The Old Parramattan


Michaela Ann Cameron, BA (Hons I), Dip. Ed., Ph.D

I am a multidisciplinary historian of colonial America and colonial Australia, passionate about extending the reach of my research to both academics and the general public across a wide variety of platforms, including print, digital, and social media.

I completed my PhD thesis, Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation, in 2018 at the University of Sydney where I have also worked as a research assistant, guest lecturer and tutor. The thesis, an ethnohistorical aural history within the broader field of “sensory history,” explored how and why deeply ingrained acoustemological differences created cultural conflict between natives and newcomers both in and beyond the colonial period on Turtle Island (North America).  Read more>>

Recently, I 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. 


Ethnohistory | Sensory History | Aural History | Social History | Algonquian-Iroquoian Peoples | 17th-century New France | Early America | Convicts | Colonial Parramatta | Public History | Digital History

Public History

My family has lived in Parramatta continuously since 1801 when my ancestors Lydia Parker née Childs (a convict and a real life Tess of the d’Urbervilles), her future husband Thomas Barber (a member of the NSW Corps), and William Innes (a convict), all arrived on the Earl Cornwallis and made new lives for themselves on the land of the Burramattagal people. Because of these ancestral links to Parramatta, I have worked on a number of digital, public history projects with the aim of promoting the history and heritage locally and raising awareness of Parramatta’s endangered heritage sites. This work has included:

Founder and Director of The Female Factory Online

A Searchable Database for Australia’s Oldest Surviving Convict Women’s Site

This digital, public history project has two major aims: to centralise data and to centralise expertise relating to the Parramatta Female Factory for the benefit of the local, national, and international community of academics and the general public alike. Read more >>

Founder and Director of St. John’s Online

A Biographical Database for Australia’s Oldest Surviving European Cemetery 

St. John’s Online is a biographical database for St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, published gradually since 2016. Read more >>

Awards and Grants

Arts and Cultural Grant, Create NSW 2019–2021

Cultural Heritage and Stories Research Fund, City of Parramatta 2016

Heritage Grant, Royal Australian Historical Society 2015

Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Federal Government 2007–2009