Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Dr Mark Hearn


PhD, University of Sydney, 2001 
BA (Hons), Macquarie University, 1987

Office: W6A 411
Phone: +61 2 9850 8824
Fax: +61 2 9850 6594

I have published and worked as an historian since 1986, researching various aspects of Australian history. My first book, Bligh, Macarthur and the Rum Rebellion (co-authored with Ross Fitzgerald), was published in 1988. I subsequently published widely in the field of labour history. Between 2002-4 I was a Sesquicentenary Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the discipline of Work and Organisational Studies, School of Business , University of Sydney . In recent years my research has focused on aspects of culture and governance in the period 1890-1914. In 2006-7 I was the C.H. Currey Memorial Fellow, State Library of New South Wales, researching the fin de siècle Imagination in Australia , 1890-1914. I am currently an Australian Prime Minister's Centre Fellow, Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House Canberra.



Current Research

My current research focuses on aspects of the history of ideas and governance in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Australia.

Currently I am pursuing a project, 'We are a free people: Alfred Deakin and the mobilization of Australian democracy, 1901-1911.' This project focuses upon the narrative of active, participatory citizenship, in service to the nation, that Prime Minister Alfred Deakin outlined in a series of key election and parliamentary speeches in the decade following Federation. Deakin's narrative constituted a discourse of rights and responsibilities that provides enduring lessons for an appreciation of Australian democracy and governance.

I also have an interest in the fin de siècle Imagination in Australia, 1890-1914. The fin de siècle represented a break with traditional Victorian values, seeking new sources of imaginative, personal and social freedom from the modernist ideas that had emerged from the mid nineteenth century, including Darwinism, socialism and psychology. My research considers the experience of individuals who embraced fin de siècle ideas, and explores how fin de siècle values and ideas influenced Australian society and governance.


Australian history, particularly late nineteenth and early twentieth century Australia; biography; labour history.

Research Funding and fellowships
  • Australian Prime Minister's Centre Fellow, Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House Canberra 2014-2015.
  • C.H. Currey Memorial Fellow, State Library of New South Wales 2006-7.
  • Sesquicentenary Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Work and Organisational Studies, School of Business , University of Sydney 2002-4.
  • National Council for the Centenary of Federation funding for the 'Working Life and Federation', conference and edited collection, 2000-1.

Selected Publications


The Birth Of An Organising Union, Celebrating 125 Years of Organising Transport Workers in New South Wales, Transport Workers Union NSW Branch 2014

modernhistory_staff_mhearn_book_1One Big Union, a national history of the Australian Workers Union, 1886-1994 (co-authored with Harry Knowles), Cambridge University Press 1996.





Working Lives, A History of the Australian Railways Union (NSW Branch) . Hale & Iremonger 1990.modernhistory_staff_mhearn_book_2





modernhistory_staff_mhearn_book_3Bligh, Macarthur and the Rum Rebellion (co-authored with Dr. Ross Fitzgerald). Kangaroo Press, 1988.





modernhistory_staff_mhearn_book_4Edited Collections & Editorial role
  • Associate Editor, Labour History, 2002-2014
  • Editor, Working Lives, 2002-2012, online labour and social biography research project:
  • Co-editor, workSite, 2002-2014:
  • Rethinking Work: Time, Space, Discourse, (co-edited with Grant Michelson) Cambridge University Press 2006.
  • Joint editor, 'Struggling for Recognition: the Individual in Labour History', thematic edition of Labour History No.87 November 2004.
  • Working the Nation, Working Life and Federation, 1890-1914 , (co-edited with Greg Patmore), Pluto Press 2001.
  • Reforming Australia 's Unions (co-edited with Michael Costa), Federation Press 1997.





