Slow train coming

There is a Word document on my computer titled “website content” in which I drafted a bunch of ideas for a professional website. To give you some idea how old it is, I wrote it before I began my two-year term as the early career representative on the Australian Historical Association executive committee, a term that ended in July 2020. I suppose I put it aside because I felt like I already had a strong web presence: I ran the blog associated with my Australian Historical Association position; I made a University of Wollongong staff page; my Twitter account was going from strength to strength.

Reading that document was a real blast from the past, a reminder of where my career was. At that time, I had not even realised my postdoctoral research would lead me to write a book on New Zealand’s shrinking passenger rail network. I am now doing final revisions on that manuscript after peer review. Meanwhile, I have published numerous articles on the enviro-economic history of railways in Australasia and I’m about halfway through a manuscript on that topic from the 1850s to 1915. I also waded into the debate about renaming Victoria University of Wellington and contributed to a bunch of TV documentaries. To my great delight and gratitude, I won the Australian Historical Association’s premier award for early career researchers in July 2019, the Allan Martin Award, and then a highly competitive travel fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities a month ago.

There was one other thing I could not imagine when I wrote that document called “website content”: covid-19 and its effects on higher education in Australia. My postdoctoral fellowship has ended at pretty much the worst time to obtain a contract extension. But there is little point lamenting this too much—a couple of soothing beers reminded me that my great passions are history and writing, and there are many ways to produce good history and lots of audiences to reach.

So, I fired up that “website content” document and thought the time had come to make a site to showcase my work. If you are in need of a historian, or more generally someone with research, writing, and editing skills, I have diverse abilities and the awards to prove I use them well. I hope you might be keen to pay for my services. I am interested in any work relevant to my skills and interests. You can find out more about me here, learn what I can do for you, and get in touch.

In this blog, I plan to reflect on developments relevant to my research interests and in the higher education sector. I might also post every now and then on some of my other interests—probably really obscure music—because I think it’s important to show the richness of your interests rather than seem too one-dimensional. I’ll do my best to post semi-regularly.

Remember when blogs had “now listening” fields for each entry? Gone too soon, if you ask me. Now listening: “Grey Machine”, the sublime 11-minute indie rock epic by Pinback.

Lastly, trains are very cool. Here’s something from my archives: a Hitachi electric multiple unit arrives at Prahran in Melbourne on 6 June 2008. The Hitachis were retired in 2014.

One thought on “Slow train coming

  1. Sorry to hear about the job, Andre. Hopefully, womething turns up soon. Makes me realise how lucky I am to have the position I do despite its challenges and issues. Nevertheless, I look forward to many posts about transport and trains!


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