Ann Varelle Hardy
PhD Candidate, School of Humanities & Social Science
Faculty/Division: Arts (Education & Arts)
Campus: Callaghan Campus, Newcastle
PhD Thesis Title: “...here is an Asylum open...” Constructing a Culture of Government Care in Australia 1801 – 2013
Research explores the history and heritage of the Newcastle Government Domain from its origins in the first European settlement at Newcastle in 1801 to its uncertain present as a largely vacated site of mental health care. The Domain is a significant holding of land at the centre of a growing urban area which has remained unalienated from the imperial, colonial and now state government. The shifting uses of the Domain from centre of local administration, to military base, girls’ reformatory and asylum are traced demonstrating how the site contributed to meeting the responsibility for caring for the residents of NSW which fell to its governments. Rather than careful planning, decisions about the use of the Domain were largely the result of outside pressures. This is followed through in detail with regard to the establishment on the site in 1871 of an Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles. Only in the 1890s did it become populated by the intellectually disabled. Although an “accidental asylum”, the site was well suited to its purpose and has successfully hosted mental health services through to the present day. Its fraught transition from active health care campus to heritage site is traced to explore contemporary issues in heritage, in particular the rising interest in cultural landscapes, the role of interdisciplinary non-governmental organisations in heritage advocacy and the possibility of overtly recognising the positive benefits of heritage conservation for mental well being at this and other sites.
- Awarded The Newcastle City Council Prize for Historical Research from the University of Newcastle for ‘Newcastle Government Domain Nomination’ to the NSW State Heritage Register.
- Awarded Hunter Bonfide History Awards ‘Studious Bona’ from Hunter Heritage Network Inc
Previous and Current Appointments
- 2005-07 Newcastle City Councils Strategic Heritage Committee
- 2006- Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) - (Secretary)
- 2006- University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party
- 2008- Hunter Heritage Network- A Professional Forum for Heritage Issues (Secretary)
- 2011-2013 Director of National Trust of Australia (NSW)
- 2007- PhD Candidate (History), University of Newcastle.
- 2006-07 MA Candidate (History), University of Newcastle.
- 2005- Grad Diploma Applied Heritage Studies (Heritage Site Management), Curtin University of Technology WA. Dissertation Title: Government House, Newcastle, New South Wales: A description of the ‘Government House’ site from an analysis of historical maps and artworks from 1804 to 1885.
- 1997- BSW (Social Work), Charles Sturt University.
- Tutor - History 1051: Issues in Australian History, University of Newcastle (2007-2009)
- Freelance History/Heritage Consultant (2007- )
- Social Worker - Hunter New England Health Service (1997 – 2011)
- Admistrative Officer University of Newcastle's Coal River Working Party (2013)
Co-ordinator- UK Archive ‘Newcastle’ Project- Coal River Working Party (2011)
Researcher- Stockton Hospital History ‘Beyond the Pines’ (2010)
Heritage Conservation proposals & submissions- advocacy with the National Trust of Australia, NSW (2006- )
Co-ordinator- Lead a team to prepare the resubmission of the National Nomination for the ‘Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape’ to the DEWHA (2009)
Author- State Heritage Register nomination for the ‘Newcastle Government House & Domain’ submitted to the Department of Planning NSW (2009)
History Week Committee member, 'Newcastle on the Edge' project. 2008
Project co-ordinator ‘Breath of Life' Project. Windmill art installation on Obelisk Hill, Newcastle. Historical input. 2008
Related Projects/Community Engagement
Monthly Radio Program ABC 1233 'Local Treasures' with broadcaster Carol Duncan- talking about history and heritage of the region
Radio Program ABC 1233 Radio-‘Show Us You PhD’ (March 2011)
Co-curator- Annual National Trust Festival Art Exhibition bringing history and heritage together in new and contemporary ways. (2008-11)
Organiser- ‘The Making of Our Nation’ Forum part of the National Trust Festival, Three distinguished speakers Dr Grace Karskens, Mr Robin Walsh & Ms Lisa Slade (2010)
Paper given at Aust Historical Association Conference, Melbourne July 2008.
Book Review- Attending madness: At Work at the Australian Colonial Asylum by Lee-Ann Monk for Labour History May 2009 Vol 96.
Paper given at Australian & New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine Biennial Conference ‘Health & Medicine at the Frontier’, Perth October 2009. "Official Lunacy Policy and Frontier reality in Colonial New South
Wales: Who was admitted to the Newcastle Asylum for Imbeciles?”
Memberships of Professional Associations
- Australian Historical Association
- Australian & New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine (ANZSHM)
- International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)