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Prime Ministers Centre Fellowships.

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Media Release

34/2008 26 November 2008

Special Minister of State, Senator John Faulkner, today announced the recipients of eight Australian Prime Ministers Centre (APMC) Fellowships and one Summer Scholarship, provided by Old Parliament House.

The Fellowships allow researchers to explore the history of Australia’s prime ministers and how they shaped the Australia we live in today.

Senator Faulkner said ‘Now in its second year, the Australian Prime Ministers Centre Research and Scholarship Program is proving to be a truly valuable initiative that supports historians in researching and writing political history with a focus on Australia's heads of government. I am delighted that the program has attracted such a high calibre and diversity of applicants.’

The Fellows will undertake research projects on topics as diverse as the crucial role that radio played in Joseph Lyons’ successful 1931 election campaign, and the roles of former Prime Ministers Hawke and Fraser in the human rights campaign for Soviet Jewry.

Recipients of the 2008-09 APMC Fellowships are Dr David Bird, Professor Carl Bridge, Dr David Lee, Professor Philippa Mein-Smith, Mr Michael Piggott, Mr Nick Richardson, Dr Suzanne Rutland and Mr Bob Wurth.

In addition to the Fellowship program, which is aimed at established researchers, Summer Scholarships are presented to students and graduates just starting their research careers. This year’s recipient is Ms Isabelle Barrett Meyering.

Summer scholars work on research projects which contribute to Old Parliament House’s public history program, with a focus on prime ministers.

The Fellowships are selected by an independent selection panel convened by Old Parliament House representing national collecting institutions and the academic community.

Information about the Australian Prime Ministers Centre can be found at or

For more information on 2008 Fellowship research projects or to arrange an interview please contact either Michael Richards (Ph 02 6270 8174) or Linda MacFarlane (Ph 02 6270 8134) at Old Parliament House.

Details of the recipients and their projects are attached.

Prime Ministers Centre Fellowships

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APMC research & scholarship program 2008-09 Fellows & Summer scholars

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Fellows Project Proposal

Bird, Dr David Currently employed as archivist and school historian at Camberwell Grammar School.

Examining political thinking and practice of Joe Lyons. Looking at Lyons as an innovator both domestically and externally, with an interest in the politics of the ‘third way’.

Bridge, Professor Carl Head of Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, United Kingdom.

Biography of Billy Hughes, part of a published series on world leaders who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Lee, Dr David Director, Historical Publications & Information Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Biography of Stanley Melbourne Bruce. Particularly examining his post prime ministerial career, with a focus on Bruce as a consistent internationalist. To conclude work commenced under a 2007-08 APMC Fellowship.

Mein-Smith, Professor Philippa Professor of History and Director of New Zealand- Australia Research Centre, University of Canterbury.

Why was John McEwen such a friend of NZ? Will look at the role of McEwen in developing Australia-NZ relationships, particularly the Australia-NZ Free Trade Agreement in 1965.

Piggott, Michael University of Melbourne Archivist.

Bibliographic project to identify and describe collections in the ANU official archives and the Noel Butlin Archives which directly document Australian PMs up to Menzies.

Richardson, Nick Group News Editor, Leader Community Newspapers

Researching the background, implementation and impact of the use of radio in the 1931 Federal election campaign. Contending that the radio helped to establish a new means of interaction between the government and the nation. It was an essential element of Joe Lyons popular support.

Rutland, Dr Suzanne Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies, Uni. of Sydney

Research of the Australian role in the human rights campaign for Soviet Jewry. Particularly the role played by Prime Ministers Fraser and Hawke, who strongly supported the campaign.

Wurth, Bob Author and John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library visiting scholar for 2009.

Examining the personal relationship between Curtin and Menzies and Japan’s first minister to Australia Tatsuo Kawai. Secondly John Curtin and the war with Japan, focusing on a further exploration and translation of Japanese documentation in Canberra on the Japanese military threat

to Australia.

Summer Scholar Recent research experience

Isabelle Barrett Meyering - Bachelor of Arts, Honours in History, University of Sydney

Australian women’s history and labour history. Involved in joint research project by the University of NSW and NSW Department of Environment on the recreation history of NSW national parks

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Last Updated: 26 November, 2008

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