History, Genealogy and Heritage Events

Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Queensland Expo 2012 Presenters

Overseas presenters

Audrey Collins, The National Archives UKCollins

Audrey Collins is a Glaswegian whose background is Scots and Irish with no English ancestry whatsoever, but she has lived in England for 50 years, and been researching English genealogy for the last 25. She is particularly interested in the history of the General Register Office of England and Wales, in newspapers and periodicals, and the history of the retail trade. She has a degree in history and politics from the University of Warwick, and was a freelance researcher, speaker, teacher and writer on family history before joining The National Archives in 2002. She started at the now defunct Family Records Centre, then worked as an editor on research guidance and online tutorials. She has held the post of  Records Specialist - Family History since February 2010. Podcasts of several of her talks can be found on The National Archives media player http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk

She has spoken at many genealogy events and conferences in the UK, Ireland, the USA and Canada, as well as on a genealogy cruise in the Caribbean. Her writing credits include contributions to several family history magazines, and she is the co-author with Dave Annal of  the forthcoming 'Birth, Marriage and Death Records: a guide for family historians'. She makes occasional radio and TV appearances, including a feature for the interactive element of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? She also has a keen interest in online resources and social media, with her blog 'The Family Recorder' and as a regular contributor to The National Archives new blog http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk You can also follow her on Twitter @audreycollins23 

Dan Lynch - Connecticut, USA

Dan Lynch is a technology marketing consultant and professional genealogist based in Connecticut. After 15 years in the computer industry, Dan turned his focus to the emerging online market for genealogy and in 1998 joined Ancestry as vice president of business development. In 2003, he founded Mattatuck Consulting, a private firm specialising in Internet and search engine marketing solutions. Dan is a Life Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a Life Member of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, a consultant to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, and a frequent lecturer at local and national genealogy conferences. In 2008 he wrote the award winning book, Google Your Family Tree.

Australian presenters - more to be advised, including society, library and archives presenters

Jill Ball - New South WalesBall

Jill, now an amateur genealogist, has been a librarian, teacher and, most recently, Head of Information Technology in a Sydney Independent School. In 2011 Jill was honoured with Life membership of School Library Association NSW for her work in education.

This connected Granny uses Web 2.0 tools including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Picasa, and Blogger to communicate with genealogists and family members around the globe. She shares her passion for integrating technology with genealogy through her blog, Geniaus, and with presentations in Australia and internationally at Rootstech. 

Jill was an Official Blogger for the 2011 and 2012 Rootstech Conferences in Salt Lake City and the 13th Australian Genealogy Congress in Adelaide. She has written several articles for Inside History Magazine and is a contributor to Unlock the Past's History and Genealogy 2012: Australia and New Zealand.


Neville Buch - Professional Historians Association, Queensland

Dr Neville Buch is the e-Bulletin Editor and member of the Management Committee for the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). He has his own history consultancy business which specialise in community history and socio-intellectual history in Queensland.

Lee Butterworth - Research Associate, Find and Connect, Queensland

Lee Butterworth is a Research Associate working as the Queensland based Historian on the Find and Connect web resource for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. Lee has recently completed her Doctoral Thesis, titled 'What good is a coroner? The transformation of the Queensland office of coroner 1859 - 1959', at Griffith University. She has previously written about 'Baby Farming' in Queensland in the early 20th century.

Stephen Dando-Collins - internationally acclaimed author, TasmaniaDando-Collins

Stephen is the award-winning international author of 26 books about the history of Australia, Britain, France, America and ancient Rome. With a literary agent in New York, he is published in Australia, the US, UK, and numerous foreign languages. Stephen is a full-time author who uses his research know-how as the former national head of a market research company as he delves into the past lives of the many real people he writes about. Historical and genealogical research, he says, is, for him, half the fun of writing a book, and is often like a treasure hunt. Many is the time he has unearthed literary gold in his researches, which have taken him all around the world. Stephen will be talking about his Australian-based books, delivering research case studies in which you’ll learn of the fascinating twists, turns and discoveries that his historical detective work produces. 

