Boost for Australian archival research

Media release: Friday, 21 February 2014

The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Historical Association (AHA) have announced their latest awards for postgraduate archival research into Australia's history.

PhD students John Doyle from La Trobe University and Nicholas Ferns from Monash University are the most recent winners of the twice-yearly awards.

The scholarships help talented postgraduate scholars with the cost of digitising records held in the National Archives of Australia. For example, scholars may be based in one city (or country) and want to see archival records located elsewhere. The scholarships provide facsimiles or digital versions of those records to help limit the need for costly travel.

John Doyle is researching the relatively unexplored area of the political history of telecommunications policy in Australia, from 1967 to 1997, when it underwent enormous change. His thesis explores the approach of various governments to telecommunications policy in the context of technological, political, economic and social dynamics. His research draws upon primary sources such as government papers, parliamentary debates, official inquiry reports and submissions, as well as media reports and secondary sources.

Nicholas Ferns from Monash University is analysing the influence of American theories of modernisation on Australian foreign aid policy in Southeast Asia during the first three decades of the Cold War. In response to the changing nature of international politics, Australian foreign policy underwent a process of reassessment. Traditional ties to the British Commonwealth were under threat as British power declined and the United States emerged as a stronger influence on Australian policy.

The scholarships provide postgraduate scholars with $650 worth of digital copies of records from the National Archives' collection.

'We're pleased that we're able to encourage postgraduate scholars to research Australian history in our collection in this way,' said Tonia Vincent, Director of Reference and Information Services at the National Archives. 'As well as adding to our knowledge of Australian history, these projects will also benefit other researchers interested in the same topics.'

The Australian Historical Association has also expressed their pleasure at collaborating in the project.

'These projects showcase the diversity of the research being undertaken at postgraduate level in Australian universities,' said President of the Australian Historical Association, Professor Marilyn Lake. 'We're pleased to be able to partner with the National Archives in providing these special opportunities to postgraduate students.'

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e
  • Kate Matthew (AHA)
    m 0408 407 221
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