CfA: Grant to do research at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre (NBAC), Canberra, Australia

Call for applications, deadline 31 March 2019

Eric Fry Labour History Research Grant


The Canberra Region Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (ASSLH) and the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University (ANU) invite students doing an honours or postgraduate thesis of at least 10,000 words to apply for a $1,000 grant to do research at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre (NBAC), based at ANU in Canberra.

The NBAC is the largest non-government archives in Australia, and holds an unrivalled collection of trade union and business records, along with the personal papers of many left wing and labour movement activists.

The Eric Fry Labour History Research Grant was established in 2004 to assist promising students with an interest in labour or social history to overcome the financial obstacles to doing research in Canberra. The grant honours the memory of Dr Eric Fry (1921-2007) who, together with Prof Robin Gollan (1917-2007), founded the ASSLH in 1961 and was its first Vice-President and journal editor.

One grant is awarded each year, for a lump sum of $1,000 to assist with fares to Canberra, accommodation and other research expenses. Students who reside in Canberra and the surrounding region are also eligible to apply.

To be eligible a student must:

  1. Be enrolled in an honours or postgraduate degree at an Australian university, or university in New Zealand, PNG, Timor L'Este or Fiji, in which one requirement is the production of a research thesis of at least 10,000 words.
  2. Intend to write their thesis in the broad areas of labour and social history or labour movement studies. Students need not be working within the discipline of history. Students of politics, international relations, sociology, Australian studies, economics, economic history, industrial relations, management, Pacific studies, cultural studies, museum studies, and other disciplines may also be eligible. It is the nature of the thesis project only that is relevant.
  3. Intend to use the resources of the NBAC as part of their research.
  4. Supply a written application with references from their intended academic supervisor, and one other academic with personal knowledge of the student. These references must, inter alia, attest to the nature of the proposed research program, the need to use the resources of the NBAC and the ability of the student to complete the proposed thesis to a high standard and on time.

The criteria for the grant (in order of importance) will be:

1. The relevance of the project for the discipline of labour history.

2. The degree to which the resources of the NBAC are relevant to the proposed thesis.

3. The academic capabilities of the student, as reflected in university results, academic references and other evidence supplied.

4. The degree to which the grant may assist the student to do their research in Canberra.


The successful applicant is requested to acknowledge receipt of the grant in their thesis and to supply a copy of their finished thesis to the NBAC and the ASSLH.


Applications should be in the form of a letter or email addressing the above criteria, along with copies of all relevant documentary evidence.

Applications for the grant close on 31 March each year and the grant is awarded in April. The decision will be made by a panel of three, consisting of a representative of the NBAC, the ANU Australian Studies Institute and the ASSLH. The panel reserves the right not to award the grant in any year. No correspondence will be entered into.

Applications should be addressed to:

Eric Fry Labour History Research Grant
Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
LPO Box 8043
Australian National University ACT 0200

Inquiries can be directed to:

Peter Ellett, ASSLH, tel 02 6278 5307, email

Paul Pickering, ANU, tel 02 6125 3451, email
Kathryn Dan, NBAC, tel 02 6125 9602, email