Doing Women’s Legal History – History@Newcastle Free Public Seminar

Research Seminar Series 2017


Doing Women’s Legal History
by Professor Rosemary Auchmuty
(University of Reading)

When: Friday 15 September 2017 @ 10AM
Where: Cultural Collections, Level 2 Auchmuty Library UON
Free Public Seminar

Please join us on Friday 15th September at 10am in Cultural Collections for the next in our History@Newcastle seminar presentations. Professor Rosemary Auchmuty from the University of Reading will discuss her research into women’s legal history and biography. Morning tea will follow — all welcome!


Doing Women’s Legal History

Women’s Legal History is relatively new in the UK but there has been an upsurge of interest lately with the approaching centenaries of women’s getting the vote (1918) and admission to the legal profession (1919).  There are also interesting projects currently underway in Australia and in the US.  But doing women’s legal history presents challenges for both historians and lawyers unaccustomed to each other’s methods. Here I’ll be focusing on the work of legal scholars trying to write our history, based on my experience of current projects: some of the problems we encountered, but also some of the successes.  We’ve found that lawyers are often too inclined to look for heroines and role models, to over-estimate the role of legal institutions in reform and underplay (or ignore) the role of activists (like feminists), and to see history as a steady tale of progress – so we have some myths to dispel and some reality checks to bring to some of the more celebratory work.  Yet there is some great stuff out there, and I’ll end with an example from the Women’s Legal Landmarks project which should remind us that law does have a role to play in bringing about change for women.


About the Speaker:

Born in Egypt and raised in Newcastle where her father was the first the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Rosemary has been a pioneer of women’s studies and feminist legal studies in higher education in Britain. She was Associate Director of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality for three years before joining Reading Law School in 2007, where she now teaches Property Law subjects and Gender and Law. She is currently an executive member of the Society of Legal Scholars; a member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association and the (American) Law and Society Association; a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Prior to moving into law she wrote widely in the areas of women’s history and children’s literature, including three books: Australia’s Daughters (Sydney: Methuen, 1978), A World of Girls: the Appeal of the Girls’ School Story (London: The Women’s Press, 1992, 2nd ed. 2004) and A World of Women: growing up in the girls’ school story (London: The Women’s Press,1999, 2nd ed. 2008).. As well as property law and legal education, her research interests include gender and sexuality and feminist legal history and biography. She is currently, with Erika Rackley (University of Birmingham), engaged in a 100-strong collaboration called the Women’s Legal Landmarks Project, a major historical collection in book and website formats, planned to celebrate the centenary of women’s admission to the legal profession in 2019.


History@Newcastle 2017: “Sexual Violence and Medicine”

Please join us this Friday 7 April at 10am in Cultural Collections for the third History@Newcastle seminar for the semester, delivered by UoN Global Innovation Chair Professor Joanna Bourke.

“Sexual Violence and Medicine: Police Surgeons, Forensic Medical Examiners, and ‘Cultures of Care’ in Twentieth Century Britain”

Professor Joanna Bourke
UoN Global Innovation Chair

Police doctors are extremely influential when victims of sexual violence report the attack to the police. Victims are required to consent to undergo a medical examination. They routinely claim that this is the most distressing part of reporting their ordeal, yet medical evidence of assault and marks of violence are crucial for any successful prosecution. Alleged perpetrators are also medically examined. In this paper, I explore the history of police surgeons or Forensic Medical Examiners (as they came to be known), exploring the tension between care giving and the collection of evidence.

About the Speaker
Joanna Bourke is the Global Innovation Chair at the University of Newcastle and Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. She is Chair of Modern History at The British Academy. She is the prize-winning author of twelve books, including histories on modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape, as well as over 86 articles in academic journals. In 2014, she was the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (OUP) and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play are Invading our Lives (Virago). Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek.

Click here for the
History@Newcastle 2017 Programme

History@Newcastle 2017: ‘Violence, Emancipation and the 1917 Russian Revolutions.’

The first History@Newcastle seminar for 2017 will be held on Friday 10 March at 10am in the Cultural Collections Reading Room, Auchmuty Library. FREE Admission. All Welcome.

Violence, Emancipation and the 1917 Russian Revolutions.’

Roger Markwick
The University of Newcastle (Australia)

Roger Markwick

Roger Markwick

From their inception, the 1917 Russian revolutions, culminating in the October Revolution, have been synonymous with violence: Bolshevik violence in particular. In the course of the last century, whatever the sympathies of historians, politicians, or commentators, almost all have believed that violence was inherent in the Russian revolutions and revolutions generally, exemplified by Russia’s ensuing savage civil war (1918-1920). But such views have often been polemical and judgemental rather than analytical, especially during the Cold War. A more considered examination of the 1917 revolutions, including that of October, suggests violence was not their defining feature. But their violent reputations have overshadowed the emancipatory roots and thrust of the 1917 revolutions.
About the Speaker:
Roger Markwick is Professor of Modern European History, The University of Newcastle. Among his publications are Soviet Women on the Frontline in the Second World War (co-authored with Dr Euridice Charon Cardona), shortlisted for the 2013 NSW Premier’s History Awards, and Rewriting History in Soviet Russia: The Politics of Revisionist Historiography in the Soviet Union, 1956-1974, which won the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies’ Alexander Nove Prize in 2003. Roger Markwick is currently completing a research project, supported by an ARC Discovery Project grant, on Soviet women on the home front during the Second World War.

