School of Arts

Professor Erik Eklund

Position: Professor
Study area: History and regional studies 
Location: Gippsland Campus, Building 1E Room 219 
Phone: (03) 5122 6296


  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Sydney - 1995
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - University of Sydney - 1989


Professor Erik Eklund holds a chair in Australian history. In 2015 and 2016 he completed a term as the Keith Cameron Chair in Australian History at University College Dublin. He was Associate Dean Research for the School of Arts from 2018 through to 2019.

He was a former Head of School and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor at Monash University, and has held appointments at the University of Newcastle, Georgetown University in Washington DC, and at the ANU as a Visiting Fellow. He was the joint winner of the Labour History Prize for the best article in that journal in the period 2012 to 2013, and was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Regional and Community History in 2003, for his book 2002 Steel Town.

Areas of expertise

Erik’s current research covers a range of topics in Australian, British, and world history. He has a particular interest in labour history and regional history covering themes such as industrial heritage, social policy history, oral history and memory, deindustrialisation and comparative regional histories.

Erik’s work is marked by a series of successful collaborations with Australian and international scholars from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. Much of his work in regional history has involved in-depth and productive collaborations with community groups, local Councils, and historical societies.

Research interests

  • Labour history
  • Regional and social history
  • Heritage studies
  • Social policy history
  • Mining history
  • Environmental history
  • Regional studies


Erik has supervised 10 PhDs and more than 11 MA students through to completion and examined more than 8 MAs and PhDs from Australian and international universities.

Current FedUni principal supervisions:

Ann Collins, 'Chemists and engineers in the Australian pulp & paper industry between 1920 and 1950 – growing an industry with collaborative innovation.' PhD

Jan Jones, ‘A History of Midwifes in Victoria, with special reference to Gippsland, 1900 to 1970’. PhD

Ron Lambert, ‘A comparative history of the introduction of mechanised harvesting into softwood forests and plantations in Scandinavia and Australia 1975 to 1988’. PhD

Ian Hamilton, ‘Success Stories of Indigenous Australians’. PhD

Jennifer McCoy, ‘The social history of white settlement in the far eastern high country of Victoria, 1860 to 1890, with special reference to the role of Scottish migrants, exploring regional development through land settlement.’ PhD

Judy Rochow, ‘Hidden strength: The nature and contributions of the permanent military and naval personnel to the Colony of Victoria’s Defence Forces and their impact on the early Commonwealth Defence Forces’. MA

Ray Jelley, 'Patterns of Female Landownership in Victoria, 1860 to 1905.' MA



Mining Towns: making a living, making a lifeUNSW Press, Sydney, 2012, pp.1-420, PB, ISBN 9781742233529

The Living History of Fort Scratchley (with Julie McIntyre), University of Newcastle/Newcastle City Council, Newcastle, 2008. ISBN 978190701901

The Making of a Nation: selected readings in colonial Australia. Co-edited with Dr Martin Crotty, Tertiary Press, Melbourne, 2003, pp.1-640, PB, ISBN 0 86458 349 4 (reprinted with corrections in 2004)

Steel Town: The making and breaking of Port Kembla. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2002, pp.1-248 HB, 21 b&w illustrations, 3 maps, 7 tables ISBN 0-522-85026-X A1 (republished as an E-book in 2013)

Copper Community: a history of ER&S/Southern Copper Ltd, Port Kembla, University of Wollongong Press, Wollongong, 2000, pp.1-113, 95 b&w illustrations, 21 colour photos, PB, ISBN 0 86418 678 9 (with Maree Murray)

Edited books

The State of Welfare: Comparative Studies of the Welfare State at the End of the Long Boom, 1965 to 1980(co-edited with Melanie Oppenheimer & Joanne Scott). Peter Lang, Oxford (UK)

Earth and Industry: Stories from Gippsland (co-edited with Julie Fenley), Monash University Press, Melbourne, 2015

J. Bennett & N. Cushing, E. Eklund (eds), Radical Newcastle (co-edited with James Bennett & Nancy Cushing), New South Publishing, Sydney, 2015.

