About

Yours truly. Yes, I posed this so that W.P. Morrell’s fine book on New Zealand’s provinces would be visible.

I am Dr André Brett, a versatile and award-winning historian of Australia and New Zealand.

This page is about my career and qualifications. If you want to know what I can do for you, please see here.

I am a Kāpiti Coast lad from New Zealand, currently based in Wollongong, New South Wales. I have also lived in Melbourne and southeast Queensland, and my interest in trans-Tasman and Australasian history reflects this background.

I received my PhD in History at the University of Melbourne in 2014. At that institution, I held numerous teaching and research positions from 2011 to 2017. Notably, I was a Gilbert Postdoctoral Career Development Fellow in the Faculty of Arts (2015–16), a research fellow in the Chancellery (2016–17), and a research associate and executive officer for an Australian Research Council-funded project hosted in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (2014–16).

From June 2017 to September 2020 I was a University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History. Among other writing, this postdoc has resulted in two book manuscripts. One, Can’t Get There from Here: New Zealand’s Shrinking Passenger Rail Network, 1920–2020, has been peer reviewed and publication is pending 2021, details TBA. the second is in preparation, working title Scars in the Country: Railways in Australian and New Zealand Environments, 1850s–1915. I will be doing the final research for Scars in the Country as a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow.

I am the author of three other books, three chapters in edited collections, fifteen peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous contributions in other media. I have been the historian for high-rating TV documentaries on history and transport. Further details are on my publications page.

I take pride in working across sub-fields of history and my work cannot be pigeonholed. I have published in political history, economic history, higher education policy, historical geography, and genocide studies, to name a few. I have provided institutions with research on their history and contributed to museum exhibitions. I have prepared historical briefs on almost any topic imaginable for TV productions—from cochlear implants to Holden cars, chocolate to wine, polymer bank notes to remote homesteads. I have assisted research projects on topics as diverse as the history of fortune telling and the story of a lawn bowls club.

I have received numerous awards that acknowledge the quality of my research. Here is a selection:

  • 2021 National Library of Australia Fellowship, a highly-regarded competitive 12-week research fellowship;
  • 2020 Wollongong Local History Prize, a biennial award for unpublished research on any aspect of Wollongong/Illawarra history;
  • 2020 Humanities Travelling Fellowship: the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ highly competitive scheme to build international research networks;
  • 2019 Allan Martin Award: the Australian Historical Association’s most prestigious early-career award;
  • 2018 Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Development Prize: the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand’s award for the best paper at the annual conference of the Australian Historical Association;
  • 2017: high commendation (i.e. second place), Barrett Prize for Australian Studies: the International Australian Studies Association’s award for the best research published in the Journal of Australian Studies;
  • 2013 Australian Historical Association/Copyright Agency Ltd travel and writing bursary;
  • 2013 Fellows’ Essay Prize, which acknowledged my article in vol.40 of the Melbourne Historical Journal as the best publication by a University of Melbourne postgraduate student in history, classics, or philosophy during 2012.

The award I cherish most is the 2009 Margaret Kiddle Prize for top History Honours thesis at the University of Melbourne. I have a deep respect for Kiddle and her scholarship, and it was an honour to receive a prize named for her. My Honours thesis formed the basis of my PhD and inspired much of my research on New Zealand’s provincial history and Australasia’s railway history.

Want to contact me? All my details are here.

My pronouns are he/him. I created this website while working on unceded Dharawal land. My Pākehā ancestors signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi with the tāngata whenua of Aotearoa, the Māori people. To those seeking similar recognition on the Australian continent, kia kaha.

The meeting of the seas at Cape Reinga, the leaping-off place of spirits.

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