women church workers and leadership under Australian democracy', in Francis R; Grimshaw P; Standish A (ed.), Seizing the initiative: Australian women leaders in politics, workplaces and communities, edn. Original, The University of Melbourne: eScholarship Research Centre, Melbourne, pp. 293 - 300
    • O Brien AP, 2011, 'Maude O'Connell and 'the need of the mother'', in Davis F; Musgrove N; Smart J (ed.), Feminists, Firsts and Founders: women leaders in twentieth century Australia, edn. Original, e-Scholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne., Melbourne, pp. 105 - 129
    • O Brien AP, 2009, ''The Irish origins of Australian Catholicism' [7000 words] in James Jupp (ed) The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia, Cambridge University Press, 2009', in Jupp J (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Religion in Australia, edn. Original, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 235 - 245
    • O Brien AP, 2008, 'Saving the `Empty North`: Religion and Empire in Australia', in Carey HM (ed.), Empires of Religion, edn. Original, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 177 - 196
    • O Brien AP, 2006, '`A little lower than the angels`: WK Hancock and professing history in Australia', in Agendas for Australian Anglicanism: essays in honour of Bruce Kaye, edn. 1, Australasian Theological Forum, Hindmarsh, South Australia, Australia, pp. 171 - 191
    • O Brien AP, 2002, 'Anglicanism and gender issues', in Kaye B (ed.), Anglicanism in Australia, edn. First, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, pp. 270 - 292

    Journal articles

    • O’Brien A, 2018, 'National Shame/National Treasure: Narrating Homeless Veterans in Australia 1915–1930s', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 49, pp. 167 - 183,
    • O'Brien A, 2017, 'How History Can Challenge the Narrative of Blame for Homelessness', The Conversation,
    • O'Brien AP, 2017, 'Homeless women and the problem of visibility: Australia 1900-1940', Women's History Review, vol. 27, pp. 1 - 19,
    • O'Brien A, 2016, 'Catholic nuns in transnational mission, 1528-2015', JOURNAL OF GLOBAL HISTORY, vol. 11, pp. 387 - 408,
    • O'Brien A, 2015, 'Hunger and the humanitarian frontier', ABORIGINAL HISTORY, vol. 39, pp. 109 - 134,
    • O Brien AP, 2012, 'Dorcas and the Do-nothings: Reflections on Histories of Women in the Church', Church Heritage, vol. 17, pp. 242 - 248
    • O'Brien A, 2011, 'Pauperism Revisited', AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, vol. 42, pp. 212 - 229,
    • O Brien AP, 2011, 'Humanitarianism and reparation in colonial Australia', Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol. 12,
    • O'Brien A, 2008, ''Kitchen Fragments and Garden Stuff' - Poor law discourse and indigenous people in early colonial New South Wales', AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, vol. 39, pp. 150 - 166,
    • O Brien AP, 2008, 'Charity and Philanthropy', Sydney Journal, vol. 1, pp. 18 - 28
    • O Brien AP, 2008, 'Creating the Aboriginal Pauper: Missionary Ideas in early 19th century Australia', Social Sciences and Missions, vol. 21, pp. 6 - 30
    • O Brien AP, 2008, '`All creatures of the Living God`: Religion and Leprosy in turn of the century Queensland', History Australia, vol. 5, pp. 1 - 16
    • O Brien AP, 2008, 'Missionary masculinities, the homoerotic gaze and the politics of race: Gilbert White in Northern Australia', Gender and History, vol. 20, pp. 68 - 85
    • O'Brien A, 2007, 'Rethinking blasphemy - Religious ideas in the writings of W. K. Hancock, manning Clark and russel ward', AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, vol. 38, pp. 228 - 243,
    • O Brien AP, 2007, 'Rethinking Blasphemy: religious ideas in the writings of WK Hancock, Manning Clark and Russel Ward', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 38, pp. 228 - 243,
    • O'Brien A, 2006, 'Faith, fetes and domesticity in Australia', WOMENS HISTORY REVIEW, vol. 15, pp. 719 - 735,
    • O Brien AP, 2003, 'Australian Women Missionaries', Locality, vol. Winter, pp. 5 - 7
    • O'Brien A, 2002, 'Spirituality and work - Sydney women, 1920-1960', AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, vol. 33, pp. 373 - 388,
    • Carey HM;Breward I;Doumanis N;Frappell R;Hilliard D;Massam K;O'Brien A;Thompson R, 2001, 'Australian religion review, 1980-2000, part 2: Christian denominations', Journal of Religious History, vol. 25, pp. 56 - 82,
    • O Brien AP, 2001, 'Revisiting `family values`', Values, pp. 1 - 4
    • O'Brien A, 2000, 'Militant mothers: faith, power and identity in the mothers' union in Sydney, 1896-1950.', Womens Hist Rev, vol. 9, pp. 35 - 53,
    • O Brien AP;Carey HM;Breward I;Rutland SD;Thompson RC, 2000, 'Australian religion review, 1980-2000, Part 1: Surveys, bibliographies and religions other than Christianity', Journal of Religious History, pp. 247 - 362
    • O Brien AP, 2000, 'Playing second fiddle for Christ`s sake: Women, religion and history', Women-Church, pp. 13 - 16
    • O Brien AP, 1997, 'Sins of Omission: Women in the History of Australian Religion and Religion in the History of Australian Women', Australian Historical Studies, pp. 126 - 134
    • O Brien AP, 1996, 'The case of the cultivated man: class, gender and the Church of the Establishment in interwar Australia', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 2, pp. 242 - 256


Teaching and Supervision

ARTS2270 Australia 1788-1900: Invasion to White Australia
ARTS1271 A History of the Present: the World Since 1900

ARTS4247 Research Skills in the Humanities

Consultation Times

During Term 1 2019Anne is normallyavailable for consultation on Monday 12-2
or at other times by appointment

Related links

Related news