Australian Journal of Biography and History

The Australian Journal of Biography and History is an initiative of the National Centre of Biography (NCB) in the Research School of Social Sciences at The Australian National University. The NCB was established in 2008 to extend the work of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and to serve as a focus for the study of life writing in Australia, supporting innovative research and writing to the highest standards in the field, nationally and internationally. The Australian Journal of Biography and History seeks to promote the study of biography in Australia. Articles that appear in the journal are lively, engaging and provocative, and are intended to appeal to the current popular and scholarly interest in biography, memoir and autobiography. They recount interesting and telling life stories and engage critically with issues and problems in historiography and life writing.

The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles on Australian historical biography, including biographical studies, studies relating to theory and methodology, and the associated genres of autobiography, life writing, memoir, collective biography and prosopography. We are especially interested in articles that explore the way in which biography and its associated genres can illuminate themes in Australian history, including women in Australian society, family history, transnational networks and mobilities, and Indigenous history.

Ownership and management

The Australian Journal of Biography and History is an initiative of the National Centre of Biography (NCB) in the Research School of Social Sciences at The Australian National University, and ANU Press publishes a free electronic version and a print-on-demand hard copy of the journal.

Publishing schedule

The Australian Journal of Biography and History is published biannually.

Access

Fully open-access electronic publication with a print-on-demand hard copy option.

Copyright and licensing

All issues published from Volume 4(1) onwards are published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Issues published previous to this are under a standard copyright licence.

Authors retain copyright of articles published in this journal.

Revenue sources

The Australian Journal of Biography and History is supported by The Australian National University.

Author fees

There are no fees charged to authors for publishing work in the Australian Journal of Biography and History. Authors are, however, expected to pay where required any fees arising from using copyright works within their articles.

Peer review process

All articles submitted to this journal undergo a double-blind peer-review process. The peer-review process is arranged by the Journal Editor, who then decides upon publication, amendment or rejection. Manuscripts that undergo amendment may be subject to further review by the Journal Editor or an external reviewer.

Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct

If the Journal Editor receives a credible allegation of misconduct by an author, reviewer, or editor, then they have a duty to investigate the matter with ANU Press, in consultation with relevant Associate Editors and members of the Editorial Board. If the claim is substantiated, the Editor will follow the guidelines set out by COPE for retracting the article in question.

If the Journal Editor receives convincing evidence that the main substance or conclusions of an article published in the journal are incorrect, then, in consultation with the journal’s Associate Editors and/or Editorial Board and ANU Press, the Journal Editor will ensure the publication of an appropriate notice of correction.

Publication ethics

The journal follows the guidelines set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines

Duties/responsibilities of authors

Authors are responsible for providing:

  • original submissions of articles, fully referenced according to the journal’s guidelines, which follow Chicago style with Australian spelling. For more details on Chicago style, please see: www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html (incorrect referencing will mean that articles may not be considered for publication)
  • payment for all costs and copyright permissions of all images
  • filling out journal copyright and author’s declaration forms, which will be provided to authors once an article is accepted for publication
  • acknowledgement of any material that has been previously published • acknowledging any external research grants/conflicts of interest.

Duties/responsibilities of editors

  • The Editor of Australian Journal of Biography and History may reject a submitted manuscript without formal peer review if he/she considers it to be inappropriate for the journal and outside its scope.
  • The Editor reserves the right to have final decisions on the content of all journal issues.
  • The Editor keeps the peer-review process confidential.
  • The Editor will make all reasonable effort to process submissions on time.
  • The Editor will delegate the peer review of any original self-authored research article to a member of the editorial or advisory board as appropriate.

Duties/responsibilities of reviewers

Reviewers are responsible for ensuring:

  • timely production of reviews
  • fair and unbiased assessment
  • they follow the guidelines for review document of the journal, which will be provided to the reviewer once they accept the position.

