Historical Research & Writing

As well as producing comprehensive histories, Way Back When undertakes historical research and writing in a variety of formats, including contributions to collective works.

Eureka Centre Thematic Framework

Way Back When worked with the City of Ballarat to develop a thematic framework for an Interpretation Plan for the Eureka Centre. This involved extensive community consultation, as well as research into the contested Eureka story, to develop a comprehensive set of themes that address the issues most important to the local community, academic experts and historical narrative. It is anticipated that the final Interpretation Plan will provide guidance for the Eureka Centre in its future development and help make it a place that is both valued and visited by the Ballarat community and beyond.

East Melbourne Synagogue

Way Back When explored the history of one of Victoria’s oldest synagogues and produced an annotated timeline examining the major milestones, key events, individuals and families who have contributed to the synagogue’s long history. The project included community engagement via a family day held at the synagogue, to collect memories and stories.

Yarra Ranges Regional Museum: Melba's Gift Book


In 1915, Dame Nellie Melba rallied the support of the Australia artistic community to create 'Melba’s Gift Book of Australian Art and Literature', in support of the Belgium Relief Fund. The book itself is a fantastic collection of works by some of Australia’s most famous artists and cartoonists, poets and authors. Way Back When was commissioned by the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum to conduct background research into this fascinating publication to inform an exhibition 'Charity: Melba's Gift Book of Australian Art & Literature', which was presented at the Museum in October 2017.

Following the exhibition, Way Back When worked with YRRM on two publications: a souvenir booklet and a journal article drawing on the research gathered for the exhibition. The article ‘Melba’s Gift Book: Fund-raising, Propaganda and Australian Identity in World War I’ was published in the Victorian Historical Journal, Volume 89, Number 2, December 2018.

Conserving Community Memorabilia: North Balwyn RSL Sub-Branch

The North Balwyn RSL Sub-Branch opened in 1959, but its doors closed forever in April 2016. Way Back When was engaged to assist this RSL in recording, digitising and conserving its records, history and memorabilia prior to closure. This project involved capturing the oral history of long-standing RSL members, as well as researching and writing biographical histories of the 186 individuals who are memorialised on a wall of plaques. This exciting project required us to comb through NAA service records - something we've become very good at over this WWI centenary - and to collect oral histories.

City of Port Phillip World War I Home Front

As part of the World War I centenary commemorations, Way Back When worked with the City of Port Phillip to explore themes associated with home front activities in the area during World War I, which included fundraising events and support services for serving and returned soldiers. The aim of the project was to explore how these themes are reflected in materials held in local history and heritage collections. This research will be used to inform an exhibition that the City of Port Phillip will develop in 2015.









Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria

The narrow laneways that wind their way throughout Melbourne’s CBD have become icons of the city’s rich culture and history. But how did laneways appear in the city in the first place and what can they tell us about its past? Using PROV’s extensive collection of rate books, Sands and McDougall directories and building applications, this article 'Little Latrobe Street and the Historical Significance of Melbourne's Laneways' by Fiona Poulton examines the history and heritage of Melbourne’s ‘little’ streets through an in-depth study of one particular inner-city laneway. The article can be read in full here.

Issue 10, 2011
ISSN 1832-2522


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Circa: The Journal of Professional Historians

The historian’s job is to capture the past. But as well as this, we are charged with the sometimes daunting task of making that past accessible, relevant and sometimes most challenging of all – interesting. The tools available to historians to help tell these stories are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. New technologies mean new ways of communicating and this article 'Reflecting on History, Entertainment and New Media' by Lucy Bracey examines the ways in which historians and history is engaging with these new forms of presentation. By looking at the links between history and entertainment, this article identifies some of the questions and challenges raised by the engagement of history and new technologies and explores the ways in which historians are utilising these innovative methods to engage with audiences.

Issue 2, 2011
ISSN 1837-784X





Reflections of Fitzroy

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Spanning from the 1850s to the 1990s, this collection of essay celebrating the sesquicentenary of the suburb of Fitzroy includes many local icons (the Labour in Vain, St Vincent’s, Edinburgh Gardens), as well as broader themes on prostitution, World War I, the depression, education and the final decade of the Fitzroy City Council. Lucy Bracey contributed an article on prostitution and the ‘social evil’ in the suburb during the late nineteenth century.


School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, 2008
ISBN 987-0-646-49608-5
223 pages. Soft cover with black and white images



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'They Are But Women': The Road to Female Suffrage in Victoria

 This collection of essays examines and illuminates people, events and organisations surrounding the enfranchisement of women in Victoria. Published to commemorate the centenary of this achievement in 2008, They Are But Women celebrates and contributes to the enduring legacy of female suffrage in Victoria. Fiona Poulton contributed an article on Margaret Goldspink and the charity workers of Melbourne.

School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, 2007
ISBN 978-0-646-47727-5
221 pages. Soft cover with black and white illustrations





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The Encyclopedia of Melbourne

The Encyclopedia of Melbourne is a comprehensive guide to the history, people, events and businesses that make Melbourne one of the world’s great cities. Created by a team of academic experts and professional historians including Way Back When, the Encyclopedia covers the city's history from pre-European settlement up to the present day. Entries range from short factual summaries about places, institutions and events, through to extended survey articles on key topics such as Architecture, Aboriginal Melbourne, Economy, Early Settlement, Law and Order, Literature, Science, Sport, Suburbia, Theatre and Transport.

Cambridge University Press, 2005
ISBN 10 0-521-84234-4
820 pages. Hardback







The Complete Fact Finder on Australia and the World

The ultimate resource for every reference library, this book features over a million facts, figures and statistics, presented in an engaging and accessible manner. Contributions by Way Back When include chapters on Australian History and States and Territories.

Hardie Grant Books, 2004, 2005 and 2006
ISBN 1-74066-333-0 (2006)
646 pages. Paperback (2006)


Kraft Australia

An audit of historical records at Kraft Australia was undertaken by Way Back When with the prospect of a compiling a comprehensive history of the company’s rich history in order to preserve the stories of early founders and record the important legacy of Kraft in Australia.





Melbourne University Mosaic: People and Places

This collection of essays brings together the various elements that have shaped the development and character of the University of Melbourne, historically and today. Using archival remnants and individual memories, the collection highlights the variety of faculties, departments, colleges, activities and concerns of the university at many different points in time. Way Back When contributions include chapters on the Town and Gown Guild by Sarah Rood and Myra Roper by Katherine Sheedy.

Melbourne University Press, 1998
ISBN 0-7340-1544-5
372 pages. Softcover with black and white illustrations


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