About me: a professional historian, storyteller, and word polisher

I’m Naomi Parry Duncan. I tell stories of places and people, and love museums, archives, buildings, images and landscapes. My specialties are social history, Aboriginal history, digital history and family history. I also edit non-fiction, academic writing and creative non-fiction. I teach writing as well, and love showing people how to make their writing shine.

I am the president of the Professional Historians’ Association NSW & ACT, adjunct researcher at the University of Tasmania, president of the Blackheath History Forum and an external affiliate with Purai Global Indigenous History Network.

As a consulting historian, I have researched all sorts of things, from building and site histories, to the industries of Lithgow, social history, women’s history, migration, public housing, missions to Aboriginal people, Aboriginal schooling, and Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.

In 2024, I am looking forward to publishing a book about the life and death of an Aboriginal warrior called Musquito (Y-erran-gou-la-ga) with Allen & Unwin. This work explores the life of this remarkable man and the entwined stories of my English, Welsh and Irish ancestors as they remade their lives on colonised land. This biography has been supported by the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship (2022), The Copyright Agency Covid-19 Relief Fund (2020), The Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board (2019), and the Australia Institute and Endeavour House Writer-in-Residence-on-The Level (2017).

I’ve worked in local government and not-for-profits, and as a museum manager and curator at Eskbank House. I was the NSW historian¬†on the Find & Connect web resource, doing digital history and archival work. I’ve been a contributor and project editor at the Dictionary of Sydney and a regular presenter for the History Council’s Speaker Connect programme. I lectured in the Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania from 2020 to 2023.

I have a BA from the University of Tasmania, a PhD in Australian History from the University of New South Wales, and degrees in arts and education from Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales. I’ve taught at all these, and the University of Western Sydney, and have published a wide range of academic and other writing. My first book,¬†New South Wales and the Great War, written with Brad Manera, Will Davies and Stephen Garton for the NSW Centenary of Anzac, was released in November 2016 and sent to every public and Catholic school in NSW.

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