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Clare Wright on Australian history

Speaker(s): Clare Wright

  • Date recorded: 21 Oct 2015

  • Duration: 32:35

'In one way or another, my work has asked what female narratives of belonging might look like.'
– Clare Wright

About this video

Listen to historian and Stella Prize winner Clare Wright's personal and intellectual journey through Australian history, for the 2015 Stephen Murray-Smith lecture.

Clare reflects on the formative influence of Anne Summers' 1975 feminist classic Damned whores and god's police on her political consciousness, her professional work as a historian, and her intimate relationships. 

She talks about unearthing stories of female empowerment, community and agency in historical and cultural locations, from the Eureka Stockade to the local pub, where women have traditionally been regarded as peripheral.

In this frank and forthright talk, Clare asks us to consider: what do female narratives of belonging look like? And can our nation's narratives of belonging be gendered female?

This Stephen Murray Smith lecture was held on 21 October 2015. The lecture is also part of the Library's Big Ideas under the Dome lecture series, bringing to Melbourne great minds in the arts, culture, social justice and sciences to discuss, debate and reflect on the big ideas and issues of our time.

About the Stephen Murray-Smith lecture

This annual memorial lecture commemorates the contribution to Australian intellectual life made by Stephen Murray-Smith, founding editor of Overland magazine. The lecture promotes research and debate in the broad areas of Stephen's interest and influence.


Dr Clare Wright has worked as an academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant, and radio and television broadcaster. Her book The forgotten rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Prize and 2014 NIB Award for Literature, and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's, WA Premier's and Queensland Literary Awards, the NSW Premier's History Awards and the Victorian Community History Awards. The book has recently been published in a Young Adult edition as We are the rebels.

Explore other Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lectures