School of Arts

Nicola Cousen

CRCAH doctoral candidate

Dr James Stewart: Ulster physician, surgeon and philanthropist in Ballarat


Nicola's research will provide the first in-depth biography of Dr James Stewart (1829-1906) revealing the doctor's motivations, actions, relationships, work and point of view within the larger historical processes of Victorian history. It will offer new insight into nineteenth century Australian history, in particular Irish Presbyterians and Anglo-Irish in the Australian setting, ship's surgeons on immigrant ships to Australia, medical practice as it developed in the unique situation of the Victorian goldfields, the development of Ballarat, the foundational moment in Australian history of the Eureka Stockade and nineteenth century Australian philanthropy. 

Nicola's methodological approach utilizes interpretive and speculative biography, leitmotif identification, turning point analysis, psychohistory and prosopography.


'Dr Stewart: Ulster Irish man of the Scottish Diaspora' presented at For Auld Lang Syne Symposium, Ballarat, May 2014

'The lack of personal sources for the biography of Dr James Stewart: the methodological and theoretical approach' presented at Sharing the passion for discovery Annual Research Conference, Federation University, Ballarat, November 2014


'Introduction to Chapter VI' in John Melville-Jones (ed.), Ludovic de Beauvoir's Visit to Australia, Carlisle, W.A., Hesperian Press, 2016.

'Dr James Stewart: Ulster Man of the Scottish Diaspora' in Fred Cahir, Anne Beggs Sunter and Alison Inglis (eds), Scots Under the Southern Cross, Ballarat, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2015.

'Planning for Bushfires' in Museums Australia (Victoria), Insite, May-June 2008, p. 5.

Professional associations

Australian Historical Association

Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine

International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand

Museums Australia

Royal Historical Society Victoria