Refereed Journal Articles
  • 'Bound with the Empire? The Australian Labor Party's Defence Policy, 1901-1921', War and Society, Volume 32, Number 2, August 2013 , pp. 95-115
  •  'The Benefits of Industrial Organisation? The Second Fisher Government and Fin de Siècle Modernity in Australia', Labour History, No.102, May 2012.
  • 'Struggle Amongst Strangers: The Anarchist Andrews in Fin de Siècle Sydney', Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 14, 2012.
  • 'Representative Lives? Biography and Labour History', (co-authored with Harry Knowles), Labour History, No.100, May 2011.
  • 'Containing "Contamination": Cardinal Moran and Fin de Siècle Australian National Identity, 1888-1911', Journal of Religious History, Vol. 34 Issue 1, March 2010.
  • 'Productivity and Patriotism: the Management Narrative of New South Wales Rail Chief Commissioner James Fraser, 1917-1929', Business History , Vol.50 No.1, 2008, pp. 26-39.
  • 'Developing a Critical Discourse: Michel Foucault and the Cult of Solidarity', Critical Discourse Studies , Vol.5 No.1, 2008, pp. 21-34.
  • 'Cultivating an Australian Sentiment: John Christian Watson's Narrative of White Nationalism', National Identities, Vol.9 No.4, 2007 pp. 351-368.
  • 'Sifting the Evidence: Labour history and the transcripts of industrial arbitration proceedings', Labour History , No.93, November 2007, pp .3-13.
  • 'Making liberal citizens: Justice Higgins and his witnesses', Labour History , No.93, November 2007, pp.57-72.
  • Reworking Citizenship: Renewing Workplace Rights and Social Citizenship in Australia ', (co-authored with Russell Lansbury) Labour and Industry, August 2006.
  • Writing a Life: John Dwyer's Narrative Identity', Rethinking History , Vol. 10 No.1, 2006.
  • Securing the Man: Narratives of Gender and Nation in the Verdicts of Henry Bournes Higgins', Australian Historical Studies, No.127, April 2006
  • 'Examined suspiciously: Alfred Deakin, Eleanor Cameron and Australian liberal discourse in the 1911 Referendum', History Australia, Vol. 2 No.3, 2005.
  • 'Mary Malone's Lessons: a narrative of citizenship in Federation Australia', Gender & History, Vol.16 No.2, 2004
  • 'Rose Summerfield's Gospel of Discontent: a narrative of radical identity in late nineteenth century Australia', Labour History , No. 87, November 2004.
  • 'Struggling for Recognition: Reading the Individual in Labour History', co-author, Labour History, No. 87, November 2004.
  • 'A Wild Awakening: the 1893 Banking Crisis and the Theatrical Narratives of the Castlereagh Street Radicals', Labour History, No.85, November 2003.
  • 'A good man for the Department: the ethos of the Railway and Tramway Officers Association of New South Wales, 1913-1939', Australian Historical Studies, No.112, April 1999.
  • 'Means and Ends: The Ideology of Dr Lloyd Ross', Labour History, No. 63, November 1992.


