“Unless a portion be given to the idle”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 06:30 PM


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Gerardine Horgan



Victorians are invited to step back in time and explore the Kulin people at Port Phillip and the principles and practices of rationing back in the early 1840s, as the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in conjunction with the CJ LaTrobe Society presents the annual AGL Shaw lecture.


To be held on Tuesday 21 June, historian Dr Marguerita Stephens will highlight the different approaches of Charles La Trobe and William Thomas, one of the Assistant Protectors of Aborigines. 


“While La Trobe and Thomas both counted themselves as humanitarians, they were certainly at odds over the principles of rationing when it came to the Kulin people,” explained Dr Stephens.


“The principles that underpinned La Trobe's rationing policy directly reflected the principles of the New Poor Law of 1834 - with all its utilitarian ambivalence towards the salvation of the 'uncivil'. 


“Our discussion will explore the principles and practices in detail and the look at the effects of a harsh rationing regime on the survival of the Kulin.”



About the speaker

Marguerita Stephens was a working gardener before returning to study history at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD on race relations in colonial Victoria, with a close focus on the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, was awarded the Dennis-Wettenhall Prize for Research in Australian History, 2004. In 2007 she was awarded a research fellowship in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, and in 2013 she held the Redmond Barry Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria. In partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, in 2013 she published a transcription of the Journal of Assistant Protector William Thomas, which, in 2014, won the PROV/RHSV Local History Project Award. 

About the event


Date:                            Tuesday 21 June

Time:                            6.30pm – 8.00pm

Address:                       Royal Historical Society of Victoria

239 A’Beckett Street


Cost:                            $30 per person – refreshments included

Enquiries:                     t: (03) 9326 9288   e: [email protected]  w: historyvictoria.org.au




About the RHSV


Formed in 1909, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) is committed to collecting, researching and sharing an understanding of the history of Victoria. Housing the most extensive single information resource on the history of Melbourne and Victoria, collections are open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm. The RHSV is a community organisation that relies on membership subscriptions. Join today and help promote and preserve the history of Victoria – www.historyvictoria.org.au. You can also keep up to date with the past via the RHSV’s Twitter http://www.twitter.com/historyvictoria and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/historyvictoria



About the CJ La Trobe Society


The CJ La Trobe Society Inc. was formed in 2001 to promote understanding and appreciation of the life, work and times of Charles Joseph La Trobe, Victoria's first Lieutenant-Governor. For more information on the Society, visit www.latrobesociety.org.au




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$30.00 AUD · Purchase tickets


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The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342