Shurlee Swain

Emeritus Professor Shurlee Swain

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2017
  • Section(s): History


Shurlee Swain is a leading historian specialising in Australian social history. Her research has focused on the interactions of women and children with welfare, religious and philanthropic organisations, resulting in studies of single mothers and their children, families, and workers in the child protection system, child removal both nationally and internationally, and the development and early years of the Family Court of Australia. She has been an active participant in several recent government inquiries and has played a key role in implementing recommendations as to the importance of documenting the history of child removal and out of home care. She was Chief Investigator on the Commonwealth Government funded ‘Find and Connect’ web resource, one of the largest online public history projects in Australia. Through this public engagement Professor Swain has developed relationships with historians working with, or on, comparable inquiries overseas and has used this network to explore innovative ideas around the writing of histories with and for victims and survivors.
Professor Swain was appointed a Member (AM) in the General Division of The Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours List for significant service to education, particularly through comparative social history, as an academic, author, and researcher, and to the community.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.