How Exceptional is SA – Really?

Historians tend to be myth-busters when it comes to popular generalisations. When it comes to ‘South Australian exceptionalism’, however, few historians refute the state’s many achievements in social and political reform, including votes for women, anti-discrimination laws protecting the rights of First Nations and LGBTQIA+ people – even legalising nude bathing! In the final Talking History event for 2024 four panellists reflect on this impressive track-record before considering if South Australia can still claim to be ‘exceptional’ today? 

Chair: Dr Kiera Lindsey, South Australia’s History Advocate
Speakers: Prof. Christine Garnaut (University of South Australia), Professor Alan Reid (University of South Australia), Elizabeth Ho OAM. 

Date: 10 September 2024
Time: 5:45pm for a 6:00pm start 

The Talking History program is delivered in partnership with the University of South Australia.

Book Here




Christine Garnaut is Adjunct Associate Research Professor in Planning and Architectural History at the University of South Australia (UniSA). She is the immediate past president of the International Planning History Society (2018-22). From 2005 until her retirement in 2020 she was the inaugural director of UniSA’s Architecture Museum. Her research covers various aspects of South Australia’s planning and design history from the planning of the City of Adelaide to its suburbs, as well as towns and sites for special purposes in country and remote South Australia. She has a particular interest in the contemporary application of historical planning ideas and in the heritage of planning.    

Alan Reid is Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of South Australia. His research interests include educational policy, social justice and education, education and democracy, and the history and politics of public education. Alan has published widely in these areas, gives many talks and papers to professional groups, and has been a key figure in some significant policy developments in education at the state and national levels. One of his current projects is an investigation of the evolution of democracy in South Australia about which he is writing a book. It is also the focus of annual lectures he has been giving at the South Australian History Festival since 2021. He currently Chairs a group which is working towards developing and promoting a Charter for Democratic Renewal. 

Elizabeth Ho OAM is Chair of the History Trust of South Australia and her ‘history life’ has been embedded in State Library leadership roles, as inaugural Director of UniSA’s Bob Hawke PM Centre, as a member of the State Heritage Authority and via numerous publications and projects. Her career has involved governance of the Australian Migrant Resource Centre and application of multicultural policy through various programs. Driving the Jubilee 150 Education program, she helped an entire student generation to engage inclusively with SA’s past. Her history interest was kindled by teachers Mrs. Ida Kearney and Mrs. Nairne, and University of Adelaide academics Dr John Tregenza and Prof.Hugh Stretton. They taught her that to embrace history is to open our minds differently to the future, and without it, we are diminished.