Stephen is a member of numerous literary organisations, including the Historical Writers Association of the UK. A highly experienced, entertaining and fascinating speaker, he regularly gives talks and lectures about the subjects of his books, from the Academy of Science in Canberra to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, from National Public Radio in the US to Provence in the South of France. He will be a featured presenter on 3rd Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruise in February 2013


Niles Elvery - Queensland State Archives

Niles Elvery is the Manager Public Access at the Queensland State Archives. Queensland State Archives is custodian of the State's largest and most significant collection of government records and is an invaluable research facility for those researching their family tree or local history. Niles has been in his current role for over 9 years and has in excess of 25 years of experience working with Queensland's documentary heritage. Niles began his career at a cataloguer at the State Library of Queensland and has worked with various collections at the John Oxley Library including the oral history, photograph and manuscript collections. Now at the Queensland State Archives, Niles has focussed much attention to enhancing resource discovery for the public records held in the Archives through an improved indexing program and is involved in developing a program of on-line service enhancements to assist in the delivery of content to the researchers. Niles also enjoys telling people about the marvellous collections held at the Queensland State Archives.


Kerry Farmer - professional genealogist, New South Wales

Kerry worked for many years designing, writing and testing computer software. Teaching family history classes since 1997, Kerry is on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at adult education colleges and elsewhere. She currently teaches online courses in “Australian and New Zealand Genealogy” through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (see www.genealogicalstudies.com ). Kerry and Rosemary Kopittke recently wrote the book Which Genealogy Program? published by Unlock the Past. More recently Kerry wrote the book DNA for Genealogists, also published by Unlock the Past.


Jack Ford - Brisbane City Council's Heritage Unit, Queensland

Dr. Jonathan (Jack) Ford is a graduate of the Central Queensland University and the University of Queensland. He is a professional historian working for the Brisbane City Council's Heritage Unit plus he undertakes some private consultancy work. Apart from Brisbane history, Jack's other area of expertise is as a military historian, particularly World War II. He has authored two books, provided entries in military encyclopaedias and he has produced numerous journal articles and conference papers, all of which deal with various aspects of World War II. He is one of the authors of the important Queensland WWII Historic Places website. For the last 3 years, Jack has been one of the three co-presenters of the ABC TV coverage of the Brisbane Anzac Day March.


John Graham - Ryerson Index, QueenslandGraham

John has been actively involved in genealogy since he started researching his own family in 1975. His interests subsequently expanded to embrace local history, in particular the area of the South Coast of NSW centred on the town of Gerringong. He has written five books on aspects of local history of the area, and co-authored a sixth. From 1998 until 2005 John was head of the Sydney Dead Persons Society, during which time the DPS founded the Ryerson Index. John is currently President of Ryerson Index Inc. Since retiring after a 40-year career in IT, John is now a full-time genealogist. John is a member of Shoalhaven FHS; Gerringong HS; Richmond-Tweed FHS and Toowoomba-Darling Downs FHS.

Shauna Hicks - leading Australian presenter, Victoria


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 Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Graham Jaunay - professional genealogist, South AustraliaJaunay

Adelaide Proformat is the trading name used by professional genealogist, Graham Jaunay based in Adelaide. Graham is a history/politics graduate of the University of Adelaide, a registered teacher and life member of the Australian College of Educators. He is an adjunct lecturer in genealogy with Flinders University. He is a member of the Australasian Association of Genealogists & Record Agents. Graham's experience in family history goes back to 1968 when he started researching his own family. Graham Jaunay believes in giving back to the hobby and has held a number of leadership roles in Australian Family History Societies. He operates a number of free services and freely accessible databases holding South Australian material. Visit these via the Free Help and Name Lists buttons on his website.

Steinar Johansen - Scandinavian researcher, Queensland 

Steinar was born in Norway, and started to trace his own ancestors at age 8, and visited archives in Norway from age 10.  He arrived in Australia in 1970, stayed 7 years in Sydney, 3 years in Mount Isa before settling in Brisbane in 1980, working in the IT industry (has been a full member of the Australian Computer Society for many years). He joined the Scandinavian Group of Genealogical Society of Queensland in 1981, and has been the convenor of that group since 1982 (30 years as convenor this year). There have been several research trips to archives and libraries in Denmark, Norway and Sweden where he has successfully found ancestors and living relations for hundreds of Australian and New Zealand families. Steinar has also helped to find relations in Australia and New Zealand for Scandinavian families.