Book chapters

‘Global and Local Interactions: The Great War, global trade, and community impacts in the Australian copper mining industry, 1900 to 1920’. In Duncan Money, Robert Declercq & Hans Otto Frøland eds. Born with a Copper Spoon. A global history of copper and how it fed the modern world, 1830-1980. University of British Colombia Press, Vancouver, 2021

‘Creating a global industry? geology, capital, and company formation on the goldfields of the industrial age’, pp.184-206. In B. Mountford & S. Tuffnell (eds), A Global History of Gold Rushes, University of California Press, Oakland, 2018

‘There needs to be something there for people to remember’: industrial heritage in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, Australia’. In Stefan Berger (ed), Routledge Cultural Heritage and Tourism Series: A Historical Comparison of Coal and Steel Producing Regions, Routledge, London, 2017

‘Reach of the Imagination’: the bold experiment of the Australian Assistance Plan’ (with Melanie Oppenheimer & Joanne Scott) In Jenny Hocking (ed), Making Modern Australia: The Whitlam Government’s twenty-first century agenda, Monash University Publishing, Clayton, 2017

‘Towards a New Environmental History of Gippsland’ I(with Julie Fenley) In Earth and Industry: Stories from Gippsland (Eklund & Fenley eds), Monash University Press, Melbourne, 2015

‘Afterward’ (with Julie Fenley) in Earth and Industry: Stories from Gippsland (Eklund & Fenley eds), Monash University Press, Melbourne, 2015

‘Radical Protest in Newcastle, Australia in the late nineteenth century’ (n J. Bennett & N. Cushing & E. Eklund (eds), Radical Newcastle. New South, Sydney, 2015

‘The One Big Union in Newcastle and the Hunter’ (with Peta Belic) In J. Bennett & N. Cushing & E. Eklund (eds), Radical Newcastle, New South, Sydney, 2015

‘The Margin as a Centre: memory, identity and belonging in Broken Hill and Mount Isa’ in Alan Mayne (ed), Outside Country: history of inland Australia, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2011

‘The hidden proletarian past of Canberra’ in Bobbie Oliver (ed) Labour History for the New Century, Black Swan Press / Curtin University, Perth, 2009 (with Robert Bollard)

‘The Premiers’ Plan and the Great Depression: High Politics and everyday life in an economic crisis’ in Martin Crotty & David Roberts (eds), Turning Points in Australian History, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2009

‘The ‘Anxious class’?: Storekeepers and the working class in Australia, 1880–1940’ in Ray Markey & Rob Hood (eds), Labour and Community, University of Wollongong Press, Wollongong, 2001

‘From Patriotic Interest to Class Interest: Employers and Federation, 1890–1911’ in Greg Patmore & Mark Hearn (eds) Working the Nation: Working Life and Federation, Pluto Press, Sydney, 2001

‘Swedish Seafarers in South Australia: the relationship between maritime and land-based labour markets in South Australian ports, 1890–1930’ in Charles Westin & Olavi Koivukangas (eds), Scandinavian and European Migration to Australia and New Zealand, Turku (Finland): Institute for Migration, 1999, pp.169–184.

Refereed journal articles

’Industrial heritage agents and outcomes: case studies from Broken Hill and the Latrobe Valley’. Journal of Australian Studies (with Antoinette Holm & Keir Reeves), forthcoming, 2021.

‘The dreaded pneumonic influenza has made its appearance amongst us’: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Gippsland, Victoria’. Australian Historical Studies, 2021.

‘A Post-Carbon Future? Narratives of Change and Identity in the Latrobe Valley, Australia’. BIOS. Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung und Oral History [Journal of Biography Research, Oral History and Life Course Analysis], Jg. 31, Nr. 2-2018. [published 30 October, 2020. With Antoinette Holm].

‘Forum: Industrial sites and immigrant architectures. A case study approach’, Anoma PierisMirjana LozanovskaAlexandra DelliosRenee Miller-YeamanErik EklundDavid BeynonRichard Tuffin, FabricationsVolume 29, 2019 - Issue 2. Published Online: 30 May 2019.

The Australian Assistance Plan and the Canadian Connection: Origins and Legacies’ (with M. Oppenheimer & C. Collins) Australian Historical Studies, 2018

‘Negotiating Industrial Heritage and Regional Identity in Three Australian Regions’, The Public Historian, Vol. 39 No. 4, November 2017

‘Developing a community soul’: A Comparative Assessment of the Australian Assistance Plan in Three Regions, 1973–1977’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Volume 62, Issue 3, September 2016, pp. 419–434

‘The Problem of Belonging: Contested Country in Australia Local History’, New Scholar: An international journal of the humanities, creative arts, and social sciences (with Frank Bongiorno), Vol. 3, No. 1, 2014, pp. 39-53

‘Class and company loyalties at Mount Morgan, 1889-1909’, Journal of the Australasian Mining History Association, Vol. 11, October, 2013, pp.24-42

