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La Trobe Society Fellowship

The La Trobe Society Fellowship allows research and documentation of Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe's administration (1839 to 1854). State Library Victoria invites historians, researchers, creatives, and writers to explore this period from new and surprising perspectives.

Research can also be from the period immediately before La Trobe's arrival or the effects of his tenure after departing from Australia.

The fellowship includes:

  • $15,000 funding
  • desk space at the Library for 12 months
  • access to collections and Library staff expertise.

The funding is based on 3 months of work in the Library, either continuous or broken up over the year.

2024 recipient

Dr Andrew Kilsby – La Trobe, Law and Order: Soldiers and Constables 1836 to 1854

With the arrival of Lonsdale and then La Trobe in the Port Philip District in 1839, soldiers and constables became essential for law and order in the rapidly growing colony. Not least because of the population explosion that accompanied the Victorian gold rushes from 1851.

Yet surprisingly, perhaps, very little is known of the military detachments.

This project aims to fill that gap. Who were these detachments? How did they live? What roles did they have? What was their relationship with the Constabulary, Lonsdale and La Trobe?

Andrew Kilsby is an independent professional historian and author who is interested in military, business and biographical history. He graduated from RMC Duntroon with a PhD in history from UNSW, is the founder of Military History and Heritage Victoria Inc., and is a member of the Victorian Military Society (UK).

About Charles Joseph La Trobe

Charles Joseph La Trobe was Superintendent of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales from 1839 to 1851. He was Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria from 1851 to 1854 when he left Australia.

La Trobe was instrumental in forming the State Library. He set aside the site and funds for the building and appointed Redmond Barry a chair of the Library's board of trustees.

About the La Trobe Society

The La Trobe Society was formed in 2001 to promote recognition and understanding of the life and work of Charles Joseph La Trobe and the period of his administration. The Society publishes the journal La Trobeana 3 times a year.

In 2006, the Society raised funds to erect a bronze statue of La Trobe on the Library's forecourt.

Previous recipients

Learn more about the inspiring projects undertaken by past and present fellows in our fellows gallery.

  • 2022: Dr Ashleigh Green with a project that investigated the planning and construction of the first purpose-built penal and psychiatric institutions in the Port Phillip District and colony of Victoria during the La Trobe administration (1839 to 1854).
  • 2014: Caroline Clemente researched Thomas Woolner, a pre-Raphaelite artist in Melbourne, bringing together Woolner's works of art and placing them in their social, artistic and historical context. The State Library Victoria has the largest collection of Woolner's works.
  • 2008: Historical geographer Dr Wayne Caldow used a six-month funded La Trobe Society Fellowship to research a book manuscript, Perceptions of Place: the European Experience of Gippsland 1839 to 1844.
  • 2007: Frances Thiele, a scholar, researched Edward Stone Parker and the Aboriginal people of the Mount Macedon district as a case study of Superintendent La Trobe's management of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate.