Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Newcastle
Website URL
Histories of environments, agriculture, alcohol, trans-imperial exchange for commodity development and wine worlds - in post-colonial context.
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Personal Info

About Me

My research focuses on how to the growing, making, selling, drinking and export of Australian grape wine is a window to human desire, changing identities, landscapes and science. These inquiries cross into histories of alcohol production, business and trade, drinking cultures and tourism. I argue for the need to conceptualise ‘global’ as a re-entanglement of social, environmental and economic historical factors in settler capitalist communities. This notion frames my research as the State Library of NSW 2018 Merewether Fellow on the project ‘Settlers in the Empire of Science: William Macarthur, James King and Australian agricultural modernity’.

My research career followed completion of a Bachelor of Arts (Hons First Class) at the University of Newcastle in 2004, for which I earned Faculty and University Medals. This led to an Australian Postgraduate Award to undertake a PhD (History) at the University of Sydney. My PhD thesis, conferred in 2009, is titled A “Civilised” Drink and a “Civilising” Industry: Wine growing and cultural imagining in colonial New South Wales. In 2010 I held the Rydon Fellowship at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies (MCAS), King’s College London. This fellowship enabled access to archives at the British Library and Kew Gardens to explore histories of economic theories and the sciences connected with wine growing in colonial Australia.

My research appears in major journals including Australian Historical Studies, the Journal of Australian Studies and Australian Economic History Review. My monograph First Vintage: Wine in Colonial New South Wales(UNSW Press, 2012) received a international publishing prize and was shortlisted for a NSW Premier’s History Award, as well as other honours.

I have just completed the Australian Research Council Linkage Project ‘Vines, Wine & Identity: the Hunter Valley NSW and changing Australian taste’ (LP140100146) which examines the connection between people, place and ideas in Australia’s oldest continually-producing wine region. It is of particular interest to me that agricultural industries exist in rural and regional Australian environments for chiefly urban and international consumers and tourists, which has created an interdependence of ideas and identities across these spaces.

Through researching wine environments and communities I have been drawn to more closely investigate places at the peripheries of Australian history. This has led to new projects titled Global Newcastle – on the city and hinterland where I am based – and Australia’s Atlantic; a transimperial study of British imperial mobilities to non-British supply port settlements in the making of Australia.

I have been an invited keynote at academic conferences and delivered two major public lectures, along with regular public appearances. I convene the bi-annual meeting of researchers on wine in the humanities and social sciences. The 2018 meeting will be co-hosted with Universite Bordeaux-Montaigne.

I am a committee member of the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network and Assistant Editor (Humanities and Social Sciences) for the Journal of Wine Research (UK).

Higher Degree Research students under my supervision are exploring topics on wine, trans-imperialism and settler histories.

Recent Publications


  1. (With John Germov) Hunter Wine: A history. Sydney: NewSouth. Due September.


  1. ‘Wine worlds are animal worlds too’. In Nancy Cushing and Jodi Frawley, eds, Animals Count: An Environmental Humanities Approach. London: Routledge.
  1. (with Jill Barnes). “A Funny Place for a Jail”: Pleasure and Pain at Trial Bay, Australia. In J. Wilson and S. Hodgkinson eds. Prison Tourism: Explorations in Confinement, Cruelty and Torture, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, pp. 55-83.


2018, ‘Transimperial eyes in the Atlantic on British imperial voyaging to Australia, 1788-1791, History Australia Journal, accepted for publication 23 December 2017.

2018. (with Nancy Cushing and Catharine Coleborne) ‘Letters to Lizzie: Archival Practice and the Entangled Worlds of Charlie Fraser’, Australian Historical Studies, accepted for publication 10 May 2018.

2018. (with John Germov), ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I do: Wine, gendered culture and class, Journal of Australian Studies v42, n1: pp. 65-84.

2017. (with Nancy Cushing) ‘Entangled Region: Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Journal of Australian Colonial History v19: pp. 1-16.

2017. (with Jude Conway) ‘Intimate, imperial, intergenerational: Settler women’s mobilities in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Journal of Australian Colonial History v19: pp. 161-184.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Australia in global context
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
4, 5, 7, 8
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Economic History, Food History, Local & Regional, Migration & Immigration, Rural & Agrarian History