Centre for Western Australian History
The Centre for Western Australia History (CWAH) was established in 1985 on the Indian Ocean’s eastern shores. It is unique for its focus on Australia’s histories from regional perspectives. Members engage with Western Australia’s diverse histories and identities through facilitating historical research and presentation to the highest professional standards.
The Centre aims to foster a strong and dynamic research environment for scholars in Western Australian history, and be a leading member of history communities at the local, state, continental and world levels.
The Centre supports innovative and experiential learning environments in Western Australian history, including through the practice of public history. We can make the connections between those wanting a history produced and those able to produce that history.
ERA rating of 5 (Well Above World Standard) for Historical Studies
Member of the History Council of Western Australia
The Centre researched and prepared a centenary history of the Co-operatives Federation of Western Australia for its centenary in 2019. The project involved working with the Federation, interviewing key members, undertaking primary research, copy-editing the publication, and attending the launch event with over 100 representatives of the co-operative movement from across the State.
The Centre is partnering with the WA Local Government Association in developing an overarching thematic history of local government across the State for the sesquicentenary (150th anniversary) of comprehensive local government in 2021. The project will expand between 2021 and 2029 to help many of the 138 local governments in WA to prepare new histories of their districts to mark the sesquicentenary and in preparation for the State’s 200th anniversary in 2029.
The Nature Conservancy
The Centre is a partner in a research agreement with The Nature Conservancy to identify historical reference and resource materials, using (among other things) eyewitness and other anecdotal records, including Indigenous, colonial and contemporary records, to discern historical limitations on scientific data through insights into patterns of diversity and abundance of shellfish in the marine environment across longer-term timescales.
Current research projects
Self-Governing Communities 1871-2021
This project focuses on the 150th anniversary of comprehensive local government across Western Australia, to be celebrated in 2021. The initial phase will develop an overview thematic history of the original councils of 1871 for 2021, with subsequent phases to focus on detailed local histories for local councils, grouped as successors to their original 1871 council, to create a series of interconnected regional histories covering the whole State.
Western Australia 200
Marking Western Australia’s 200th anniversary in 2029, this project is to be developed in stages between 2021 and 2029, with the initial focus on the subsequent phases of the Self-Governing Communities project during this period.
Historical Baselines for Swan-Canning Mussel Reef Restoration
The identification and description of sources concerning colonial-era exploitation of estuarine shellfish and shellfish habitats, and the compilation of maps and illustrations depicting historical shellfish habitats and changes in the environment of the Swan-Canning estuary.
Let Our Co-operative Spirit Stand
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Co-operatives Federation of Western Australia 1919-2019, from which a book has been published (August 2019), and future projects may be developed.
Academics associated with the Centre are available for supervising topics in Western Australian history or histories that include Western Australian perspectives.