History in a time of pandemic: nourishment, consolation and guidance

Thursday, December 03, 2020 at 05:30 PM


Zoom meeting - Enjoy from your home or office 
Melbourne, VIC
Google map and directions

Event contact

Alicia Cerreto

0422 519 322

History in a time of pandemic - 3Dec2020

This event was recorded and can be viewed online at: https://vimeo.com/487068427/51fb87b0bc 

Join us for our end of year Friends gathering and to farewell our outgoing Executive Officer, Margaret Birtley AM.

Our presenters will explore history in a time of pandemic, reflecting on the themes of nourishment, consolation and guidance.

Emeritus Professor Peter McPhee AM FAHA FASSA is a historian of modern France. Peter is Chair of the HCV Board.

While the direct experience of the Covid19 pandemic has been directly experienced by me only through social isolation, indirectly it has been felt as a deep ultimatum from the earth about the interactions of its inhabitants. Books have been both a consolation and a provocation at such a time.

Dr Susie Protschky is a historian of colonialism and decolonisation in Southeast Asia. Susie is Monash University's representative on the HCV Board. 

It's a consolation to work at disasters like this pandemic knowing that historians will 'sit with' and analyse the suffering, absences and triumphs unfolding now well into the future. Nothing trains patience, humility, exactitude and empathy better than disciplined thinking in History.

Dr Yves Rees is a historian of Australia in the world, with particular interests in gender, modernity, mobility and whiteness. Yves is La Trobe University's representative on the HCV Board.

Can history provide guidance for a world in crisis? There are no simple 'lessons' to be extracted from the past. However the 'time work' done by historians is essential to disrupting the seeming inevitabilities of present and opening our minds towards the possibility of living otherwise.

This special event is for HCV Friends and the HCV Board. It will be held as a Zoom meeting (so we will see each other's faces if we enable our video cameras). Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

You are welcome to share this invitation with a friend / colleague, but as numbers are limited each person should book separately if using a separate screen / device.

If you are a Friend of the HCV, please click the RSVP button at the foot of this page to book your place.

If you are not yet an HCV Friend, please join us now! Click HERE to subscribe. 


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The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

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Our calendar lists all upcoming public events arranged by the History Council of Victoria (HCV), plus events in Victoria, Australia, that are added by our Friends and Members.

If you are organising an event that relates to History, we encourage you to publicise it on our website.

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As the peak body for history in Victoria, the History Council makes submissions on current issues. In doing this, the HCV Board is guided by its Advocacy Policy and by the Value of History, a statement developed co-operatively by the HCV and the History Councils of New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

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Since 2015, the HCV has been pleased to sponsor the Years 9 and 10 category of the Historical Fiction Competition organised by the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

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Ways to support us:

Subscribe to our free newsletter: https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/subscribe
Endorse the Value of History statement: https://www.historycouncilvic.org.au/endorse
Find us on socials: Twitter / Facebook / YouTube

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The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



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