In addition, reviewers will keep in mind the following guidelines for the review: https://publicationethics.org/files/Ethical_Guidelines_For_Peer_Reviewers_2.pdf

Editorial team

  • Editor: Malcolm Allbrook
  • Book Review Editor: Melanie Nolan
  • Copyeditor: Geoff Hunt

Editorial Board

  • Malcolm Allbrook (ANU)
  • David Carment (Charles Darwin University)
  • Libby Connors (University of Southern Queensland)
  • Karen Fox (ANU)
  • Sam Furphy (ANU)
  • Lawrence Goldman (St Peter’s College, University of Oxford)
  • Catherine Kevin (Flinders University)
  • Lenore Layman (University of Western Australia)
  • Doug Munro (University of Queensland)
  • Melanie Nolan (ANU)
  • Carolyn Rasmussen (University of Melbourne)
  • Hans Renders (University of Groningen)
  • Sophie Scott-Brown (University of East Anglia)

Contact Details

All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor, Australian Journal of Biography and History, National Centre of Biography, School of History, RSSS, 9 Fellows Road (Coombs Building), Acton, ANU, 2601, or Malcolm.Allbrook@anu.edu.au.

Please send article submissions or abstracts to the Editor, Dr Malcolm Allbrook, National Centre of Biography, The Australian National University. Email: Malcolm.Allbrook@anu.edu.au. Articles should be in the range of 5,000 to 8,000 words (excluding footnotes), although longer submissions may be considered after consultation with the Editor.

Style and referencing: please use footnotes in Chicago style, and follow Australian spelling.


Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 3, 2020 »

Publication date: April 2020
The articles in this issue of the Australian Journal of Biography and History consider subjects who have lived across and between national and internal Australian boundaries, and the authors have thus been compelled to address the methodological and theoretical problems of mobility. Kate Bagnall addresses the seemingly insurmountable problem of writing about Chinese women who settled in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. Contrasting with the dearth of information on Chinese women immigrants to colonial New South Wales, Jackie Dickenson’s chapter on Hong Kong–based merchant and trader Melbourne-born Elma Kelly (1895–1974) benefits from an abundance of documentation, both in the realm of the personal and official. In her article on the Corney family in the aftermath of World War I, Alexandra McKinnon considers the record of loss and sorrow preserved in the archives of the Australian War Memorial. Very different methodological questions are explored by Suzanne Robinson in her reflections on writing a biography of the Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912–90). As a feminist biographer, Robinson had to face a most ‘troublesome question’ of whether her subject’s considerable imperfections, which became evident during research, risked undermining her status as a composer, particularly one whose reputation was yet to be fully established. A different form of methodological question is posed by Pat Buckridge in his article on three generations of Macdougall men, each of whom became journalists—Dugald (1833–79), who also excelled in business and politics, Dugald the younger (1872–1947), and James (1903–95). The question Buckridge considers is whether his subjects can ‘usefully be considered as a grouped biographical entity signifying more than the sum of its parts, which is to say more than the three separate lives’. By contrast, Peter Crabb’s article on the colonial goldfields reporter John Augustus Hux (1826–64) relates the story of a single figure who, having made connections in his English homeland that would serve him well in Australia, provided eyewitness accounts of a number of significant goldfields in New South Wales, which were widely read in the colony and thus helped to form popular images of the industry. Finally, in a departure from the theme of mobility characterising the other contributions, Nichola Garvey documents her experiences of working with the Western Australian iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest to research and write his biography. In what was conceived by both the author and the subject as an ‘authorised biography’, Garvey’s article raises some fundamental questions about biographical writing of living persons, including the utility and pitfalls of what she calls ‘expressivist anthropology’, as well as the scope of authorisation in biographical writing.

Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 2, 2019 »

