Special Guest Speaker! Monday 10 October

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An exciting and special Guest Speaker is giving a presentation on Monday 10 October at the next Broken Hill Historical Society general meeting (and note for members, it’s the last general meeting for this year).

The Society has managed to capture, between her numerous engagements away, Dr Jen (Jeanette) Thompson.

Some Hillites will already know Jen from a number of short public projects she worked with here in 2022: Outreach Officer for the Outback Letterbox Library, and Oral History Workshop presenter. As well, Jen won the 2022 Under the Silver Tree Bookshop poetry competition (local poets section). And, to top off an already big year, Jen was a driver in the transport crew for the May/June filming of Mad Max Furiosa

But Jen Thompson has a much broader history in creative projects than some of the former activities may suggest. One is at the centre of her coming presentation to the Society: in 2020 she published a book titled Bone and Beauty: The Ribbon Boys’ Rebellion.

Jen will speak on some of the historical research she undertook to produce this book, where she was led to an interesting observation: “Australia has had just as much trouble with Governors as with Bushrangers.”

She looks at how Governor Ralph Darling, after whom the Baaka River was re-named by the early colony, visited Bathurst in 1829. This visit led to the convict insurrection led by Ralph Entwhistle, which is now known as the Ribbon Boys Rebellion.

As a non-elected representative of the monarchy, Darling was able to wield unfettered power at a time of pastoral expansion. The secrecy surrounding his actions and royal clemency for his misdeeds, begs a question Jen will follow up: Has Australia really learnt from its colonial history?  

You can hear Jen Thompson on Monday 10 October (after a brief member’s meeting), at the Community Centre, 200 Beryl Street, Broken Hill. The Centre meeting room opens at 7pm, and the meeting will begin at 7.30pm.

All are very welcome, whether you are from the local community or visitors/tourists to Broken Hill. (And you certainly don’t have to be a Society member to come!)

More about Dr Jen

The statement above about there being more to Jen creatively, begins with her academic background and the fruits of her research:

  • a PhD (doctorate) in Creative Arts from University of Technology, Sydney
  • a Master of Arts in Professional Communications from Deakin University.

And then there’s books she’s either written, or edited as anthologies, books with fascinating titles like:

  • Bone and Beauty: The Ribbon Boys’ Rebellion, published by University of Queensland Press, Brisbane (the one Jen will be talking about on Monday 10th October), and
  • The Shakespeare Ladies: A history of the Wagga Wagga Shakespeare’s Club, published by FourWPress, Wagga.

But, there’s more. Jen has a background in develop screenwriting courses, and herself has been a digital screen as well as a radio and TV writer and sometimes producer.

And then, Jen has written more short stories and had more poetry included in various anthologies — than you can count.

So, seriously, this is a moment to listen to a special guest speaker, Jen, and ask her some questions. Do make the most of the opportunity.

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