Naomi Parry

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Naomi Parry

Lecturer, School of Humanities


0362267808 (phone)

Dr Naomi Parry is a Lecturer in Humanities in the College of Arts, Law, and Education, and teaches in English and the Diploma of Family History. She specialises in social history, including the experiences of the stolen generations, forgotten Australians, and former child migrants, and communicating First Nations history. She writes public and community history, including digital history, and is an Accredited Professional Historian and an editor. She is passionate about teaching and telling stories and is currently writing a biography of an Aboriginal warrior called Musquito and exploring the historiography of contact and conflict on the colonial frontier alongside her own family history.


Naomi started her university career as a BA student at UTas. After working in heritage and museums in Sydney she completed a GDipEd and gained First Class Honours in History at Macquarie University. She completed her PhD in History at UNSW in 2007. She worked as a policy officer in childcare then returned to cultural heritage before taking up a three-year position as a Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University as the NSW Historian on Find & Connect web resource, helping people who grew up in out-of-home care to access their records. She worked as an editor and contributor for the Dictionary of Sydney and was employed by the University of Sydney as the lead writer/coordinator for the NSW Centenary of Anzac book New South Wales and the Great War (2016). She served as a senior policy officer on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse before establishing her own business in NSW as an Accredited Professional Historian. The Australia Institute/Endeavour House recognised her writing by appointing her inaugural writer-in-residence in 2017 and she has received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts and the Copyright Agency Ltd. She returned to UTas in 2020 to teach online in the Diploma of Family History.

Career summary


  • BA, University of Tasmania, 1992
  • GradDipEd, Macquarie, 1997
  • BA (1st class honours), “Shifting for themselves”: the removal of Aboriginal girls and their placement into domestic service, 1909–1925, Macquarie, Australia, 1998
  • PhD, “Such a longing”: black and white welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880 to 1940, UNSW, Australia, 2007


Professional practice

I am an Accredited Member of the Professional Historians Association of NSW/ACT, a member of the Australian Historical Association and the History Council of NSW.

Administrative expertise

I coordinate the Family History: More than a story webinar series for CALE. I have significant project management and governance expertise from decades in local government and chairing community sector organisations. From 2014–2016 I coordinated the book NSW and the Great War and was senior policy officer at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017.


History, family history, social history, social history of the First World War, stolen children, Aboriginal studies, Aboriginal history, archives, history writing, labour history, migration history, heritage.

Teaching expertise

English Writing: Grammar and Composition (HEN105) – Unit Coordinator

Writing Family History (HAA004) – Unit Coordinator

Writing the Family Saga (HAA104) – Unit Coordinator

I have taught Australian History, Aboriginal Studies, and Australian Historiographical Studies at Macquarie, UNSW and Western Sydney University and taught History and English in public schools in NSW.

Teaching responsibility

HAA004 Writing Family History (Unit Coordinator)

Research Invitations

  • ‘Writing Narratives: Writing Lives’, Professional Historians’ Association of Victoria/Tasmania, Allport Library Hobart, March 2021,
  • A Social History of the Impact of the Great War in NSW, Randwick and District Historical Society and Randwick City Library, 10 November 2018
  • Writing 'New South Wales and the Great War', Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney, March 2017,
  • Author Talk NSW and the Great War, Liverpool City Library Heritage Events, 9 November 2017
  • Sydney Writers’ Festival Blue Mountains programme – panel with Delia Falconer, John Low, Julian Leatherdale and Lisa Murray discussing the Dictionary of Sydney and Varuna’s Blue Mountains Icons project, 2016

