I am an award-winning researcher and writer. Contact me to discuss how we can work together to tell great stories.
Archival research | digital research | quantitative and qualitative data collection | literature reviews | research briefs | editing | bibliographies | writing for all audiences | project management | historical consulting | public speaking and lecturing | MCing | marking and examining | face-to-face and remote teaching
Hard at work in the library—perhaps for you?
Research and writing
Do you need research for a TV documentary? Would you like to understand your family history a little better? Does your club or community group want to celebrate its history? Are you seeking to commission a historical story or opinion piece that is lively and engaging? Could your academic research project use an additional researcher? I can do all of this and more.
My experience is diverse. I have worked in academia and for a bowls club; I know what TV producers want in a research brief; I am highly productive as a solo researcher and I work effectively in multi-disciplinary groups.
I can tailor my writing effectively to suit any audience. I have published in major newspapers and scholarly journals; I have written long books and concise exhibition labels; I have provided research briefs and prepared tables of quantitative data.
I am an experienced team researcher. I have collaborated with producers, scriptwriters, and other researchers on TV documentaries. The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey, for which I was the historian, was SBS TV’s highest-rating show for 12 months and BBC4 picked it up.
I have worked with academic historians on Australian Research Council-funded projects. These projects have involved historians, archaeologists, political scientists, policy makers, librarians, archivists, diplomats, and more. I was one of Stuart Macintyre’s research assistants for Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s, which won the 2016 Ernest Scott Prize.
Whether you need a historian who can work independently on a large research project, a person who can spend a couple of days in digital databases fetching the information you need, or someone who can contribute to a broad team, I will give you great results.
I am an entertaining public speaker and lecturer, and I am available to speak at your event or talk to your students. I am based in Wollongong, near Sydney, and I travel regularly to New Zealand and Victoria. I am open to discussions about other locations, too.
I have been invited to give talks interstate and internationally. I have spoken to The Greenhouse at the University of Stavanger, Norway, and featured in the public talks programme of the Waikato Museum in Hamilton, New Zealand. I was the MC for two events in Melbourne that paired historical research with the songs of the fantastic folk band The Orbweavers.
Graeme Hill invited me to talk about New Zealand’s provincial history on his RadioLive show Weekend Variety Wireless. Our chat went so well that he got me back the next week for even more surprising but true stories.
If you want to be entertained, I have an eye for a great narrative. My enthusiasm is infectious—get me on board if your event or classroom could use someone who can find fun and humour in even the driest topics.
Colleagues have called me a walking, talking Chicago Manual of Style. They are not joking. I’m the guy who uses em dashes in text messages. I have an eye for detail and the pedantic temperament to make sure any document looks good, meets all standards, and is internally consistent. If you need somebody who has strong opinions on “effect” versus “impact”, Oxford commas, and footnotes, you have found the right person.
I can implement your chosen style guide or work with you to define a style that suits your project. I updated the Melbourne Historical Journal style guide in consultation with the editorial collective.
My editing experience includes exhibition text at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, chapters for an edited collection published by Sussex Academic Press, and numerous scripts for TV documentaries.
If you think history is just dusty irrelevant stuff that happened to dead people and your company or institution is looking to the future rather than the past, that is the first sign you need to chat with a historian. Your past has shaped you, and it will affect every decision you make.
A historian can advise on a range of topics. We have the expertise to identify what has succeeded or failed in the past—and why it might work out differently today. A historical perspective is essential to risk assessment. Business cases and cost/benefit analyses need to be contextualised with historical information, both quantitative and qualitative. Historical research exposes patterns and trends that might not seem obvious, and it reveals the choices and individual agency that underpin supposedly inevitable decisions or intractable problems.
I am especially interested in advising on transport research, and I am happy to bring the benefits of historical insight to any sector.
Lecturing, tutoring, and marking
I have lectured, tutored, and marked at Australian universities since 2011. I can teach Australian, New Zealand, and British imperial history, historical research methods, global environmental history, disaster studies, and genocide studies—in particular, colonial genocide in the South Pacific and post-colonial genocide in Africa and the Middle East. I have also taught in US history and global histories of revolutions, war, and democracy.
I take care to provide students with constructive guidance so that they can achieve their potential. I place emphasis on blending traditional and digital research skills so that students can synthesise diverse material. I aim to assist students to structure their writing well so that they can express ideas crisply and directly.
I have undertaken training at the University of Wollongong in remote delivery of lectures and tutorials. And, of course, marking can usually be done from anywhere. Please get in touch if your course needs guest lectures, tutorials, or marking.
Rates and fees
Please email me to discuss rates and fees. For historical research conducted outside of universities with published pay scales, I adhere to Professional Historians Australia’s scale of fees. Other services are open to negotiation.
Be aware that I do not work “for exposure”. Exposure does not pay my bills.