‘Australian convict sites and the heritage of adaptation: the case of Newcastle’s Coal River Heritage Precinct’, Australian Historical Studies. (with David Roberts) Vol. 43, No. 3, 2012, pp.363-380

‘Representing Militancy: Photographs of the Broken Hill industrial disputes, 1908-1920, Labour History (with Paul Adams), No. 101, November, 2011, pp. 1-34 (joint winner of the 2013 Labour History Prize)

Reeves, K., Eklund, E., Reeves, A., Peel, V., & Scates, B., “Rethinking the international significance of the material culture and intangible heritage of the Australian labour movement” (40% Eklund), International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, July 2011, pp. 301-317

‘Interview Techniques in Three Different Research Scenarios’, The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (with Elena Caprioni and Manuela Deiana), Vol. 4, No. 1, 2009, pp. 1-10

“Do you Love the Town you Live in?”: Narratives of Place from Australian Mining Towns, The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (50% with Antoinette Eklund), Vol. 3, No. 7, 2008, pp. 53-57

‘Official and Vernacular Public History: historical anniversaries and commemorations in Newcastle, NSW’, Public History Review, Vol. 14, 2007, pp. 128-152

‘Retail Co-operatives as a Transnational Phenomenon: exploring the composition of Australian society and culture’, Journal of Colonial Australian History Vol. 9, 2007, pp. 67-99

‘History as Service Teaching – Possibilities and Pitfalls’, History Australia (with Martin Crotty), No. 3, 2006: 47.1-47.10

‘The ‘place’ of politics: Class and localist politics at Port Kembla, 1900–1930’, Labour History, Vol. 78, May 2000 pp. 94–115

‘Intelligently Directed Welfare Work’?: Labour Management Strategies in Local Context: Port Pirie, 1915–29, Labour History, No. 76, May, 1999, pp.125–148

‘Managers, workers and industrial welfarism: Management strategies at ER&S, Port Kembla and the Sulphide Corporation, Cockle Creek, 1895–1929’, Australian Economic History Review Vol. 37, No. 2, July 1997, pp. 137–157

‘We are of Age’: Class, Locality and Region at Port Kembla, 1900 to 1940, Labour History, Vol.66, May 1994 pp. 72–85

Selected external grants

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant: ‘A Bold Experiment?: A historical evaluation of the Australian Assistance Plan, and its regional impact’. ARC DP150103022 with Prof Melanie Oppenheimer, Flinders, CI1 & Professor Joanne Scott, University of the Sunshine Coast, C3.

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, (sole CI Erik Eklund) ‘Frontiers of Labour: Identity and Belonging in Australian mining and industrial towns’ (2005-2008. DP0556725)

NSW Heritage Office Heritage Incentives Programme, Promoting and Resourcing Coal River, Newcastle (2006-2007)

University of Newcastle Collaborative Research Grant in partnership with Newcastle City Council, (2005 with Dr Phillip McIntyre as CI2 and Susan Kerrigan as PhD Student)

Newcastle City Council, Preliminary study into the location of the first convict-coal mines of Newcastle (2003-2005)

Awards, honours and select invited presentations

Centenary of Armistice Public Lecture, Traralgon Performing Arts Centre, 4 November 2018.

ANZAC Day Address, Grangegorman Cemetery, Dublin, 2015 & 2016

‘Mining Towns: pathways, connections and cultures’, The Outback Oration: Broken Hill Public Lecture, Monash National Centre for Australian Studies, 29 March, 2014

Joint winner of the Labour History Prize, 2013(with co-author Paul Adams)

‘Victoria’s role in the history of Australian mining’, La Trobe University – Bendigo Campus, 29 August, 2013

‘Towards a new history of Newcastle and the Hunter Region’,Newcastle Hunter Studies Symposium, Newcastle Art Gallery/Humanities Research Institute - University of Newcastle, Newcastle, 9 May, 2013

‘The Problem of Belonging: contested country in Australian local history’,Victoria County House International Symposium on Local History, London, 2010 (50% with Frank Bongiorno)

Localities, local history and knowledge production - Accessing vernacular history in Australia beyond the capital cities’, Victoria County House International Symposium on Local History, 2009, London, 6-8 July 2009

Australian Academy of Humanities Travelling Fellowship, 2001

New South Wales Premier’s History Prize for Regional and Community History, 2003 (for Steel Town)


  • Australian Historical Association
  • Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
  • Australasian Mining History Association