View more on Dr Naomi Parry Duncan in WARP


  • Naomi is committed to writing history that affects people and sees history writing as a vital element of Australian literature. She uses archival research to investigate questions of social justice in Australia, including child welfare, First Nations history, and the colonial frontier and specialises in comparative social histories. She partners with governments and businesses to produce public history and create digital histories. She is an authority on the differing experiences of black and white children in the child welfare systems of NSW and Tasmania, as well as the lives of forgotten Australians and former child migrants. Her biographical research into the Aboriginal warrior Musquito and his life in NSW, Norfolk Island and Tasmania is conducted in conversation with Aboriginal people and has been recognised with funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australia Institute/Endeavour House, and the Copyright Agency Ltd and the State Library of NSW’s National and State Libraries Australasia Fellowship.
  • Areas of research expertise include:
    Australian History
    Aboriginal History
    Colonial and frontier history
    Histories of child welfare, fostering, institutionalisation and adoption
    Forgotten Australians and former child migrants
    The history of children’s homes
    Migration history
    Heritage and museums
    Public history
    Biography and life writing
    Digital history
    Family history


From 2011–2014 I was a Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, appointed as the NSW State-Based Historian on the Find & Connect web resource, an Australian Government-funded national project to assist Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants to locate their records by creating and populating a database of archival material and historical information. The Chief Investigators were Professor Shurlee Swain (History, ACU), Professor Cathy Humphreys of the Department of Social Work at the University of Melbourne and Gavan McCarthy, Director of the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne.

I worked with Professor Stephen Garton of the University of Sydney, Brad Manera of NSW Anzac Memorial, writer Will Davies and the late Paul Brock of the NSW Department of Education to coordinate and lead the writing team for New South Wales and the Great War, on behalf of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Book Committee, which was led by Air Vice Marshal RB Treloar AO (Rtd). This book was distributed to every school in NSW.

I am an external affiliate with Purai Global Indigenous History Centre, based at the University of Newcastle, Australia.


Copyright Agency Ltd COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant 2020; Australia Council for the Arts Project Grant, 2019–2020; Australia Institute/Endeavour House Writer-in-residence on The Level, 2017; State Library of NSW National and State Libraries Australasia Honorary Fellowship, 2015; Powerhouse Museum Regional Services Internship, 2011; Varuna Dr Eric Dark Fellowship, 2005; Australian Postgraduate Award, 1999-2002.

Shortlisted for Island Magazine Non-Fiction Prize 2021; Hazel Rowley Fellowship 2015.

Current projects

I am currently completing a full-length biography of the Aboriginal warrior Musquito, exploring his life in colonial NSW and Tasmania from 1805 to 1825.

Fields of Research

  • Australian history (430302)
  • History and philosophy of education (390202)
  • Architectural heritage and conservation (330103)
  • Migration history (430319)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology (280113)
  • Assessment of heritage value (130401)
  • Expanding knowledge in education (280109)
  • Understanding the past of the Americas (130706)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts (210401)
  • Expanding knowledge in Indigenous studies (280114)
  • Expanding knowledge in human society (280123)
  • Understanding Australia's past (130703)


My publications in child welfare history include an article in Australian Historical Studies, extensive entries in the Find & Connect web resource, and articles in  Revue d’histoire de l’enfance «irrégulière» and the collection Silent System.

My work on Aboriginal, colonial and frontier history has formed the basis of two articles in the Australian Dictionary of Biography and an extended, much-cited article in Aboriginal History I have written scholarly reviews for Labour HistoryHistory of Education ReviewOverland and History Australia and several extended commissioned entries for

My first book was the official NSW Government publication for the Centenary of Anzac, New South Wales and the Great War,which has been distributed to every school in New South Wales.

I have also ventured into memoir in an essay ‘From the island to the mainland (and back?) in Bread and Roses: Voices of Australian Academics from the Working Class. In 2021 my essay ‘A Shadow from Country’, which is part of my research into the biography of Musquito, was shortlisted for the Island Magazine Non-Fiction Prize.

