The Historian

This website is the work of Michael Williams (no relation).

Academic qualifications:

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong, October 2003 (Thesis: Destination Qiaoxiang – Pearl River Delta Villages & Pacific Ports, 1849-1949)

Master of Letters, University of New England, Sydney 1998 (Thesis: Sojourn in Your Native Land – Sydney’s huaqiao and their links with South China)

Bachelor of Arts, University of New England, Sydney 1996

Local history publications/research

A History in Three Rivers – Dungog Shire Heritage Study (Carste Studio Heritage Consultants, Dungog Shire Council, 2012)

Entertaining DungogMore Than a Picture Palace (Friends of the James Theatre, 2012)

Ah DungogA Brief Survey of its Charming Houses and Historic Buildings (Dungog Historical Society, 2011)

100th Anniversary of the Maitland to Dungog Railway 1911 to 2011 (Dungog Historical Society, 2011)

“By the Pleasing Countenance of My Superiors – The life of Dungog Magistrate Thomas Cook, J.P.” (History in the Williams River Valley, 2012)

“This Anomalous Community” (History in the Williams River Valley, 2012)

Publications (refereed):

‘ “Would this not help your Federation?” ’ in Sophie Couchman, John Fitzgerald and Paul Macgregor (eds), After the Rush: Regulation, Participation, and Chinese Communities in Australia 1860–1940. Otherland Literary Journal, no. 9, December 2004.

“Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta Qiaoxiang, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 38, Part 2, 2004, pp.257-282.

“In the Tang Mountains we have a Big House”, East Asian History, Vol. 25/26, June/December 2003, pp.85-112.

“Chinese Australia – the view from the village”, Locality, Autumn 2003, pp.17-22.

“Anglo-Saxonizing Machines: Exclusion America, White Australia”, Chinese America – History and Perspectives, Vol. 17, 2003, pp.23-33.

“Observations of a China Consul”, Locality, Vol.11, No.2, 2000, pp.24-31.

“Sojourn in Your Native Land: Sydney links with South China”, Queensland Review Vol. 6, No. 2, November, 1999, pp.11-23.

Chinese Settlement in NSW – A thematic history (Sydney: Heritage Office of NSW, 1999)

Other publications:

“Departed friends”, Journal of Chinese Australia, Issue 2, October 2006

Zhongshan County (China), Chinese-Australian Historical Images in Australia, 2005.

“A brief note on some treasures in the Queensland State Archives”, Journal of Chinese Australia, Issue 1, May 2005

“Chinese in the Northern Territory: Review of Tim Jones, The Chinese in the Northern Territory, Diana Giese, Beyond Chinatown and Sweet and Sour, Journal of Chinese Australia, Issue 1, May 2005

“Review of Paul Jones, Chinese-Australian Journeys: Records on Travel, Migration and Settlement, 1860-1975″Journal of Chinese Australia, Issue 2, October 2006

“Wading 10,000 li to seek their fortune: Tung Wah News selections 1898-1901” (La Trobe Univerity, Asian Studies Program, Chinese Australia, The Tung Wah Times, 2003)

“State Records NSW: Sources for the history of the Chinese in regional NSW: A guide compiled for the Golden Threads Project”, (Golden Threads, The Chinese in Regional NSW, 1850 – 1950, UNE, 2002)

“Tracing your Chinese ancestor in the National Archives of Australia (NSW Office): A guide compiled by Michael Williams for the Golden Threads Project”, (Golden Threads, The Chinese in Regional NSW, 1850 – 1950, UNE, 2002)

Book Review: ‘Many Inventions’: The Chinese in the Rocks 1890-1930 by Jane Lydon. Labour History, No. 78 (May, 2000), pp. 217-219. (Article Stable URL:

Book Review: ‘If They Don’t Bring their Women Here’ by George Peffer, in Australiasian Journal of American Studies, October 2000.

4 thoughts on “The Historian

  1. Dear Michael,

    I’ve just read your site – History of the Williams River Valley and it is so valuable. You have provided so much detail and history. My great-great grandmother, Jane Mackay (married a Gaddes) was from Croom Park near Dungog. I’ve always wondered if this was a school at this place or a place of religion. It is reported that Jane was an illegitmate indigenous woman who was married off to my great-great grandfather.. It’s frustrating that I cannot source any written material concerning this. I do have two pictures of her however. Anyway, history is awful but important to remember and to be told, so thank you again. If you know of any info concerning Croom Park I’d be over the moon,


    Michelle Gaddes

  2. Dear Micheal,

    Thank you for an interesting read. I’ve only recently realised that my, great,great,great grandfather was Thomas Myers who once lived at Croom Park, Dungog around the mid 1800’s. He was a convict who was pardoned sometime around 1840. I think they called that part of Dungog, Harewood back then. He was buried at Hanley’s flat. I’m wondering how to find out a little more on this fellow, his family and the district he lived in. Any help would be much appreciated. Many thanks. Scott Thompson, Kulnura NSW.

  3. Thanks for your comment Scott. I don’t have any specific information but the Dungog Historical Society is always a good place to start.

  4. Thankyou so much for this unique insight into this little pocket. Grew up wandering the creeks and tracks of the Williams and similar, now finding myself living in Dungog.
    Always a haunted haunting country for me – full of whispered history and muttered voices. This precious work of yours comes closest to capturing the deep history that still inhabits the place.

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