Dan Kelly - Boolaroong PressKelly

Dan Kelly has been the General Manager of Boolarong Press for the last ten years. He has grown the business 500% over that time. Boolarong Press, established in 1976, is synomous with book publishing in Queensland. Boolarong is a long time supporter of Queensland authors. Its main genre is non-fiction history and biographies as well as Australiana children’s books. Its largest selling book was Money Made Simple by Noel Whittaker – selling over 300,000 copies. Dan will give two short presentations:

How to publish your book.
This short seminar will take you through the process from manuscript to a finished printed book and/or ebook. It covers the processes required and the decisions you need to make before starting your manuscript. 
Book Typsetting and Printing
Two of the most important processes in producing a book are typesetting and printing. This seminar covers the methods used and the decisions made  prior to producing a book. This knowledge will save you considerable time and money.
  • How to publish your book - this will take you through the process from manuscript to a finished printed book and/or ebook. It covers the processes required and the decisions you need to make before starting your manuscript. 
  • Book Typsetting and Printing - two of the most important processes in producing a book are typesetting and printing. This seminar covers the methods used and the decisions made prior to producing a book. This knowledge will save you considerable time and money.

Eric Kopittke - German expert, Queensland


A teacher of Physics and Mathematics, Eric has been researching his families since 1985. He has published many indexes but his primary work has been the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 publication. He is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and AFFHO recognised his contributions to family history in 2006 with an Award for Meritorious Service to Family History. Locally, he is the convenor of the Central European Group of the Queensland FHS.

Rosemary Kopittke - online data expert, QueenslandKopittkeR

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. 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 Family History Society Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland FHS and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Cassie Mercer - Inside History Magazine, New South WalesMercer

Cassie is the editor and co-publisher of Inside History, a new family history magazine for Australian and New Zealand genealogists, and editor and co-founder of Irish Wattle, a publishing house for Irish convict transportation to NSW prior to 1806. Cassie has worked in publishing since 1999 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at the University of Queensland. Companies she has worked for include UNSW Press, Pacific Magazines and ACP Magazines in Sydney, and Edward Elgar, IPC Media and the National Magazine Company in London. Her 5 x great grandfather was a highwayman in Dublin in the 1790s. She is currently writing a book about some of Irish Wattle's favourite convict rogues and heroes.

Dr Geoff Morgan - Queensland Family History Society

Geoff is an amateur family historian whose main interest at present is documenting the life of his g-grandfather. He also installs and manages Queensland FHS’s vast CD collection. In previous lives he was a primary school administrator, and sessional university lecturer and tutor.


Paul Parton - FamilySearch, New South Walesparton

Paul is a presenter for FamilySearch in their Outreach program. He also gives technical support to 145 Family History Centres Australia-wide. He has had an interest in family history for more than 40 years. Paul was a professional trainer prior to his retirement as Pacific Area Director of Information Technology Services with FamilySearch’s parent organisation. He was also involved in the early development of data acquisition systems for Australia’s nuclear research facility.

Sue Reid
- President, Queensland Family History Society

Sue Reid is the President of the Queensland Family History Society, a position she has held since 2010. She has been researching family history for more than thirty years, inspired to undertake research after being given a copy of a diary written by her newly married 3 x great grandfather while he was a missionary to the Tartary in Russia (1818-1825). This ancestor, Reverend Dr Robert Ross, accompanied by his wife, ministered in Orenburg and Astrakhan, and then spent some years back in England, before emigrating to New South Wales in 1840.

The significance of family history for her arises from curiosity—not so much ‘Who do you think you are?’ as ‘How did you get where you are?’ What decisions did our ancestors make, what events occurred that changed the course of their life, and brought us to here and now? What skills, traits, and abilities did they have which we can identify in living descendants?

As well as serving on the Committee of QFHS, Sue also convenes the QFHS Family History Writing Group and the Computer Training Group of QFHS. She tries to find time to learn the piano, and takes care of her granddaughter one day a week.


Carole Riley - professional genealogist, New South Wales


Carole is a professional genealogist based in Sydney, Australia with a background in computer programming and an interest in using the web to further genealogical education and networking. Carole serves on the Council of the Society of Australian Genealogists  and is the Convenor of their IT Committee. She is also the founder of the Sydney User Group of The Master Genealogist  (TMG) and is currently serving as a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists . She has a Master of Applied Science (Psychology of Coaching) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, and a Diploma of Professional Counselling. Carole writes two blogs - Genealogy in New South Wales  about genealogy research in NSW and elsewhere; and Carole's Canvas , which is her personal blog about her own family history and other topics.

Beryl Roberts - Coopers Plains Local History Group

Author of numerous books including Runcorn Heritage Trail and  Stories of the Southside.

Stephanie Ryan - State Library of QueenslandRyan

Stephanie has been the Senior Librarian in Family History at the State Library of Queensland for 16 years. Previously she was a high school teacher and has an Arts degree, majoring in anthropology, sociology and history as well as graduate diplomas in teaching and teacher-librarianship. She has participated in radio programs and been interviewed for newspaper and magazine articles in this capacity. The family history staff run regular presentations for societies, libraries and the general public, produce several dozen information guides available on the web as well as a collection of Useful websites for family historians, host an electronic noticeboard for family historians to which anyone can contribute, produce specialist indexes available on the family history home page www.slq.qld.gov.au/info/fh and provide a free enquiry service of up to 2 hours per enquiry for Queenslanders backed up by the extensive collections of the State’s main library.

Helen Smith - QueenslandSmith

Helen has been researching her family in Australia, England and Ireland since 1986. She has spoken to a wide variety of audiences including Genealogical Society of Queensland Day Conferences, Library Technician Conference and numerous family history society meetings. Professionally, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specialising in Public Health Microbiology and has a strong interest in infectious diseases and Public Health through the ages. She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Health, Bachelor Applied Science: Medical Laboratory Science and Associate Diploma in Clinical Laboratory Techniques.

Ann Swain - QueenslandSwain

Ann started researching her family’s history in 1975 and is a founding member of the Queensland Family History Society. She is also a very early member of several Scottish and English family history societies and was once rung from England to see if she was in a nursing home because of her very low membership number! Ann taught senior biology for 38 years, after graduating from UQ. She was President, QFHS, 1986-89 and 2007-10; chaired the organising committee for the 7th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Family History, Brisbane 1994; was Secretary of Australasian Federation of Family History Organisation 2004 -09; and is a Fellow of QFHS. She has published articles in QFHS, Aberdeen FHS, Central Scotland FHS and East Surrey FHS journals; is a regular and popular guest speaker; and an expert guest on radio 4BC’s weekly Family History 101 segment.

Saadia Thomson-Dwyer - Queensland State Archives

Saadia Thomson-Dwyer is a Senior Archivist at the Queensland State Archives with over 12 years experience providing access to the extensive collection of public records. Queensland State Archives is custodian of the State's largest and most significant collection of government records and is an invaluable research facility for those researching their family tree or local history. Saadia's other role is that of Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Queensland State Archives Volunteer Program. Through this program, the volunteers create invaluable indexes to the collection which improve access to the records.

Saadia has 25 years experience in the information, records and archives sector working in the Library networks at the University of New England and University of Queensland. Her academic background includes two history degrees and qualifications in archives and records management.


Judy Webster - QueenslandWebster

Judy began investigating her family history in the 1970s. Since 1986 she has worked as a professional genealogist specialising in research at Queensland State Archives, tracing living descendants and working with unusual sources that overcome dead ends. She has a Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History, and she was accredited by the Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents. In 2001 Judy received the Queensland Family History Society's Award for Services to Family History. Her large Web site has free advice on sources and techniques for family history research, and 51,000 names from her indexes to Archives sources. Her publications include Tips for Queensland Research and Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide. Judy was an invited speaker at the 2009 Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, and she has spoken to audiences throughout Queensland, NSW and Western Australia.

Pauline Williams - Genealogical Society of Queensland

Pauline Williams has been researching her family history for over 25 years and joined Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ) in 1987. Her research includes England, America, and Norway. Since 2007, Pauline has taught GSQs Introduction to Genealogy classes, as well as introductory courses at a Brisbane TAFE college, and for the Brisbane City Council library service. She has also taught courses on a wide range of other topics. She currently convenes two interest groups for the Society: English/Irish interest group, and Writing your Family Story group. Pauline has edited the Society's quarterly journal Generation since 2009; was joint editor of Queenslanders: Pioneer families 1859-1901, published as part of GSQs Q150 project to celebrate Queensland's 150th anniversary in 2009; and wrote a brief guide to researching your family history published as a Blake's Go Guide in 2011.