Dr Ian Willis

MA(Hons), PhD (Wollongong)

Phone: +61 2 4221 4550
Email: iwillis@uow.edu.au

Dr Ian Willis is an honorary fellow at the University of Wollongong.  I am a public historian with a strong interest in local studies and community history.  I participate in, and advocate for, a variety of not-for-profit organisations. I completed my PhD in 2004 on the Camden Women’s Voluntary Services, and my MA(Hons) in 1996 on the Camden Red Cross. I live in Camden and am employed in the vocational education and training sector.

My current research projects within the fellowship involve an examination of the Camden district Red Cross and investigating the challenges confronting communities on Sydney rural-urban fringe 

Research Profile

These are varied and include: Local studies; community history; place and sense of identity; local government; the country press; the Australian homefront; philanthropy and volunteering ; small museums; community partnerships; traditional trades.

Selected Articles

  • 2009, ‘Whither Heritage, The Experience of the Outdoor Movie Theatre’, Australian Quarterly, Vol 81, No. 6,  pp. 35-39. Online.
  • 2009, ‘Stories and Things: the role of the local historical society, Campbelltown, Camden and The Oaks’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 95, Pt 1, June, pp. 18-37. Online.
  • 2008, ‘Democracy in Place: Parochial Politics and the 2008 Local Government Elections’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol 80, Issue 6, November-December, pp. 4-9.
  • 2008, ‘Camden’, Sydney Journal, 1(1) March, pp. 92-96. Online  
  • 2007, ‘Democracy in Action in Local Government: Camden, NSW’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 79, Issue 2, March-April, pp. 17-21.
  • 2006, ‘The Gentry and the Village, Camden, NSW, 1800-1939’, AQ, Australian Quarterly,  Vol. 78, Issue 4, July-August, pp. 19-24.
  • 2006, ‘Camden At War, Second World War, 1939-1945, A Brief Overview’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 1, January-February, pp. 23-28.
  • 2005, ‘The Member for Camden: Dr Elizabeth Kernohan’, AQ, Journal of Contemporary Analysis, Vol. 77, Issue 1, January-February, pp. 21-25.
  • 2004, ‘Wartime Volunteering in Camden’, History Australia, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, 2, 1, December. Online.
  • 2003, ‘Camden’s Salvage Campaign, 1939-1945’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, 38, April. Online.

Conference Papers (presented)

  • 2010, ‘Heritage and Conservation, Some issues surrounding education and training’, paper for the Professional Historian’s Association (NSW) Conference, Islands of History, Norfolk Island, 18-25 July.
  • 2009,  ‘”We gave it our all”, service, status and patriotism in the New South Wales country Red Cross’, paper for the Australian Historical Association
  • 2009 Regional Conference, Constructing the Past, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, 30 June-3 July  
  • 2009, ‘Community Partnerships: Are they all that they are cracked up to be?’, paper for the Museums Australia 2009 National Conference, Work in Progress, Newcastle Town Hall, Newcastle, 17-20 May  
  • 2008,‘ Camden: the role of heritage in the making of place in a New South Wales country town’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2008 Biennial Conference, Locating History, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 7-10 July.
  • 2007, ‘Yearning, Longing and The Remaking of Camden’s Identity: the myths and reality of ‘a country town idyll’, paper for the Australian Historical Association 2007 Regional Conference, Engaging Histories, University of New England, Armidale, 23-26 September  
  • 2006, ‘Looking At Regional Identities on the Homefront’, Paper for the 2006 Australian Historical Association National Conference, Canberra, July 

Conference Papers (published)

  • 2000, 'Active Citizens and Loyal Patriots: The Role of Two Local Newspapers on the Australian Homefront, 1939-1945', Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Bulletin, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 81-92.


  • 2010, ‘Heritage: a dismal state of affairs’, Sydney Morning Herald Online, 16 April. Online.  
Last reviewed: 30 May, 2018