History Week Activities ~ 5-13 September 2009

Maitland Gaol's 2009 History Week Activities

History Week is a State-wide initiative by the History Council of NSW to showcase the rich, diverse history being produced by organisations and individuals across the state. With over 200 events across NSW, History Week is about celebrating the best in community and professional history, highlighting its role in our cultural life and inviting people to get involved.

Maitland Gaol, in collaboration with the History Council of NSW and Maitland City Library is presenting a number of activities as its first involvement in History Week. These activities will take the theme of History Week 2009, "Scandals, Crime and Corruption", and add a Maitland/Hunter Valley flavour to it.

Activities include:


New Exhibition

A new exhibition "EXPOSED: Our criminal past"
will be mounted in the Auditorium

A new exhibition is being mounted in the Maitland Gaol Auditorium.

George Savvas was a convicted drug trafficker and notorious criminal of the 1990s who was serving 25 years for his crimes. Evidence presented indicated that an escape plot was being hatched between Savvas and backpacker murderer Ivan Milat. This was thwarted by prison authorities with Milat being removed from Maitland Gaol and Savvas being relocated into the Maximum Security wing. The next day, Sunday 18 May, 1997, George Savvas was found hanging in his cell, having committed suicide overnight. On display, for the first time, will be the collection of evidence presented at the coronial inquest into this, the last death in custody at Maitland Gaol.

Also, following the recent public call for items of interest associated with Maitland Gaol, the first exhibition of some of these donations will be on display, exhibiting items which fit to the Scandals, Crime and Corruption theme.

DATE:  From 5 September 2009
TIME:  10:00am - 4:00pm every day
PLACE:  Maitland Gaol Auditorium, 6-18 John Street, East Maitland
COST:  Free after Gaol entry

History Week Panel Discussion

"EXPOSED: Our criminal past" will be the theme for the
inaugural Look Who's Talking History activity

In collaboration with Maitland City Library, an inaugural Look Who’s Talking History panel discussion will be hosted by Maitland Gaol.

The panel, Sandra Lee, Duncan McNab and Tony Tamplin, together with facilitator Dr Ian Gollan, will be invited to take the audience on a journey to discover the scandals, crime and corruption that have shocked us over time. Topics for discussion are likely to include:

  • Crimes of the time.
  • How has crime changed us over time?
  • Scandal is not so much a crime, as a foolishness in getting caught.
  • The power of the written word.
  • Society’s fascination with crime.
  • Does crime mirror contemporary social issues?

DATE:  10 September 2009
TIME:  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
PLACE:  Maitland Gaol Auditorium, 6-18 John Street, East Maitland
COST:  $10.00
BOOKINGS:  Essential - Contact (02) 4936 6482 or book on-line here

Download the 'Exposed: Our criminal past' brochure here.

Sandra Lee: is an Australian journalist and author with more than two decades experience in the daily newspaper and magazine publishing industry in Australia and the United States.

Sandra is a former Assistant Editor, Opinion page editor, foreign correspondent and columnist for The Daily Telegraph, and more recently was the back-page columnist of The Sunday Telegraph and special features writer for Sunday magazine. Before that, she spent three years as editor-at-large at Australia’s biggest selling and best read fashion monthly, marie claire.

In the United States, Sandra’s work has appeared in the New York Post and USA Today Weekend, TV Guide and People magazines.

Sandra is the author of three non-fiction books: the best-selling 18 Hours, The True Story of an SAS War Hero, (2006), Beyond Bad; The Life And Crimes Of Katherine Knight, Australia’s Hannibal (2002) and The Promise, An Iraqi Mother’s Desperate Flight to Freedom (2003).

Sandra is a regular guest on radio and television programs discussing current events and pop culture issues. She is now freelancing while working a new book project, and her work appears in various magazines and newspapers including marie claire and Vogue among others.

Duncan McNab: A former detective in the NSW police force, Duncan moved into sleuthing for criminal defence cases and the corporate world in 1986, then worked as a producer/journalist for programs such as 4 Corners and Sunday and in the print media as well. The Usual Suspect, a biography of notorious crime figure Abe Saffron, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2005. His book The Dodger, based on the life of ex-policeman Roger Rogerson, was released by Pan Macmillan in late 2006.

In 2008 Duncan joined forces with investigative journalist Ross Coulthart to write Dead Man Running, an exposé of the world's most feared motorcycle gang: The Bandidos. Dead Man Running was published by Allen and Unwin in 2008 and became an instant best-seller.

Tony Tamplin: Senior Constable Tony Tamplin is the Media Liaison Officer for the Newcastle Police and is the public face of police information in the Hunter.

A Newcastle boy, born and bred, Tony is known for his wit and has been in the Police Force for 31 years, almost all of it in Newcastle, having held the position of Media Liaison Officer for the past 25 years. He is still deciding whether or not to make the Police Force his career!

Dr Ian Gollan: Born and bred in Maitland, Dr Ian Gollan is a prominent local identity and veterinarian. He is an ex-footballer, ex-stunt rider, ex-farmer, ex-social commentator and current bush lawyer.

Ian brings a wealth of experience to facilitating the discussion. He is in demand in master of ceremonies, auctioneering and judging roles, as well as being a sought-after participant in celebrity debating.

History Council of NSW Travelling Lecture

"Solitude of Sighs" will be a feature of History Week 2009

"Off the Beaten Track" is the History Council's travelling lecture series which in 2009 is entitled "Solitude of Sighs" and is to be given by Laila Ellmoos. Maitland Gaol is proud to have been asked to host this important feature of History Week 2009.

'We were a miscellaneous lot: murderesses and pickpockets, abortionists and shop-lifters, thieves and robbers, drunks and vags'. So wrote Rebecca Ross in 1908, two years after her release from Sydney's notorious Darlinghurst Gaol. Ross was one of a handful of prisoners and ex-prisoners who sought to describe their experiences of life inside the NSW prison system in the ninteenth and twentieth centuries, using the written word.

This lecture expands on scholarly and popular understandings of the NSW prison system from the perspective of those who spent time 'doing time'.

Laila Ellmoos is a professional historian with a passion for researching and writing about Australian social history. She is currently the historian at the NSW Government Architect's Office and this lecture expands on research carried out when she was the National and State Libraries Australasia Honarary Fellow at State Library of NSW in 2007.

DATE:  13 September 2009
TIME:  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
PLACE:  Maitland Gaol Auditorium, 6-18 John Street, East Maitland
COST:  Free
BOOKINGS:  Essential - Contact (02) 4936 6482

Download the 'Off the Beaten Track' brochure here.

Presented by the History Council of NSW, the Copyright Agency Limited and Maitland Gaol.