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Home > View & Discuss > Don Grant Lecture 2017: Dr Charles Fahey on European land settlement in Victoria, 1850–1940s

Don Grant Lecture 2017: Dr Charles Fahey on European land settlement in Victoria, 1850–1940s

  • Date recorded: 21 Aug 2017

  • Duration: 54:40

'Land selection files are wonderful resources but the documentation on farmers lives becomes thinner once the selector moves from being a license holder to a leaseholder.'

– Dr Charles Fahey

About this video

Watch the annual Don Grant Lecture, delivered as part of Family History Feast 2017 by historian Dr Charles Fahey.

Exploring the topic 'Land and families: European land settlement in Victoria, 1850–1940', Dr Fahey discusses the range of resources that both academics and family historians can use to flesh out details provided by land files.

By focusing on the story of a particular family, the Hirds, who migrated to Victoria from rural Lincolnshire in the 1860s, Dr Fahey describes how diaries, rate books, census returns and of course births, deaths and marriage certificates can provide vital background information about life in rural Victoria.

These sources reveal the unremitting hard labour involved in living on the land, of coming to terms with the local climate and environment, of the critical role played by family and of the slow but inexorable progress achieved by Victoria's rural farming communities.


Dr Charles Fahey is Convener History Program, Department of Archaeology and History, at La Trobe University. He is the author of many Victorian rural histories including Gold tailings: Forgotten history of family and community on the central Victorian goldfields.

Before becoming an academic, he was employed as a historian with the Victorian Government, where he worked on the conservation of historic sites on Crown land and the history of Victorian forestry.