Professor Grace Karskens

Professor
BA MA PhD Sydney
School of Humanities & Languages

Contact

02 9385 1673
340 Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Historical Studies, Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Tags: Understanding Australia's Past, Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology

Grace Karskens teaches history in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wales. Her research areas include Australian colonial history, urban history, cross-cultural history and urban environmental history. Grace is interested in promoting historical understandings and awareness to wide audiences and has served as a Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and of the Dictionary of Sydney. Her books include Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood and the multi-award winning The Rocks: life in early Sydney. Her latest book, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for non-fiction. Grace was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2010. At the moment she is completing her next book People of the River to be published by Allen & Unwin.

Publications

    Books

    • Karskens GE, 2009, The Colony: A history of early Sydney, 1st, Allen & Unwin, Sydney
    • Karskens GE, 1999, Inside the Rocks: the archaeology of a neighbourhood,, Original, Hale and Iremonger Publishers, Sydney
    • Karskens G, 1991, Holroyd A Social History of Western Sydney, UNSW Press
    • Karskens GE, 1988, Cox's Way: An Historical and Archaeological Study of Cox's Road and Early Crossings of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, 1, Lands Department of New South Wales, Sydney

    Book Chapters

    • Karskens G, 2012, 'Naked possession: Building and the politics of legitimate occupancy in early New South Wales, Australia', in European Expansion and Indigenous Response, pp. 325 - 369
    • Karskens G, 2011, 'The early colonial presence, 1788–1822', in The Cambridge History of Australia, pp. 91 - 120, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHO9781107445758.008
    • Karskens GE, 2010, 'Introduction', in Ashton P; Butler Bowden C; Cossu A; Johnson W (ed.), Painting the Rocks: The Loss of Old Sydney, edn. first, HIstoric Houses Trust of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. 11 - 13
    • Karskens GE, 2006, 'Making City Lives: Urban Achaeology and Australian Social, Cultural and Urban history', in Green A; Leech R (ed.), Cities in the World 1500-2000, edn. 1, Maney, UK, pp. 269 - 281
    • Karskens GE, 2003, 'The archaeology of cities: what is it we want to know?', in Murray T (ed.), Exploring the modern city: recent approaches to urban history and archaeology, edn. First, Historic Houses Trust (NSW), Sydney, pp. 87 - 111
    • Karskens GE, 2001, 'Small things, big pictures: new perspectives from the archaeology of Sydney`s rocks neighbourhood', in Mayne A; Murray T (ed.), The archaeology of urban landscapes: explorations in slumland, edn. Original, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 69 - 85
    • Karskens GE, 1998, ''The Great North Road: Historical Overview Convict Trail Project, 1998, 6-28', in Banks L (ed.), Exploring the Great North Road: 1998 Forum Papers, edn. 1, Convict Trail Project Inc, Sydney, pp. 6 - 28
    • Karskens GE, 1998, 'Sydney', in Davison G; Hirst J; Macintyre S (ed.), Oxford Companion to Australian History, edn. 1, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 623 - 624
    • Karskens GE, 1992, 'Spinning Yarns: An Oral History of Working Life at Bonds Cotton Spinning Mill, Pendle Hill, 1923-1988', in Shields J (ed.), All Our Labours: Oral Histories of Working Life in Twentieth Century Sydney, edn. 1, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 10 - 46
    • Karskens GE, 1989, 'The House on the Hill: The State Conservatorium and `First Class Music' in New South Wales', in Coltheart L (ed.), Significant Sites: History and public works in New South Wales, edn. 1, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, pp. 121 - 141
    • Karskens GE, 1987, 'Between City and Country: 1920s Concord', in Kelly M (ed.), Sydney: City of Suburbs, edn. 1, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 125 - 148

    Journal articles

    Conference Papers

    • Karskens GE, 2006, 'Urban People, Urban Places, Urban Resilience: A paper in honour of Pat Troy', in Vulnerability in Australian Cities: Towards Sustainability and Security, Vulnerability in Australian Cities: A Symposium in Honour of Pat Troy, Brisbane, pp. 1 - 20, presented at Vulnerability in Australian Cities: A Symposium in Honour of Pat Troy, Brisbane, 05 - 05 May 2006, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237620475_Delivered_at_Vulnerability_on_Australian_Cities_Towards_Sustainability_and_Security_a_Public_Symposium_Brisbane_5_May_2006
    • Karskens GE, 2005, 'State of Australian Cities Environment Stream: Rapporteur's Report', in State of Australian Cities 2005, Urban Research Program, Griffith University, Brisbane, pp. 1 - 5, presented at State of Australian Cities 2005, Brisbane, 30 November - 02 December 2005, https://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/81383/environmental-city-rapporteur-report.pdf
    • Karskens GE, 2003, 'The Sydney Gazette and early Sydney: exploring the 'lived' town', in Kirkpatrick R (ed.), Papers from the Australian Newspaper Press Bicentenary Symposium, Australian Newspaper History Group and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. 34 - 50, presented at Australian Newspaper Press Bicentenary Symposium, Sydney, 01 - 01 January 2003
    • Karskens GE, 2001, 'Crucial Fragments: Archives and Urban Social History', in Proceedings of the Convergence: Joint National Conference of the Australian Society of Archivists and Records Management Association of Australia, NSW Society of Archivists and Records Managements Association of Australia, Hobart, September 2001, presented at Convergence: Joint National Conference of the Australian Society of Archivists and Records Management Association of Australia, Hobart, September 2001, 01 - 01 September 2001
    • Karskens GE, 1988, 'We Thought it was Fantastic! Concord, Sydney in the 1920s', in Bairstow D (ed.), Archaeology of Colonisation: Australia in the World Context, Australian Society for Historical Archaeology, Sydney, pp. 187 - 201, presented at Australian Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, Sydney, 01 - 01 January 1987

    Reports

    • Karskens GE, 1999, The Cumberland/Gloucester Streets Site, The Rocks: Archaeological Investigation Report Volume 2 New Perspectives from the Rocks (Main Report), Godden Mackay Logan P/L, Sydney, The Cumberland/Gloucester Streets Site, The Rocks: Archaeological Investigation Reports, 1

    Other

    Recorded / Rendered Creative Works

    • Wilson L;Robertson S, 2010, Lachlan Macquarie: The Father of Australia, History Channel, Glasgow and Canberra, Editor(s): Caledonia TV; Ronin Films, Film, Duration: 01:02:00

    Edited Books

Teaching and Supervision


At present I co-ordinate and teach ARTS1190 Australian Legends: Introducing Australian Studies.

From 2019 I will be teaching a new course exploring the history of Sydney.

Consultation Times
TBA and by appointment.

Honours and prizes

2011 Best Book 2009-2010 (non-North American), Urban History Association (US)forThe Colony: A History of Early Sydney.

2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award – Non-Fiction, for The Colony: A History of Early Sydney.

2010 Elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities

2006 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New South Wales

2000 National Trust Heritage 2000 Award : Category E – Print. Joint winner with Godden Mackay Logan for Cumberland/Gloucester Street Site Archaeological Project Publications, including Inside

the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood and four academic articles.

2000 National Trust Heritage 2000 Award : Category A - Conservation-Built/Cultural Heritage. Joint winner with Siobhan Lavelle for 'Stage 1 Conservation Plan for the Great North Road'.

1998 National Christina Smith Award for Community History, for The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney.

1998 NSW Premier's Award (Community and Regional History) for TheRocks: Life in Early Sydney.

Engagement and Professional contributions

Fellow, Australian Academy for the Humanities

Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Member, Australian Historical Association

Member, Royal Australian HIstorical Society

Member, HIstory Council of New South Wales

Member, National Trust of Australia (NSW)

Visiting Fellow, National Museum of Australia

Trustee Sydney Living Museums (Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales (NSW state government appointment, 2008-2016)

Chair Curatorial and Public Engagement Advisory Committee, Sydney Living Museums

Deputy Chair The Dictionary of Sydney Inc. (member since 2006)

Member Editorial Board, Australian Historical Studies.

Judge Coral Thomas Research Award (State Library of New South Wales) 2015

Member Editorial Board, Recollections: a journal of Museums and Collections, National Museum of Australia (2008-2011)

Member Editorial Board, Journal of Post Medieval Archaeology 2003-2008.

Chair Environmental City Panel, State of Australian Cities Conference, Brisbane, 2005.

Expert Advisor Museum of Sydney, Hyde Park Barracks Museum and Susannah Place Museum

Celebrity Speaker, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Related links

Related news

Other information

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES

November 2016 ‘War, law, resistance and massacre: recovering and rethinking frontier conflict on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River 1794-1816’, The Project: History Extension Seminar, Sydney Living

Museums and State Library of New South Wales, Sydney.

October 2016 Lesley Muir Memorial Keynote Address, Royal Australian Historical Society Annual Conference, Wollongong.

