Oral History NSW
Giving Voice to the Past
Giving Voice to the Past
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Oral History NSW Seminar and AGM 2017

Oral History Seminar

Oral History NSW is pleased to present a lecture by historian Dr Tanya Evans. The event will be followed by the Oral History NSW Annual General Meeting.

Swimming with the Spit: Feminist oral sport history and the process of ‘sharing authority’ with 20th Century Female swimming champions in Sydney

Dr Evans' last book Swimming with the Spit, 100 years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club was a community history written to encourage readers and swimmers, young and old, to think about their ambles down to the beach, their invigorating swims and refreshing afternoon dips on sultry Sydney-summer days and crisp winter mornings, with an eye on their history. Passion for a sport in the present can overshadow its fascinating past. 

This talk will reveal how feminist oral histories of the Spit Club's female swimming champions were used  to trace the ways in which swimming and its historical meanings have changed for women in twentieth-century Australia. It reveals the lack of cultural scripts local female swimming stars could call upon to narrate their life stories and sporting success, the different ways in which they want their lives remembered and how historians might approach the complex construction of these histories when writing public history and trying to share authority in the process.


Dr Tanya EvansDr Tanya Evans is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern History at Macquarie University.

She is a public historian who specializes in the social and cultural history of the family. She is passionate about researching ordinary people and places in the past and incorporating ordinary people and places in the process of her research and the construction of historical knowledge. 

Her first three books were about the history of ‘illegitimacy’, poverty and philanthropy.  Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial New South Wales (2015) was about Australia’s oldest surviving charity, the Benevolent Society and she wrote this in collaboration with family historians. This won the NSW Premier's History Prize for Community and Regional history last year.

She loves teaching and producing public history and working in teams. She has curated an exhibition on lone mothers at The Women's Library in London and another on the Spit Swimming Club with her students and Local Studies Librarian Donna Bray at Mosman Library. Swimming with the Spit, 100 Years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club was published by New South in late 2016.

Dr Evans has worked as a consultant for television production companies in Britain and Australia including Who Do You Think You Are? 

She is also President of the History Council of NSW.

Event details:

Date: 9th August 2017
Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Drinks: 5pm-6pm
Presentation: 6pm-6.45pm
Oral History NSW AGM: From 6.45pm

Cost: $15 (Members)/ $20 (Non-Members)
The AGM is free to all