Click here for the
History@Newcastle 2017 Programme

Uncovering Australia’s climate history since European settlement

Uncovering Australia’s climate history since European settlement
Free Seminar: 22 March 2017 @1PM
Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library)

Sample page from Belfield's 1877 Meteorological Observing Book

Sample page from Belfield’s 1877 Meteorological Observing Book



The DOI for the transcribed Eversleigh dataset is :

Belfield, Algernon (2018) Meteorological observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia 1877-1922 (transcribed). The University of Newcastle.

Dr Linden Ashcroft
Senior Researcher

Centre for Climate Change (C3), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)
Avinguda de Remolins, 13–15, 43500, Tortosa, Spain

Together with the Launch of the scientifically digitised Eversleigh Climate Data

22 March 2017 @ 1PM
Cultural Collections, Level 2 Auchmuty Library
FREE Admission

Dr Linden Ashcroft – Abstract (PDF)


The climate of Australia is notoriously variable: we truly live in a country of droughts and flooding rains. Historical records offer an insight into past climatic events, helping us determine what is natural variability, and what is human-induced climate change.

In this presentation I will focus on the rescue of instrumental weather observations for southeastern Australia from 1788 to 1860. These “old numbers” can support documentary accounts of past weather and climate, and help to calibrate natural indicators of past change, such as tree rings and ice cores.

I will introduce some of our most dedicated 19th century weather observers, including publicans, governors, painters and doctors. Records taken by these men are the earliest numerical information we have on the temperature and rainfall in Australia’s most highly populated region. A good example is Algernon Belfield, a landowner from Eversleigh, near Armidale, NSW (data record 1877 to 1922).

Using their data along with supporting documentary evidence, I will then look into some of the more interesting climate events that occurred during the first 72 years of colonial settlement in Australia.

 ashcroft-jan2016Dr Linden Ashcroft Bio
Linden is a climate researcher who completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences in early 2014. Her research focuses on the rescue and analysis of historical weather observations in Australia and Europe, to improve our understanding of past, present and future climate. She is also a qualified science communicator, and have shared her passion for “old weather” through channels including BBC World Radio, The Conversation and the Sydney Morning Herald. Linden is currently completing a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Climate Change Universitat Rovira i Virgili in southern Catalonia, Spain.

For publications and more information, visit or get in touch on Twitter @lindenashcroft.


Conference Poster – The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 1: Algernon Henry Belfield and his Measurements, 1877-1922. (Click image for larger size)

The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 2: Data Transformation and Quality Assessment (Howard Bridgman et al) PDF Version


The Eversleigh Historical Meteorological Data Set Part 3: Climate variability in New England, 1882-1922. (Click image for a larger view)


The Trials and Tribulations of Data Digitisation by Linden Ashcroft (Click image for a larger view)



This FREE PUBLIC SEMINAR will also mark the LAUNCH of the scientifically digitised Eversleigh Data Set, recorded by Algernon Henry Belfield between 1877-1922, and meticulously transcribed by crowd sourced volunteers from around the world, between April and May 2016.

The volunteers answered the call from the Algernon Wants You poster that was published on the 11 March 2016, calling for help in transferring, what was arguably, the best and most complete set of weather measurements for the time period on the New England Plateau, into digital spreadsheets.

On the 14 April 2016 the Conversation Article was published  , and within 24 hours three volunteers had enlisted from three Australian states. That soon grew to twenty seven volunteers, including two internationals, who enlisted to transcribe the data sets.

By the 24 May 2016, all the Eversleigh data had now been input into excel spreadsheets, and we sincerely thank the twenty-seven volunteers who assisted.

The data was then placed in the hands of Dr Linden Ashcroft, whose experience and skills are very important as we change the units to metric, combine that data into a full set, and  begin analysis. The preliminary results of this analysis will be presented.



Containing the three .csv files for the Eversleigh Original Daily Data 1882-1922, Eversleigh Converted Daily Data 1882-1922, and the monthly means/totals calculated from the converted daily data. Only months with less than 15% missing data have had monthly means calculated.

Eversleigh Original Daily Data 1882-1922
Eversleigh Converted Daily Data 1882-1922
Eversleigh Converted Data Monthly Means


Conjoint Associate Professor Howard Bridgman
President Asian Aerosol Research Assembly
Fellow, Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
University of Newcastle


New Life for Weather Diaries (Armidale Express)

History@Newcastle Research Seminar Series 2017

History@Newcastle Research Seminar Series, Semester 1, 2017

History@Newcastle Research Seminar Series, Semester 1, 2017

History@Newcastle Research Seminar Series, Semester 1, 2017 (PDF Version)

Research Seminar Series 2017

Seminars are held in the Cultural Collections area of the Auchmuty Library (ground floor through AIC)
at 10am and are followed by morning tea at 11am.
All welcome!

Semester One

10 March 2017
‘Violence, Emancipation and the 1917 Russian Revolutions.’
Roger Markwick—University of Newcastle

24 March 2017
‘History of Wine Transmissions between France and Australia.’
Mikael Pierre—University of Newcastle

7 April 2017
‘Sexual Violence and Medicine: Police Surgeons, Forensic Medical Examiners, and ‘Cultures of Care’ in Twentieth Century Britain.’
Joanna Bourke—University of Newcastle/Birkbeck, University of London

28 April 2017
‘Comparing Australia’s Mining Booms.’
David Lee—Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

12 May 2017
‘Standing up to the Big Man? An Oral History Study of HIV-Positive
Gay Men’s Interactions with Medical Professionals in Sydney, 1982- 1996.’
Cheryl Ware—Macquarie University

26 May 2017
‘“Let’s All Get Planting”: The Kitchen Garden Movement on the Soviet Home Front, 1941-1945.’
Euridice Charon-Cardona—University of Newcastle

For more information please contact seminar convenor Dr Kate Ariotti: