Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

War comes to Australia Seminar - Sydney

Event Information

  • 16 Feb 2012 9:00am - 4:20pm
  • State Records NSW, 2 Globe Street
  • The Rocks, Sydney
  • New South Wales
Other Information
  • Cost: $50

This one-day War comes to Australia Seminar is being held the day before departure on the Unlock the Past War comes to Australia: WWII 70th anniversary tour

Date: Thursday 16 February 9am-4.30pm

Location:  State Records NSW, 2 Globe Street, The Rocks, Sydney

Cost $50 - bookings now open
(lunch available from various places nearby - at your cost)


Preliminary program

  • 9.00am - registration
  • 9.30am - welcome and notices
  • 9.40am - War Comes to Australia 1788-1939  - Dr Craig Wilcox
  • 10.30am - tea break
  • 11.00am - 3 short presentations
     - 11.00am - Qantas Empire Airways and the military WWIIAlan Kitchen
     - 11.20am - Using the Society of Genealogists to trace your military ancestors - Heather Garnsey
     - 11.40am - Introduction to Unlock the Past and some other military resources - Alan Phillips
  • 11.50am - 1942: War comes to Australia (an outline of attacks on Australia) - Brad Manera
  • 12.40pm - lunch
  • 1.40pm - Sydney under attack May-June 1942 - Brad Manera
  • 2.30pm - The social impact of war at home (drawing on the State Library's holdings and other collections) - Dr Tracy Bradford
  • 3.15pm - break
  • 3.25pm - Tracing Military Ancestors at State Records NSW - Christine Yeats, SRNSW
  • 4.20pm - finish

A selection of Unlock the Past publications and military history books will be on sale.



Dr Tracy Bradford

Tracy Bradford is the Head of Manuscripts at the State Library of NSW, a position she has held since May 2009. Tracy has previously worked in a number of NSW state government agencies, including TAFE NSW, Lands Department, Department of Community Services, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and State Records NSW. Tracy has post-graduate qualifications in history and archives; her master’s thesis was titled Commemoration Exhortation and Mourning: Honour Rolls in the Great War, and her doctoral thesis explored the history of TAFE NSW, 1949-1997. Tracy is a member of the University of Western Sydney Indigenous Employment and Engagement Advisory Board and the Salvation Army Eastern Territory Heritage Society Executive Committee, and has previously served as a Councillor of the History Council of NSW and as a member of the State Records of NSW Public Sector Advisory Committee.

Heather Garnsey

Heather Garnsey has worked full-time with the Society of Australian Genealogists since 1984, where she is also a Fellow and holds the Diploma in Family Historical Studies. She regularly lectures on a wide range of family history topics and contributes a monthly genealogy column to Australian Personal Computer magazine.

Alan Kitchen V/President “Skippy Squadron”   Civilian - Qantas Aircrew Vietnam

Cabin Crew 37 years with Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) 1965 – 2002. With approx. 500 plus volunteers, crewed Troop Charters to/from Tan Son Nhut Airport Saigon on QEA Boeing 707’s 1965 -1972. Flight Service Director on Boeing 747’s for 23 years. Awarded (VLSM), Vietnam Logistic Support Service Medals to Civilians in 1994, followed by the (AASM) Australian Active Service Medal 1945/75 Clasp Vietnam in 2000.   QEA Crew in 2002 invited to Canberra by the Vietnam Veterans ACT Branch for the 10th anniversary of the Dedication of the Vietnam Memorial in ANZAC Parade.  Alan has gone on to extensively research and help publish articles of the History of QEA and its involvement with the Military since the late 1930s

Brad Manera

ManeraBrad Manera is the Executive Manager of the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, and a keen battlefield archaeologist and public historian. His recent documentary work includes historical input into In Their Footsteps (2011) and Gallipoli: the Front-Line Experience (2005). Brad has worked as a museum curator and historian for 30 years, beginning his career at the Western Australian Museum then building collections and developing exhibitions at the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. His work at the War Memorial included curating the travelling exhibition Australia Under Attack 1942-43 and a major portion of the new Post-1945 Conflicts galleries. He moved to Sydney to take up the role of Head Curator at Hyde Park Barracks Museum and, after helping achieve World Heritage Listing for that site, has moved to the Anzac Memorial to prepare it for the commemorative activities that will be part of the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.



Alan Phillips

Alan has been involved in local and family history since 1971. He was foundation President of the Torrens Valley & District Historical Society in 1976 and The Gumeracha and District History Centre soon after. He has contributed to, and published, a number of books and booklets on the Hannaford, Kelly and Randell families of South Australia - as well as assisting with 3 historical books on the North Adelaide Football Club. Much of Alan's time is now devoted to Unlock the Past, an innovative venture to promote history and genealogy through special events, publishing guide books and various online directories and resources. He established the following historical/genealogical services.
- Gould Genealogy & History (1976)
- Gould Publishing Services (1990)
- Archive Digital Books Australasia (2003)
- Family Photo Book (2009)
- Unlock the Past (2009)

Dr Craig Wilcox

WilcoxCraig Wilcox is a military historian who lives and writes in Sydney. He's worked at the Australian War Memorial and had fellowships at the National Museum of Australia and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies in London. His books include Australia's Boer War (2002), shortlisted for the NSW Premier's History Prize, and Red Coat Dreaming (2009), a study of colonial Australia's surprisingly warm relationship with the British army.



Christine Yeats

YeatsChristine Yeats is the Manager, Public Access at State Records NSW, where she coordinates the public programs and services. These include the reading rooms, the copying and enquiry services, the outreach services and the implementation of the access provisions of the State Records Act 1998. Christine has been the Convenor of the Australian Society of Archivists Reference, Access and Public Programs Special Interest Group. She is Treasurer of the History Council of NSW; Treasurer of the Professional Historians Association (NSW); immediate past President of the Randwick and District Historical Society; NSW Liaison Officer, UNESCO Memory of the World Committee and Convenor of the Sydney Joint Committee of the Australia Women's Archives Project. Christine is a regular speaker at seminars, workshops and conferences across the State where she delights in encouraging the use of the NSW State archives.


Presentation summaries - more to come

Tracing Military Ancestors at State Record NSW - Christine Yeats
As war came to Australia in 1942 the decisions made by Governments at National, State and Territory levels had an impact on the lives of many men, women and children of this country. This presentation will explore some of the records within the NSW State archives relating to the NSW Government's response to the war. These records range from defence preparations to granting military leave to public servants. This presentation will provide guidance on how to locate this material using State Records' guides and finding aids, using selected examples from the collection. It will also explore some of key records in the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial relating to the men and women who served in the armed forces during the Second World War.'

War Comes to Australia 1788-1939 - Dr Craig Wilcox
Did war come to Australia long before 1942? Was the British annexation and occupation of our continent a form of war? Was it marked by serious fighting? And what of white Australian fears of invasion by France or Russia, by China or Japan from the Napoleonic wars to the 1930s? What military preparations did our forebears make out of concern that they might be swept aside just as the Aborigines had been? And when did Japan emerge as the focus of that concern?