Recipients of our summer scholarships, funded through the generosity of the family of the late Norman McCann (a former National Library Council Member), and of John and Heather Seymour. They support younger scholars undertaking postgraduate research requiring special access to the Library’s collections.


2017 Summer Schoalrs in Main reading Room near Boab nut display, L-R Averyl Gaylor, Lucas Smith Samuel Cottell and Sadie Heckenberg

Averyl Gaylor, Lucas Smith, Samuel Cottell & Sadie Heckenberg

Seymour Scholar

Lucas Smith (Monash University):  Barbara Baynton: Becoming an Australian Briton

Lucas is undertaking a biographical study of Australian author and philanthropist Barbara Baynton (1857-1929). By the time of her death in 1929 Baynton had become a British noblewoman and crucial figure in the burgeoning life of Australian politicians, artists, soldiers and businesspeople in London. Lucas’s research at the Library explores the nature of Barbara Baynton's British-Australian identity and her transnational journey by examining not only family papers but also the personal papers of prominent Australians, including Prime Minister Billy Hughes, Martin Boyd, Vance Palmer, the Chomley family and others, whom Baynton associated with in London.

Norman McCann Summer Scholars

Averyl Gaylor (La Trobe University): ‘The Body at its best’: European Modern Dance and Medical Ideals in Twentieth Century Australia

Averyl is exploring the intersecting histories of medicine and modern dance in twentieth-century Australia. Her research focuses on the way European traditions of dance articulated utopian ideals of the healthy, hygienic, perfectible body, which came to inform popular body-cultures in Australia. Averyl is examining the Library’s rich dance archives to find expressions of medically informed ideals of corporeality in both written and visual sources. Her research is focused on material relating to the influential dancer and choreographer, Gertrud Bodenwieser, and her students who can be associated with the Ausdruckstanz style. These dancers came to Australia with the rise of Nazism in Europe, bringing with them embodied traditions of the European avant-garde, which became the catalyst for the development of modern dance in Australia. 

Sadie Heckenberg (Swinburne University): Continuing our Voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Oral Histories in the National Library

Sadie is investigating Indigenous knowledge creation, storytelling and communication through oral history, as well as its theoretical framework, using the Library’s significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander oral history projects, such as ‘Bringing Them Home’ and ‘Seven years on - continuing life histories of Aboriginal leaders’. In particular she is examining oral histories that relate to her Wirradjuri Elders. She says: “Australian Indigenous oral history brings to life our community narratives and portrays so well the customs, beliefs and values of our old people. Spiritually our Elders live on through story.” Sadie’s project, in reflecting an Indigenous value system, aims to create a dialogue for knowledge protection and culturally safe research practice within Indigenous knowledge systems.

Samuel Cottell (University of Sydney): Tommy Tycho: A Biographical Portrait

Samuel is researching the life and work of Tommy Tycho, a Hungarian migrant who arrived in Australia in 1951 and became a leading pianist, arranger composer, and musical director in Australian radio, television and popular entertainment from the 1950s. Samuel is especially using collections of unpublished scores and arrangements, such as The Geoff Harvey Collection created for Channel 9 over 50 years, to analyse music scores that were arranged and composed by other musicians for television or radio during the same period. He is also examining the broader social and historical contexts in which Tommy Tycho worked to shed light on the ways musicians forged careers for themselves in a post-World War II Australia. 



Four summer scholars standing on lawn in front of NLA, Gretel, Talisha, Meg and Morgan

Gretel Evans, Talisha Goh, Meg Brayshaw and Morgan Burgess

Seymour Scholar

Morgan Burgess, The Literary Campaign for Women’s Suffrage in Australian Newspapers and Magazine

Morgan is examining suffrage literature published in key colonial newspapers and magazines.  Arguments for and against women’s suffrage and enfranchisement were played out through literary accounts, poetry and fiction published in The Bulletin, The Australian Journal, The Australian Radical and The Lone Hand, amongst others. The obscurity of such literature, much of which is not indexed or digitised, means that important parts of the debate about women’s enfranchisement have been overlooked and the full literary discourse that engaged with the politics of women’s suffrage in Australia has not been studied.

Norman McCann Summer Scholars

Talisha Goh, Three Australian Women Composers on the World Stage: the Early Works and Careers of Ros Bandt, Liza Lim and Kate Moore.

Talisha is undertaking a study of three active Australian women composers who have made substantial contributions to music in Australia and overseas. These composers are the sound artist Ros Bandt (born 1951), orchestral and operatic composer Liza Lim (born 1966) and ensemble composer Kate Moore (born 1979.) Talisha is considering the impact of gender in the careers and works of Australian women composers and investigating how the composers’ own response to their early works informs their current musical style and practice.  

Meg Brayshaw, Watery Bodies: Water as matter and meaning in Christina Stead's ‘Seven Poor Men of Sydney’

Meg is undertaking a close reading of Christina Stead’s personal archive, informed by contextual understanding of the writer's background, ideas and situation. She is particularly interested in the place-based, eco-critical nature of Stead’s writing, exemplified by the use of water as matter and meaning in the first novel  ‘Seven Poor Men of Sydney’ (1934). She aims to discover if Sydney and issues of an ecological, naturalist slant feature in Stead’s personal papers.

Gretel Evans, The scattered memory of disaster: fires and floods in Australia

Gretel is investigating how Australians, and in particular migrants, remember Australia’s history of natural disasters focusing on floods in NSW and bushfires in Victoria. Her PhD project examines the long term impact of natural disasters, considers how these experiences feature in the lives of Australians and how people remember them. She is especially interested in how migrant experiences of fires and floods illuminate the impact of natural disasters on their sense of home, community and identity.