Total publications


Journal Article

(2 outputs)
2012Parry N, 'Stolen Childhoods. Reforming Aboriginal and Orphan Children through Removal and Labour in New South Wales (Australia), 1909-1917', Revue d'Histoire de l'Enfance Irreguliere, 14 pp. 141-163. ISSN 1962-9419 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.4000/rhei.3404 [eCite] [Details]


2001Evans C, Parry N, 'Vessels of progressivism? Tasmanian state girls and eugenics, 1900-1940', Australian Historical Studies, 32, (117) pp. 323-333. ISSN 1031-461X (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/10314610108596168 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Evans C



(1 outputs)
2016Parry N, Manera B, Davies W, Garton S, 'New South Wales and the Great War', Longueville Media, NSW, Australia ISBN 9780994386373 (2016) [Authored Other Book]

[eCite] [Details]

Chapter in Book

(3 outputs)
2015Parry N, 'From the island to the mainland (and back?)', Bread and Roses: Voices of Australian Academics from the Working Class, Sense Publishers, D Michell, JZ Wilson and V Archer (ed), Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 97-104. ISBN 9789463001274 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-6300-127-4_11 [eCite] [Details]


2014Parry N, 'Tracing the past: the Find & Connect web resource', Silent System: Forgotten Australians and the Institutionalisation of Women and Children, Australian Scholarly Publishing, P Ashton and JZ Wilson (ed), Australia, pp. 145-162. ISBN 9781925003789 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]


2007Parry N, ''Hanging No Good for Blackfellow': looking into the life of Musquito', Transgressions: Critical Australian Indigenous histories, ANU Press, I Macfarlane and M Hannah (ed), Australia, pp. 153-176. ISBN 9781921313448 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.22459/T.12.2007 [eCite] [Details]



(1 outputs)
2021Parry N, ''A Class By Themselves?: The origins of special education in Toronto and beyond' by Jason Ellis', History of Education Review, 50, (2) pp. 307-308. ISSN 0819-8691 (2021) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]


Conference Publication

(1 outputs)
2021Parry N, 'Writing Narratives, Writing Lives', Professional Historians' Association of Victoria/Tasmania, March, Allport Library, Hobart (2021) [Keynote Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]


Major Creative Work

(1 outputs)
2014Parry N, 'Multiple contributions to the NSW section of the Find and Connect database', Find & Connect, pp. 1800 (2014) [Published Creative Work]

[eCite] [Details]


Other Creative Work

(1 outputs)
2021Parry N, 'A Shadow from Country', Island Magazine, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 20-27 (2021) [Minor Creative Work]

[eCite] [Details]


(1 outputs)
2007Parry N, ''Such a Longing': Black and White Children in Welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940' (2007) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]



(2 outputs)
2018Parry N, 'The Foundation of the Workers' Educational Association Sydney', Dictionary of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2018) [Entry]

[eCite] [Details]


2018Parry N, 'The Workers' Educational Association in the Post-war Era', Dictionary of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2018) [Entry]

[eCite] [Details]


Other Public Output

(4 outputs)
2019Parry N, 'A Thematic History of Liverpool Plains Shire', Liverpool Plains Shire Council, Liverpool Plains, NSW (2019) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]


2019Parry N, 'Hilltops Migration Heritage Study', Hilltops City Council, NSW, Australia (2019) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

2019Parry N, 'History of John Northcott Place and the Northcott Estate', Shakeup Architecture, NSW, Australia (2019) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

2019Parry N, 'History of 35-85 Brougham Street, Woolloomooloo', Shakeup Architecture, NSW, Australia (2019) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

I am part of the Writing Lives group, which received funding from the School of Humanities in 2021–22 to progress projects in life writing.

As a professional historian working outside the academy for most of my career, I have been ineligible to apply for Australian Research Council funding. I have been fortunate to receive funding for my current project from the Copyright Agency Ltd COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant 2020 ($5000); Australia Council for the Arts Project Grant (Literature), 2019–2020 ($19,480) and the Australia Institute/Endeavour House Writer-in-residence on The Level, 2017 ($5,000).

I am able to supervise Honours students in Humanities.