Professor Anne O'Brien

BA Adelaide, PhD Sydney
School of Humanities & Languages


9385 2384
Room 368, Morven Brown
Fields: Historical Studies, Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
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.

She is currently researching a history of the homeless in Australia. She has been the primary supervisor for 10 completed PhDs, joint supervisor of 1 and co-supervisor of 3.



    Book Chapters

    • 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



ARTS2270 Australia 1788-1900: The Fatal Shore?
ARTS2195 Anzac Revisited: Gender and War
ARTS3279 Winners and Losers: Poverty, Welfare and Social Justice in Australia

Consultation Times

During the teaching session Anne is available for consultation at the following times:
Monday 12-1
Wednesday 3-4 pm
Or at other times by appointment

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