Geoffrey Bolton legacy inspires dynamic narrative

June 28, 2017

Friends and colleagues of the late Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton have authored a book on Australian history to honour his legacy.

A new book featuring a series of essays on Australian history, inspired by the work of the late Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton, has been launched at Murdoch University.

The book, entitled Geoffrey Bolton: A Historian for All Seasons, has been edited by his friends and former colleagues Emeritus Laureate Professor Stuart Macintyre, Emeritus Professor Jenny Gregory and Associate Professor Lenore Layman.

Professor McIntyre said the contributors to the volume took Professor Bolton’s research as a departure point for original essays on a variety of themes in Australian history.

Speaking at the book launch, Professor Mcintyre said: “Geoffrey was a person of prodigious gifts, with a keen literary ear. His career as a historian is one of moving from place to place. Geoffrey was a pioneer in the use of oral history, the history of the Kimberley, of biography, and environmental history.”

Murdoch University Adjunct Professor Bill Bunbury, who worked extensively with Professor Bolton for many years, said the book reflected his legacy.

“History is complex and ambivalent and can range across a multitude of community interests; social, environmental, theory and narrative. It is clearly evident that historians have taken up the lead that Geoffrey gave them,” he said.

Professor Bolton was an icon of Murdoch and an esteemed historian in Australia.

His long and distinguished association with the University began when he was appointed to the Murdoch University Planning Board in 1970. He later became Murdoch’s Foundation Professor of History, and served as a Senate member and Chancellor. He passed away in September 2015.

Earlier this year, Murdoch University dedicated its library to Professor Bolton and launched The Geoffrey Bolton Fund. The Fund will provide early career scholars with grants to fund research and education opportunities.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Bolton’s friend, the Hon Fred Chaney AO, announced that sufficient funds had already been raised to start awarding small grants to researchers next year.

“Throughout his career, Geoffrey was deeply committed to fostering students' interest in Australian history and encouraging the highest levels of research and scholarship,” Mr Chaney said.

“Support such as this is critically important for future generations of historians, particularly in an age of short term, immediate communication. We need to go beyond 140 characters to understand our past and what our future can be.”

The launch was attended by more than 160 of Professor Bolton’s colleagues, friends and family, and took place in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre.

Part proceeds from the sale of Geoffrey Bolton: A Historian for All Seasons  through the Murdoch Bookshop will be donated to the Geoffrey Bolton Fund.

Donations to the Geoffrey Bolton Fund can be made via the online portal here.

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