Sarah Rood
Principal Historian

Katherine Sheedy
Principal Historian

Lucy Bracey
Associate Historian

Fiona Poulton
Associate Historian



Our Story

Way Back When was born over ten years ago when Katherine Sheedy and Sarah Rood were studying the Master of Public History at Monash University. Enamoured with the idea of spending their professional lives working with people and the past, they took the first steps toward setting up the consultancy. By 2006 Way Back When had completed its first commission and had been engaged to carry out two more. The rest, as we like to say, is history.

As well as commissioned histories Way Back When began to work on exhibitions, oral history projects, heritage reports and multimedia histories. Today we remain as committed as ever to representing the past in a meaningful and dynamic way. We are driven by the desire to foster connections to the past that inform and give meaning to the present. 


Our Skills

Way Back When has worked with many different individuals, groups and organisations to produce histories in various forms. As a result we are highly skilled in carrying out large-scale research, writing for various different types of publications, undertaking oral histories, and developing and producing multimedia content. Most importantly, we are experienced at working with people to tell their story.

Way Back When has an extensive network of colleagues and associates with whom we work collaboratively. This includes other qualified professional historians and experienced oral history practitioners, as well as designers, sound engineers and videographers.


Our Profession

Way Back When is committed to upholding professional industry standards. All Way Back When historians have postgraduate history qualifications, each having completed the Master of Public History at Monash University. All members of Way Back When are accredited members of the Professional Historians Association (Victoria & Tasmania),  members of Oral History Victoria and Friends of the History Council of Victoria. We are actively involved in our professional community via membership of a variety of committees and boards, as well as regular participation in events and professional development. The following websites can provide more information about professional historians: 


Our extended team

As well as our core team of historians, Way Back When also collaborates with additional consulting historians, filmmakers, designers and other creative professionals to work with us on various commissioned histories.

Tiny Empire Collective

Tiny Empire Collective work collaboratively with organisations to create films and photographs which are emotive and engaging, backed by historical research, and informed by a respect and honour for the communities, objects and histories involved. 

Russell Goldsmith

Russell Goldsmith is a multiple award winning Melbourne-based sound designer, composer, producer and audio system designer. He has a diverse body of work in theatre, film, television, commercial and radio production, live music and installation art.

Green Poles Design

Green Poles Design is a multi-disciplinary design studio that specialises in exhibitions, interpretive signage and publications for private and public sector organisations. They have over twenty years of experience in all facets of exhibition and graphic design.

                                  Dr Kirstie Close

Kirstie Close has been researching and teaching history professionally since 2006. In addition to teaching and research at Victorian universities, in recent years she has worked for the Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea, the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in Darwin. Kirstie is a member of the Professional Historians Association (Vic & Tas).

Ellen Spalding

Ellen Spalding holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in history from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Media Studies from La Trobe University and a Certificate IV in Sound Production from RMIT University. Apart from working as a professional historian, Ellen has enjoyed a career as a bookseller over more than two decades and has worked as a Commonwealth registered civil celebrant since 2011. She is a member of the Professional Historians Association (Vic & Tas) and Oral History Victoria.