Associates, Students and Volunteers

Chris Bedford recently completed her Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History at the University of New England, and was among the first student cohort to study HINQ302: Researching the Past in the Digital Age. She was a volunteer in the 2021 Convict Absconders transcription project run by the UNE Convict History Research Collective and subsequently used that data to write a minor thesis titled ‘Imprisoned by their Sex?’. Supervised by Professor Hamish Maxwell Stewart, the thesis compared the absconding patterns of female convicts in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.

Using the Absconding Notices from NSW gazettes between March 1832 and March 1837 and comparing them with data from the Digital History Tasmania Database, it was determined that although their chances of success were limited, female convicts absconded more than their male counterparts, once the sex ratio is taken into account. Further, lone women in both colonies absconded more than male convicts anywhere else in the British Empire. Convict women in eastern Australia women were not imprisoned by their sex, but rather found agency and power in the colonies. These women fought for their rights by taking away the last thing they had control over – their work. While seeming to negate previous findings, it remains to be seen whether the female convicts of both NSW and VDL abscond more than male transportees once the entire numbers of NSW have been incorporated into the findings.

Chris is now working with the Convict History Research Collective to compile transcriptions of Irish convict transportation lists from the Macquarie period. In addition, she is starting up a genealogical research business named ‘Footprints Through Time’. The Business name has been registered, has an ABN and the website is in construction. She is excited to both help with the History research Collective and to earn some ‘pin money’ by travelling back through time.

Cathy Dunn completed her Master of History at the University of New England. Today she operates both Australian History Research and Heritage Tourism.  Cathy is also a member of the History Council of NSW. Her current research includes:

  • intra shipping between NSW, Norfolk Island and Van Diemans Lnd
  • Sydney Orphan School 1801 – 1818
  • Colonial crime and Punishment up to 1822
  • Leaving the Colony up to 1810

Cathy also provides regular research webinars on early colonial  history. She has produced a series of publications on Norfolk Island First Settlement 1788 – 1814, which explore the comparative and sometimes conflicting information derived from the historical record. She regular hosts the Norfolk Island History Lovers Tours and other Family Musters and Reunions. And she has written many local history books/website on the Milton Ulladulla of the South Coast NSW, her hometown, and is also a tour guide for various historic sites and locations in the area.

Cathy has produced numerous historical datasets for the University of New England and is currently working with the team on a digital heritage intepretation of the Norfolk Island ‘First Settlement’ period.

For further information and contact, see:
Australian History Research:
HMS Sirius:
Facebook: Australian History Research:
Heritage Tourism: