Speaker Biographical Details

Click on the following names to see the biographical details for each wonderful speaker at the conference! Names are listed alphabetically by surname for ease of navigation.

Mara Basanovic, CEO, Volunteering Queensland

Mara is the CEO of Volunteering Queensland, and has worked in the volunteering and community sectors for more than 25 years.

Biographical details courtesy of Volunteering Queensland.

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Ross Bower, OAM, Redland Museum

Ross Bower is a dedicated volunteer at Redland Museum who has been heavily involved in the Museum as Collection Manager. Ross served as President from 2007-2008 and 2013-2014, and Vice President from 2006-2007 (details courtesy Redland Museum).

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Chris Brauns, horticulturalist and head of garden management, Historic Ormiston House

Chris brings more than 40 years’ experience in research, horticulture, hydroponics, plant genetics and plant tissue culture to our beautiful heritage gardens. He has been highly sought after by numerous nurseries and organisations including Government House

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Michael Brennan, Gallery Director, Noosa Regional Gallery

Michael is the Gallery Director at the Noosa Regional Gallery.

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Louise Denoon, Public Libraries and Engagement Executive Director, State Library of Queensland

Louise is the Executive Director of the Public Libraries and Engagement portfolio at the State Library of Queensland.

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Russell Dinte, Blacksmith Shop, Redland Museum

Russell’s working life encompassed Army service, engineering, and computer programming. He has volunteered at the Redland Museum since 2013, looking after the Museum’s computer system and future technology expansion and since 2017, serving on the Museum’s Management Committee. His major interest is working in the Museum’s Blacksmiths’ Shop which he does every Saturday morning. The latest project devised by Russell and his team of blacksmiths is to design and construct a machine to break coke up into a useable size.

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Jeanne Dixon, Head Guide, Historic Ormiston House

Jeanne is the Head Guide, genealogist and Librarian at Historic Ormiston House, where she is dedicated to sharing this property’s diverse history with its visitors.

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Naomi Evans, Curator, Griffith University Art Museum

Naomi Evans is the Curator at the Griffith University Art Museum.

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Dr Louise Floyd, Associate Professor of Law, James Cook University, and Barrister, Supreme Court of Queensland

Dr. Louise Floyd is an Associate Professor of Law at James Cook University and a Barrister to the Supreme Court of Queensland. She is the lead author of the Cambridge University Press book, Employment, Labour and Industrial Law in Australia. Louise has held numerous International Fellowships, e.g., she was the first Australian to be awarded the MacCormick Fellowship to the University of Edinburgh Law School, Scotland;  & she has been International Visiting Fellow at Cornell University in America’s Ivy League. Louise’s articles have been published in some of the leading law journals in the world, e.g.: The Law Quarterly Review; The International Lawyer; The Hong Kong Law Journal; and The Australian Law Journal. She has lectured and consulted in Asia, e.g., presenting lectures (with honorarium) to the Hong Kong Government Department of Justice (on public sector employment law). Louise has won numerous teaching prizes and held academic leadership positions ranging from Sub Dean of UQ Law School through to JCU Law Director of Research (where she led her Law School to an ERA ranking of “at world standard,” which it retained for the entire period she served in the role). Louise’s career began when she was Judge’s Associate to Hon Justice Margaret McMurdo AC. In her spare time, Louise acts on a pro bono basis as a prosecutor for the RSPCA.

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Jennifer Garcia, Communications & Programming Manager, Newstead House

Jennifer Garcia is a passionate advocate for the arts with extensive experience in cultural programming, events management, marketing and partnerships.  Jennifer has evolved an holistic approach to museum management through the inclusion of arts programming and education informed by these distinct yet related fields.

As Programming & Communications Manager for Newstead House Jennifer has been instrumental in reinvigorating the house museum through an immersive education program and engaging public programming calendar. Underpinning this programming philosophy is an understanding that the future sustainability of the museums, arts and heritage sectors relies on an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates concerts, exhibitions, education programs and research though strategic partnerships between community, government, business and the university sectors. Jennifer Garcia is currently the Chair of Brisbane Living Heritage Network.

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Elisabeth Gondwe, North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah

Elisabeth graduated with a Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Studies in Anthrophony and Archaeology in 1999.  Since that time she worked recording community histories mainly using oral history.  She has been associated with the North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah since moving to the Island in 2000.   Elisabeth is currently employed at the Museum as a Musarian/ Researcher and is the current President of Oral History Queensland.

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Dr Ruth Kerr, OAM, Historian and Adjunct Professor in History, University of Queensland

Dr Ruth Kerr OAM, an experienced professional historian who has done extensive research in mining, regional and organizational history and has written several commissioned histories on these subjects, is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Queensland. Her PhD in history was on John Moffat, mining entrepreneur. Ruth is Hon. Secretary of The Royal Historical Society of Queensland, and is a former President of that Society as well as the Professional Historians Association (Queensland) and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies. Ruth had a long public service career in Archives, Parliamentary Library, Crown Law Office and Mines and Energy and Primary Industries Departments.

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Dr Robert Mason, Senior Lecturer, Griffith University

Dr Robert Mason is a cultural historian, whose research focusses on social memories and heritage connected with violence, displacement and difficult pasts. He has a particular focus on the entangled histories and heritage of the Spanish, Portuguese and British in Australia, Asia, and North America.

Robert explores how intercultural encounters influence our experience of community in the present moment. His research rests on two key pillars: the exploration of the past through archival records and oral testimonies; and, communities’ experience of the past through critical analysis of museums and heritage. In both these pillars, his work brings forward voices and experiences of those at the risk of exclusion and injustice.

Biographical details courtesy of Griffith University.

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Dr Geraldine Mate, Principal Curator – History, Industry and Technology, Cultures and Histories Program, Queensland Museum

Geraldine has been at the Museum since 2007, commencing as Curator of Science and Technology, and working for some time at The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich. Geraldine is currently based at Queensland Museum and Sciencentre and cares for collections related to industry, science and technology, transport and social history. Her research is focused on the cultural landscape of 19th and early 20th century mining towns and industrial complexes in Queensland, including investigations of the cultural heritage of the Ipswich Railway Workshops site. Geraldine’s other research interests encapsulate broader reflections on cultural landscapes in archaeology, the interpretation of industrial cultural heritage and labour history, considerations of social/industrial interplay in historical landscapes, and the relationship between people and technology.

Biographical details courtesy of Queensland Museum.

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Brian Maxwell, Heritage Plaster Restoration Specialist and James Love Churchill Fellow

My name is Brian Maxwell. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia where I run a business called Heritage Plaster Restoration. My business and passion is the conservation of built heritage using traditional plaster restoration skills, materials and techniques.

I consider myself a little old fashioned as the work I do is careful, considered and hand crafted.  The aim of my conservation work caring for heritage buildings is to replicate exactly the workmanship of original makers or conserve damage and to stabilize the building for another hundred years. This approach is the gold standard of heritage practice.

I’ve developed my skills through study in the UK and Italy. In 2013 I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to continue studying overseas where I attended, for a second time, the European Centre for Heritage Crafts and Professions, northern Italy. This highly regarded institution was established in 1975 to train European artisans in the rare technical conservation skills required to conserve Venice’s buildings. Please see 2013 findings of Churchill Study tour for information on my overseas study in 2013.

My work in Brisbane is well regarded and word of mouth referrals among heritage professionals and building owners ensure I’m kept busy. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to establish a business based on my interests and in keeping with my careful and technical nature.

Biographical details courtesy of Heritage Plaster Restoration.

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Brenda Maynard, Senior Guide, Historic Ormiston House

Brenda is a Senior Guide at Historic Ormiston House and is dedicated to sharing this property’s heritage with its many visitors.

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Dr Katie McConnel, Historian and Curator, Old Government House

Working in both the university and museum sectors for almost 20 years, Katie has established a strong reputation and research background in local heritage and regional history.

She is a passionate advocate for the history and heritage sectors and endeavours to make history engaging for the community. She is an active board member of Queensland’s key heritage and historical societies and organisations. Through her exhibitions, writing, tours and public talks, Katie makes Queensland history, the history of Old Government House, and the remarkable lives of the 19th century residents accessible and captivating for visitors of all ages!

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Kirsten Murray, Supreme Court Library Queensland Community Education Coordinator, Brisbane Living Heritage Network Director

Kirsten is passionate about education and finding new and engaging ways to share stories about our local history. She is a Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network Director, producing their podcast My favourite item: unravelling Brisbane’s history piece by piece. She currently works in a community outreach role with the Supreme Court Library Queensland coordinating and delivering a diverse range of education programs that enable thousands of students and members of the community to learn about Queensland’s legal system and legal heritage.

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Julanne Neal, Reference Archivist, Queensland State Archives

Julanne Neal is a Senior Reference Archivist at Queensland State Archives with a passion for sharing collections digitally.

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Amanda Pagliarino, Coordinator, AICCM Environmental Guidelines Project, Head of Conservation and Registration, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

Amanda Pagliarino is QAGOMA Head of Conservation & Registration and leads a team of conservators, registrars, photographers, collection systems managers and specialist technicians engaged in a wide range of conservation, collection management and exhibition work. She studied Art History and Practice at the University of Queensland and Material Conservation at the University of Canberra and has worked in several national and state museums and galleries. In 2019 she was a Guest Researcher at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, where she spent time investigating sustainable museum climate. Amanda is the Coordinator of the AICCM Environmental Guidelines Project, a Churchill Fellow and past recipient of the AICCM Conservator of the Year award.

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Michelle Pickering, Coordinator, Brisbane Living Heritage Network

Michelle is the Brisbane Living Heritage Network Coordinator and is dedicated to supporting the diverse heritage organisations across Brisbane.

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Pekeri Ruska, North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah

Pekeri is a Goenpul woman from the Quandamooka People of North Stradbroke Island.  After graduating from Griffith University in 2010 with a Law and Communications degree, she moved to Victoria where she practised as a solicitor with the Aboriginal Legal Service. She has worked as a journalist and co-editor of the Aboriginal rights publication the ‘Black Rising’ magazine. In 2019 she was an Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity through Melbourne University and also won the Griffith University Outstanding First People (Law/ Arts) Alumnus Award.  She has extensive work experience in law, management and community development work.

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Dr Jessica Stroja, Adjunct Fellow, Griffith University; Jessica Stroja Heritage and Public Relations Consulting; Resident Historian, Historic Ormiston House

Dr Jessica Stroja is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University. Jessica’s research surrounds migration caused by conflict and the effects of wartime experiences. She has worked with numerous community organisations both as an academic researcher and as a practising heritage consultant. Her research includes the use of diverse archival and oral histories, with her expertise recognised by the award of the National Archives of Australia-Australian Historical Association Scholarship, the Award of Excellence in a Research Thesis from Griffith University in recognition of the calibre of her PhD thesis and the examination outcome, and the Chancellor’s Medal in recognition of her exceptional performance in the research higher degree. This Medal was awarded in recognition of Jessica’s outstanding contribution and the significance of her work in the field of research and the standard of excellence demonstrated in her research. It also recognises Jessica as one of the highest achieving PhD graduates, and the Arts, Education and Law Group’s top ranked candidate in her year of submisson.

Jessica works with a range of clients, and specialises in heritage and public relations consulting. She provides specialised public relations services targeted to the unique needs of museums and not for profit organisations. Her publications range from community projects to articles in international peer-reviewed journals, and she enjoys working in all areas of heritage with her clients, including funding applications and research projects.

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Betty Walker, Volunteer Librarian, Redland Museum Rotary Heritage Library

Betty worked at the Biological Sciences Library, University of Queensland, and then in Queensland government department libraries for over ten years. The next 25 years were devoted to raising a family and volunteering with various school and extracurricular activities. Since 2017, Betty has been a volunteer librarian with the Redland Museum, cataloguing the library collection and researching local history and family histories of current and former Redlands residents in response to queries from Museum volunteers, other members, visitors and callers. She relies on the skills and knowledge of available resources gained after researching her own family tree over the last 15 years.

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Leisha Walker, Training and Professional Development Program Officer, Museums & Galleries Queensland

Leisha is the Training & Professional Development Program Officer at Museums & Galleries Queensland.

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Robyn Wallace, Secretary, Queensland Women’s Historical Association

Robyn’s interest in Queensland history goes back to school days in Ipswich, even winning a state wide history essay competition in Year 10. Robyn’s other love (mathematics) resulted in a career in mathematics and physics teaching which included presenting seminars on such diverse topics as Drama in Mathematics and Teaching Strategies for helping Reluctant Students. Robyn joined the Queensland Women’s Historical Association in 2008 and later became a guide.  Robyn has enjoyed this very different role of showing the treasures of QWHA to members of the public.  Currently Robyn is the secretary of the QWHA. 

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