Founder and Director
DR. MICHAELA ANN CAMERON is an historian of colonial Australia and colonial America with specific research interests in ethnohistory, social history, sensory history (aural history / sound studies), digital history, public history, eighteenth-century Parramatta, nineteenth-century Parramatta, convicts, seventeenth-century New France, First Peoples, settler colonialism, Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples, and neurodecolonisation.
Dr. Cameron completed her PhD thesis, Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation, at the University of Sydney in 2018. An ethnohistorian specialising in sensory history (sound and audition), her doctoral thesis explores how and why deeply ingrained acoustemological differences created cultural conflict between natives and newcomers both in and beyond the colonial period in the New World. Recently, she contributed a chapter, “Singing with Strangers in Early Seventeenth-Century New France,” to the edited collection, Daniela Hacke and Paul Musselwhite (eds.), Empire of the Senses: Sensory Practices of Colonialism in Early America, (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2017), pp. 88–112. Read more about her American History research on Academia.
Michaela’s additional research interests in colonial Parramatta and particularly the convict experience have stemmed from the fact that her family has lived in Parramatta continuously since 1801. Known as “The Old Parramattan” for the purposes of her work as a public historian, Michaela has worked on a number of projects with the aim of promoting the history and heritage in her local area and raising awareness of its endangered heritage sites.
Most recently, Dr. Cameron was awarded a $66,290 Create NSW Arts and Cultural Grant for a collection of “Notable Parramattans” to be published on her digital, public history website The St. John’s Cemetery Project. Other activities over the years include;
- Developing the CONVICT PARRAMATTA walking tour for the Dictionary of Sydney Walks app (2015)
- Writing 11 entries on Parramatta’s heritage for the Dictionary of Sydney
- Promoting Parramatta’s lesser-known and well-known heritage items via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging on “The Old Parramattan.”
- Founding and directing the Female Factory Online as well as managing related social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
- Founding and directing The St. John’s Cemetery Project as well as managing related social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
Many of Michaela’s ancestors are buried at St. John’s Cemetery, including her oldest “Old Parramattan” and five-times great grandmother, the convict Lydia Barber (née Lydia Childs, alias Lydia Parker). Michaela’s ancestral connections to the cemetery continue to inspire her to raise the cemetery’s profile and increase community engagement with this under-appreciated heritage site by bringing to life the stories of the people buried there.
- Lydia Barber: A Real Tess of the d’Urbervilles
- Elizabeth Bennett: The Baker’s Wife
- William H. Bennett: An Eminent Baker
- Frances Hannah Clements: The Convict’s Child
- Elizabeth Eccles: The Dairy Maid
- Thomas Eccles: The Swine Connoisseur
- A. M. Fernando: Return to the Old Bailey
- Deborah Herbert: A Prigger of Toggery
- Mary Kelly: The First Lady of Kellyville
- David Killpack: The Merry Mutineer
- John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave
- James McManus: The Wrath of a Madman
- Jane McManus: The Maid Freed From The Gallows
- Daniel Mow-watty: The Boy Who Strayed from the Bush Path
- Richard Partridge: The Left-Handed Flogger
- James Wright: The Highwayman