Trust Talks

Evening lectures are presented quarterly by the National Trust advocacy team.

Here is a sample of our previous Trust Talks topics:

Remembering William Cooper

9 November 2015

William Cooper was one of the greatest Australian activists of the twentieth century, and yet his story remains unknown to many.

To celebrate Cooper’s life and legacy, the National Trust has invited his grandson Alf Turner (Uncle Boydie), who is a Yorta Yorta elder, and his great-grandson Kevin Russell, to share the extraordinary story of his fight for human rights. This special talk will examine Cooper’s historic 1938 protest against Kristallnacht and the treatment of Jews in Germany leading up to World War II, which is now recognised both here and in Israel, as well as Cooper’s extraordinary Indigenous activism including his petition to George VI calling for Aboriginal rights, and the 1938 Day of Mourning.


Remembering ANZAC: commemorative stained glass of the First World War

27 April 2015

The first stained glass memorials to First World War servicemen (and a few women) of the Australian forces were erected from 1915. Over the years following, hundreds of windows were installed across the country in schools, hospitals, public and private buildings with the majority in churches of all denominations.  Join Dr Bronwyn Hughes to explore the ways in which commemoration changed over time as personal grief was overlaid with community remembrance in an increasingly secular society.

Dr., Bronwyn Hughes writes and lectures on history, design and conservation of stained glass and consultant to Australian heritage organisations. She is a member of the Public Art Committee of the National Trust.  Her five-year survey of Victorian war commemorative windows from the Boer War to Vietnam has recently been published online as part of the Veterans’ Heritage Inventory.  This study generated Australia-wide research for a book, Lights Everlasting: ANZAC commemorated in stained glass that is currently in progress.


The HMAS AE2 submarine: Exploring underwater cultural heritage 

13 April 2015

The wreck of the HMAS AE2 submarine has been on the floor of Turkey’s Sea of Marmara since Gallipoli. Marine archaeologist and Executive Director of Heritage Victoria, Tim Smith was part of an expedition last June to AE2 led by the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd. Here Tim Smith talk about underwater cultural heritage sites and maritime history from the Great War.


Places of Pain, Shame and Power: 19th Century Institutions in the 21st Century

9 February 2015

What is the future of our great nineteenth-century institutions? Decommissioned in the late-twentieth century, prisons such as HM Prison Pentridge and Geelong Gaol, and asylums such as Mayday Hills, Kew and Aradale do not conform to current philosophies surrounding imprisonment and benevolent care, and must now find new lives through adaptive re-use.

Rich with architectural, archaeological and social history, how can we conserve these places of pain, shame and power and the stories they tell while ensuring they have a viable use into the future? In this talk, National Trust Community Advocate Felicity Watson will look at local sites such as Pentridge and Kew Asylum, as well as examples of the adaptive re-use and interpretation of gaols and asylums internationally.

The talk will also explore the current controversy regarding the proposed subdivision and redevelopment of Mayday Hills Asylum in Beechworth, which has seen the rejection of Heritage Victoria’s permit conditions by local developers, putting the future of the site in doubt.


Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: Who Cares?

15 September 2014

Rueben Berg is a Gunditjmara man and the Indigenous Heritage Advocate for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). Rueben is also a founder and director of Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria and a Cultural Heritage Advisor under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. In this talk Rueben will be looking at how Aboriginal cultural heritage is managed in Victoria and why he thinks that everyone should play a role in ensuring that one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world can continue and thrive in the 21st century.


Beyond the Facade: Flinders Street Station

This month’s Trust Talks speaker is Jenny Davies. Jenny is a researcher, author and leading advocate for the conservation and celebration of Flinders Street Station, one of Melbourne’s most loved buildings. Her 2009 book Beyond the Facade: Flinders Street, more than just a railway station explores the 100 year history of the station, and its changing role over that time. As the main administration building languishes and the paint peels off, we invite guests to join us as Jenny peels back these layers of the station’s history, and to learn about the National Trust’s ongoing advocacy campaign for government investment in the site.