Book Chapters


  • Mark Hearn and Ian Tregenza, 'The maximum of good citizenship': citizenship and nation building in Alfred Deakin's post-Federation speeches', in John Uhr and Ryan Walter (ed.), Australian Political Rhetoric, ANU e-Press 2014.
  • 'A Transnational Imagination: Alfred Deakin's Reading Lists', in Desley Deacon, Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott (eds.), Transnational Ties: Australian Lives in the World, ANU E-Press 2008.
  • 'Writing the Nation in Australia : Australian Historians and Narrative Myths of Nation', in Stefan Berger (ed.), Writing the Nation, A Global Perspective , Palgrave Macmillan London 2007.
  • The National Narrative of Work' (with Harry Knowles), in Mark Hearn and Grant Michelson (eds.), Rethinking Work: Time, Space, Discourse , Cambridge University Press 2006
  • 'Citizen Dwyer', in Mark Hearn & Greg Patmore (eds.) Working the Nation, Working Life and Federation, 1890-1914 , Pluto Press 2001.
  • 'Mates and Strangers: the ethos of the Australian Workers Union', in D.Palmer, R. Shanahan & M. Shanahan (eds.), Australian Labour History Reconsidered , Australian Humanities Press, Adelaide 1999.
Conference and Seminar papers
  • Mark Hearn and Ian Tregenza, 'Citizenship and nation building in Alfred Deakin's post-Federation speeches' Symposium on Australian Political Rhetoric, Australian National University, 30-31 May 2013.
  • 'Advertising Contrasts? Conflicting loyalties of class, nation and empire in the relations between the Australian Labor and British Labour Parties, as reflected in the careers of John Christian Watson and Ramsay MacDonald, 1901-1931', paper presented with Professor John Shepherd, Huddersfield University, in the Business and Labour History Group seminar program, University of Sydney 19 October 2012.
  • 'Cultivating a national spirit: Andrew Fisher and the Australian public sphere', paper presented at the conference, 'The Australian Settlement and the Fisher Government', Women's College, the University of Sydney, 30th April 2010
  • Conference Co-Convenor, 'Unions after WorkChoices: lessons from past and present union practice', 14 November 2008 conducted by Work and Organisational Studies and workSite magazine, University of Sydney.
  • 'Charles Pearson's Prophecies': paper presented as part of a panel session, Reconceptualising Australian History: a discussion of Drawing the Global Colour Line by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Australian Historical Association conference, University of Melbourne, 8 July 2008.
  • 'Interpreting Postmodernity', Australian Historical Association conference, Armidale, 23-26 September 2007. Note: a pdf version of this paper is available by visiting
  • 'Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place: Picnic at Hanging Rock and the fin de siècle Imagination in Australia', 'Histories on Wednesday' seminar presentation, Department of Modern History, Macquarie University 30 May 2007.
  • 'Some Dreamlike Affinity: Reflections on Christopher Brennan's Two Lives in fin de siècle Australia, 1890-1914', School of History seminar series, University of New South Wales, 13 September 2006
  • 'A Transnational Imagination: Alfred Deakin's Reading Lists', Transnational Lives/Biography Across Boundaries Conference, Australian National University Canberra 26-28 July 2006.
  • 'Progress and Evolution: the Medical Profession and Liberal Governmentality in fin de siècle Australia, 1890-1914', Australian Historical Association conference, Australian National University Canberra 3-7 July 2006.
Other Publications
  • 'Slogans Obscure the Vision', Canberra Times, 26 August, 2013
  • 'Words Wielded as Weapons', Canberra Times, 8 July 2013
  • 'ALP an open and shut case', Canberra Times, 24 June 2013
  • 'Welfare policy comes in a poor second to work of the Salvos', Canberra Times, 25 May 2013
  • Demons that come up from among us', Canberra Times, 4 May 2013
  • 'Abbott is a local heir to the baroness through Howard', Canberra Times, 13 April 2013
  • 'Gillard must ditch politics of fear on foreign workers', Canberra Times, 1 April 2013
  • 'When Markets, Cultures Collide', Canberra Times, 23 February 2013
  • 'Famine on the menu, and soon', Canberra Times, 29 October 2012
  • 'We would be foolish to ignore this warning from history', Canberra Times, 10 October 2012
  • 'Whitlam is a mere mortal to Mason', Canberra Times, 30 August 2012
  • 'Labor squanders opportunity', Canberra Times, 24 February 2012
  • 'Miners play good hard ball', Canberra Times, 7 June 2010
  • Rudd ignored AWU at his peril', Australian, 2 July 2010
  • 'Time to act on climate change', Canberra Times, 5 July 2010
  • 'Rudd could use lessons from Labour hero William Spence', Nick Dyrenfurth and Mark Hearn, The Australian, November 28, 2009
  • Review of Peter Bastian, Andrew Fisher, An Understimated Man, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 95 Part 2, November 2009
  • "Labor Maintains Spirit of AWAs", Canberra Times , 17 March 2008.
  • 'Vitiating the Federal Principle: the High Court Work Choices case, 2006' (Historical Perspective on Current Issues), Labour History No.92 May 2007.
  • The People have a right to be heard on IR reform', Canberra Times , 5 May 2006.
  • 'The ALP should take on the IR laws' Mark Hearn and Grant Michelson, The Australian 7 April 2006.
  • 'Rose Summerfield', entry for the supplementary volume of the Australian Dictionary of Biography , Melbourne University Press 2005.
  • 'Writing Trade Union History', Locality (Centre for Community History, University of New South Wales ), Vol. 9 No.2. 1998
  • 'John Alexander Ferguson', entry for the Australian Dictionary of Biography , Vol.14 1940-1980, Melbourne University Press 1996.


  • MHIS109, The Making of Australia, Unit Convenor
  • MHIS375, Shock and Awe, a history of the Postmodern World, Unit Convenor -
  • MHPG849, Australian Historiography, Unit Co-Convenor



  • Research mentor
  •  Library Liaison, Modern History
  •  Faculty Ethics Committee
  • Undergraduate Studies Committee, Department of Modern History
  • Library Liaison, Department of Modern History
  • Co-convenor, 'The Australian Settlement and the Fisher Government',
    Conference, Friday 30 April 2010, Women's College, University of
  • Convenor, 'Working Life, Enterprise and Arbitration' symposium for the Business and Labour History Group, School of Business University of Sydney, 10 November 2006.
  • Joint conference co-ordinator, 'Taking Care of Business? Historical Perspectives on Management Practice in the Twentieth Century', Women's College, University of Sydney Friday 5 November 2004.
  • Co-Convenor, 'Struggling for Recognition, the Individual in Labour History' conference and thematic edition of Labour History, no.87 November 2004.
  • Co-Convenor, 'Working Life and Federation', conference and edited collection supported by the National Council for the Centenary of Federation, 2000-1
  • Co-Convenor, 'Workplaces fit for Citizens? Workplace Democracy and the future of the labour movement', conference June 2001, sponsored by Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney and the Labor Council of New South Wales.

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