Publication date: October 2019
The second issue of the Australian Journal of Biography and History is a joint project between the National Centre of Biography at The Australian National University (ANU), and the Canberra and District Historical Society (CDHS). It seeks to recognise, perhaps reiterate, the relationship between the study of biography, as exemplified by the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), and the practice of local and family history and heritage, the mission of the society. Most of the contributors are members of the society, and have been involved in the often painstaking and minute study of aspects of the history of Canberra and its region for many years. In ‘A City and Its People: Canberra in the Australian Dictionary of Biography’, Karen Fox explores Canberra history by discussing some of wide array of people ‘who have lived, worked, loved, and fought in the Canberra district’, and who are represented in the ADB. James McDonald, in his article ‘A Good Sheep Station Ruined’, examines the pastoral origins of the Canberra district, finding that the industry in the region was, before the founding of the capital city, a centre of innovation and enterprise, with stations such as Henry ‘Babe’ Curran’s Ginninderra a national exemplar of the wool industry. In a second article, ‘Migration as an Opportunity for Reinvention’, McDonald discusses the potential of immigration to refashion identities, using the biographies of Alfred and Margaret Rich, early settlers at Gundaroo, who had faced disadvantages in England because of their racial backgrounds. ‘Three Years in the Life of Chief Constable Patrick Kinsela’, by Gillian Kelly, examines the role of the first policeman in the district, who took up his posting at the nascent town of Queanbeyan in 1837, and in many ways exemplified the system of justice in the region until his early death in 1841. Kinsela is an unusual biographical subject as very little is known about his life until he assumed the role, while from then on, his life and times comes into focus by virtue of his reports, reports in the local press and colonial government inquiries. Michael Hall, in his article ‘The Sentinel over Canberra’s Military History’, explores the connections between the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist, now in the Canberra suburb of Reid, and the military, and the war experiences of some of its parishioners. The final two articles of the issue move towards aspects of the modern history of Canberra, the first exploring the life stories of Vince and Viola Kalokerinos who, for many years, ran a milk bar at Curtin, a place that has assumed a prominent place in both the commercial and social history, and indeed has become almost a part of the folklore, of the city. Their story is a reminder of the impact of Greek immigrants on the development of Canberra, and their willingness to work long hours to provide essential services to a population that was made up largely of government employees. Finally, Nick Swain discusses the life and work of one of Canberra’s early photographic entrepreneurs, Les Dwyer, who came to Canberra as a construction labourer in 1924 but, as a consequence of the Depression and workplace injury, converted a hobby into an enterprise. Included also are two essay length review articles, and a series of reviews on recently published Australian biographical works.

Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 1, 2018 »

Publication date: December 2018
In this first issue, a diverse range of essays primarily relates to questions of individuals and the contexts in which they functioned, the ‘middle ground’ between a life and the times. Four of them concern Australian women who operated and negotiated various fields of endeavour, only one of which—the role of headmistress of a girls’ school—was unambiguously a woman’s domain. The profile of Miss Annie Hughston (1859–1943) shows how a strong figure could have a disproportionate influence on women entering male bastions. Similarly, Nancy Atkinson, a pioneering bacteriologist at the University of Adelaide, was not only a scientific researcher of note but a teacher of generations of graduate students. Yet when the chair in her field finally became available, she was overlooked in favour of a male English import, despite having acted in the role for many years. She was valued it seems more for her teaching than her research, a classic tendency to ascribe to women in scientific circles a nurturing rather than a knowledge-creating function. Jean Andruana Jimmy (1912–1991), a Yupngayth woman from Mapoon in north Queensland, also became prominent in community leadership and land rights activism, areas that had been assumed to be male spheres. Yet leading her community was by no means as revolutionary as was often assumed by outside European observers, for Andruana saw herself resuming a role that was entirely consistent with women’s responsibilities. Sophie Scott-Brown’s portrait of the playwright and director Eunice Hangar examines the nature of reading as ‘a simultaneously social and individualistic activity’ and its implications for understanding the way Australians have read English writers. The article on the nineteenth-century journalist and gold commissioner Fredrick Dalton explores the potential of nineteenth-century mobilities in the formation of identity. Karen Fox explores how family history, in this case the Stephen and Street ‘legal dynasty’, can illuminate an understanding of legal and power relations in a geographic setting. The article on André Kostermans, a renowned Dutch Indonesian botanist, is also on one level a story of shifting identity. Born in the Dutch East Indies, and trained in botany in Holland, Kostermans was interned by the Japanese during World War II, and used his skills to supplement the diet of his fellow prisoners of war, and to develop a ‘bush’ procedure for producing surgical-grade alcohol, actions that undoubtedly saved the lives of many. After the war, his career was almost ruined by the Indonesian government’s response to his homosexuality. In the final essay, the University of Xian scholar Tiping Su discusses the problem of the ‘missing’ Chinese in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, explaining the various issues in identifying and historicising the many Chinese who sojourned in Australia, as well as those who stayed.