Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises


Scottish Expert Presenter

Chris PatonChris Paton

Chris Paton is a professional genealogist and regular contributor to several family history publications, including Your Family History, Practical Family History, Family History Monthly and Discover my Past Scotland. Formerly a BBC television producer, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies and runs the Scotland's Greatest Story ancestral research service (www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk ). He also teaches online Scottish courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com ). Chris was the featured presenter at the Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Sydney Expo in October 2010, and we hope to see him regularly down under.




Irish Expert Presenters

Keith Johnson AM, FRAHS, FSAG, FSG Johnson

Keith Johnson joined the Royal Australian Historical Society in 1962 and the Society of Australian Genealogists in 1964. He has served on the councils of both for many years, including terms as Vice-President of the RAHS and President of SAG on a number of occasions.

The RAHS awarded him a Fellowship in 1982 for his service to that Society and contributions in advancing the knowledge of history particularly through the production of historical publications. He was elected a Fellow of the SAG in 1975 for his services to the Society and to scholarship. In 1992 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists, London, for service to international genealogy. He was awarded the inaugural C.H. Currey Memorial Fellowship from the State Library of NSW in 1975. In 2003 in recognition of his outstanding service to genealogy and as an author and publisher of Australian family history he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia. In 2006 the History Council of NSW awarded him its Annual History Citation to an eminent historian to honour a lifetime of service to history. The Citation recognises individuals for outstanding research and scholarship and acknowledges their broader contribution through teaching, leadership, mentoring and community involvement.

Keith, with his business partner, Malcolm Sainty, has published numerous historical books over 40 years many years until "retirement" recently, Best known worldwide is their International Genealogical Directory, published annually from 1981 to 2007. But "retirement" for Keith has meant more time to devote to their Biographical Database of Australia (BDA) project, which may well be the greatest legacy Keith and Malcolm leave to historians and genealogists. Keith also brings to our cruise a rare insight and knowledge of Ireland and Irish research.

Click here for History Council of NSW 2006 Citation


Dr Perry McIntyrePerry McIntyre

Dr Perry McIntyre has worked in genealogy for over 30 years, has been a councillor of the Society of Australian Genealogists for over 19 years until November 2008 and co-tour leader of nine successful tours of Ireland between 1991 and 2007. She still convenes the SAG Irish Interest Group. She was President of the History Council of NSW in 2005-06 and is currently a member of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee. Perry has published and spoken extensively on genealogy and immigration, especially on Irish immigration for over 25 years. She was awarded her PhD in 2006 looking at the wives and familes of convicts' scheme. She has recently been co-author of three books on single female emigration in the 1830s and currently works part-time as the historian and archivist at St John's College, within the University of Sydney.
Perry's Australia-Ireland web site





Dr Richard Reid Reid

Richard Reid is an Irish ‘assisted immigrant’ who arrived in Sydney, NSW, in January 1972. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queens University, Belfast, he taught at a state high school in Wollongong for 11 years before becoming the Secondary Education Officer at the Australian War Memorial. While at the Memorial he received his Ph.D. from the Australian National University for his work on Irish assisted emigration to New South Wales, 1848-1870, published in 2011 as Farewell My Children – Irish Assisted Emigration to Australia, 1848-1870. He has worked on many other Irish-Australian projects such as events for the Australian Bicentenary (1988) celebrations in Ireland, and was the Senior Curator for the National Museum of Australia’s major Irish exhibition, Not Just Ned – a true history of the Irish in Australia, in 2011. Richard also co-led the Society of Australian Genealogists first official tour of Ireland (with Keith Johnston) in 1984, and with Perry McIntyre has led a number of other SAG tours to Ireland. Among his publications on Irish-Australia are A decent set of girls – the Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850  (with Cheryl Mongan) and Sinners, Saints and Settlers – a Journey through Irish-Australia (with Brendon Kelson, photographer).

Since his appointment to the Australian War Memorial, Richard has had a close involvement with interpreting the experiences of Australians in war, especially in World War I. In 1993, he was the AWM’s Executive Officer for the project which returned the remains of an Unknown Australian Soldier to the Hall of Memory at the Memorial. For the last ten years he has led Australian groups to Gallipoli and the Western Front (France and Belgium) and he is currently the Australian historian on the official tri-nation (Turkey, Australia and New Zealand) historical and archaeological survey of the Anzac battlefield. Since 1997 (with a break between November 2007 and July 2011 at the National Museum of Australia), Richard has worked as a historian for the Commemoration’s Branch of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs where he authored a number of  books and websites including anzacsite.gov.au (Gallipoli), ww1westernfront.gov.au (Australians on the Western Front, 1916-1918) and Gallipoli 1915 (ABC Books).   

General Presenters

Jan Gow Gow

Jan says she has been ‘Hooked on Genealogy’ since 1981 when she won an airfare to the States. She has been a tutor, author and lecturer at local, national and international levels since 1985. And on cruise ships! She has served three years as Treasurer and then three years President New Zealand Society of Genealogists. She is presently the Liaison Officer for FamilySearch/NZSG, is a NZSG Life Member and Past Board Member Association Professional Genealogists. She has owned Beehive Books since 1987, the one-stop-shop for NZ genealogists and led Hooked on Genealogy Tours (since 1992) – each year preparing and escorting genealogists to Salt Lake City for three weeks and on to the UK for a further three weeks.

Jan was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Service to Family History in 2006. She was on the organising committee for the AFFHO Congress in Auckland in 2009, and the NZ Family History Fair in 2010. She has for ten years written a monthly genealogy column for NZ’s Netguide magazine, with a feature article most years.

Jan says "I need another category on my passport - that of Auskiwi - born in Australia, but live in Auckland NZ. Jan was a presenter at 2011 Rootstech conference in Salt Lake City and at the 2011 Who Do You Think You Are? Live air show in London, two of the largest family history events in the world.



Shauna HicksShauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years primarily in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. She is currently Director of Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and a collaborative partner in Unlock The Past. Shauna has a number of tertiary qualifications from Queensland universities as well as the Diploma in Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists. She is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society; a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award and in 2009 received the AFFHO Services to Family History Award. More details.





Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke

Rosemary has been tracing her family since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician though now works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and Unlock the Past. She has published numerous indexes but is best known for Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879. A current member of the AFFHO Council and the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of QFHS and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History. More details.