March 2016 'Men, women, couples and families on Australia’s first frontier’, Makings of the City conference, Penrith.

February 2015 ‘Men, women, sex and desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier’, 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, Canberra.

August 2012 ‘Seeking Sydney from the ground up’, From the Ground Up: People and Place in Sydney’s Past Conference, Sydney

May 2012 ‘The Settler Evolution: space, place and memory in early colonial Australia’, The Colonies conference, Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Wellington

February 2010, ‘Lachlan and Elizabeth: The Power Couple of the 1810s’ Macquarie Bicentenary Address, Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and History Council of New South Wales.

June 2008 ‘Lost Geographies of A

PUBLIC LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS

September 2016, ‘Eora women fisherwomen’, for Jonathan Jones, barangal dyara (skin and bones) (art installation), Kaldor Public Art Projects, Botanic Gardens.

August 2016, ‘All that is solid melts into air: landscapes of loss and resilience at Sydney’s edges’, for Jonathan Jones, Spotfire series, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Australian Museum.

September 2013 ‘Why I Like Bad Art’, Art After Hours Celebrity Talk, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

November 2012 ‘Vanished country: the Penrith Lakes Scheme and the lost world of Castlereagh’,Lunchtime Colloquium, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich.

May 2012, ‘Paradise of Waters: The Art of Sydney Harbour’, floor talk, Art Gallery of New South Wales

April 2012, ‘Shifting the shape of Australian history: convicts, the early colonial period and the making of Australia’, 2012 Allan Martin Public Lecture, Australian National University

March 2012, ‘Secrets of the Rocks’, for Library Up Late: Sydney’s Secrets from the Dictionary of Sydney, Customs House Library, Sydney

March 2012, ‘Learning the new land: Lewin’s ecological eye’, for J. W. Lewin Symposium, State Library of New South Wales

March 2012 ‘People and country at Castlereagh’ for Above and Beyond: 11th Makings of a City History Conference: Penrith City Council, Penrith.

May 2011 ‘Voices from beneath’, presentation for TEDx Sydney, Carriageworks Redfern, online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNOPVgdpVFA

April 2011 ‘Recovering history, colliding with myth: why do true stories matter?’ True Stories: Writing History Symposium, National Library of Australia.

September 2010, ‘A new history of Sydney’, Cities Symposium, University of Sydney,

May 2010 ‘The colony and Sydney Harbour’, Sydney Writers Festival event, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney.

May 2010 ‘Governor Macquarie and the Public Good’, public lecture, Visions Symposium, History Council of New South Wales, Museum of Sydney

May 2010, ‘The Big House, the Long View’, Historic Houses Trust and Sydney Writers Festival event, The Mint, Sydney.

April 2010, ‘Lachlan and Elizabeth: The Power Couple of the 1810s’, Macquarie 2010 Event, National Trust of NSW (Hunter Region), Newcastle Town Hall.

September 2009, ‘What sort of settlement?’ public lecture for the Blackheath History Forum, Blackheath see http://www.blackheathhistoryforum.org.au/images/stories/karskens.pdf (PDF)

September 2009, ‘The Heritage of Aboriginal Sydney: Placing Lost Histories’, So, What? Public Lecture Series, University of New South Wales online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNN5nlh3pvk

March 2008, ‘Property is too sacred to be taken away…merely at the will of a Governor’: property, authority and rebellion’, paper given at the ‘Rebellion: Authority and Protest in Convict Australia’ Museum of Sydney.

December 2007, ‘Real things from the real past: journeys with artefacts’, paper presented at the National Museum of Australia.

September 2007, ‘Raising the Dead: Attitudes to Human Remains in the Sydney Region 1840-2000’ paper presented to Randwick Historical Society.

September 2006 ‘Urban People, urban places, urban resilience: history, sustainability and the future of our cities’, paper presented at the inaugural Max Kelly Forum Sydney Since the Sixties,

Sydney, 1 September, 2006.

September 2005 ‘The Legend of the Foundational Orgy’, Writing History Day, NSW Writers’ Centre, Rozelle.

September 2003, 'Resurrecting Chapman', paper given for the Historic Houses Trust Lecture Series on Jewish Convicts at the Barracks, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney.

June 2003 'Archaeological Sydney', talk for NSW History Council and Sydney City Council, 'Whose Sydney?: Reflections on the History and Memory of Sydney', Sydney Town Hall.

May 2001 'Voices from the Water's Edge: Heritage, Modernity and History', public lecture, National Trust of Australia (NSW) Lecture Series