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Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

JCPML Historical Consultant - Emeritus Professor David Black AM

MA, Dip Ed, A.MUS.A., Hon DLitt (Curtin)

Contact Details
Phone: +618 9266 7032
Fax: +618 9266 4185
Email: d.black@curtin.edu.au
Postal Address: GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, 6845

Professor Black has a distinguished academic reputation within Western Australia, nationally and internationally, for his contributions to the study and teaching of history and politics.

Professor Black joined the Western Australian Institute of Technology as a lecturer in history and politics in 1968, in the very early days of the institution. At WAIT, later Curtin University of Technology, he went on to hold positions as senior lecturer, Head of School of Social Sciences, Associate Professor and Professor of History and Politics before his retirement in 2002. In these roles, Professor Black has been both an inspiration and a mentor to countless students, both undergraduate and post graduate.

Photo of David Black
Photograph of David Black
Courtesy of Community Newspaper Group

Professor Black's research interests centre around Australia's history and politics, with a particular focus on Western Australia's parliamentary scene. He has made, and continues to make, a very notable contribution to this field of knowledge. He has been author, joint author or editor of more than twenty books over the past thirty years, many of which have international significance, as well as being important within state and national contexts.

His publications include definitive works on the WA Parliament and its members, such as the two volume Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia (with Professor Geoffrey Bolton), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, House to House: the story of Western Australia's Government and Parliament Houses over 175 years (with Phillip Pendal), Making a Difference: Women in the Western Australian Parliament 1921-1999, (with Harry Phillips) and A mirror of the people: Members of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-2007 (co-authored with Phillip Pendal and Harry Phillips). These works provide core reference sources for scholars of Australian history and politics both within Australia and abroad.

Since 1984, Professor Black has been Chairperson of the Parliamentary History Advisory Committee in WA, responsible for the academic and financial oversight of the Parliamentary History Project of the WA Parliament. In 2004 he was appointed as a Parliamentary Fellow (History).

Appointed to the honorary position of Foundation Historical Consultant to the JCPML in 1998, Professor Black has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge about Prime Minister John Curtin since then, writing In His Own Words. The Speeches and Writings of John Curtin and Friendship is a Sheltering Tree: John Curtin's Letters 1907 to 1945, as well as co-authoring (with Lesley Wallace) John Curtin. Guide to Archives of Australia's Prime Ministers. These works are of value to scholars worldwide with an interest in John Curtin as a player on the world stage in the dark days of World War Two. The Guide to Archives won the Australian Society of Archivists' prestigious Mander Jones Award in 2004 'for the best finding aid to an archival collection held by an Australian institution or about Australia' and gained national and international recognition within the archival profession. It remains the core reference work for scholars researching John Curtin's prime ministership. In addition, Professor Black has researched and authored a number of works, including the 2006 publication The General and the Prime Minister: Douglas MacArthur and John Curtin which have been published on the JCPML website, enabling his works to reach larger and more diverse audiences world wide.

Professor Black is an unstinting supporter of the JCPML and its programs. Apart from providing advice to JCPML and Curtin staff, visitors and researchers on historical issues, he has helped to develop the five major exhibitions the JCPML has presented in the John Curtin Gallery.

In continuing his association with Curtin, Professor Black was first an Adjunct Professor with the Division of Humanities and then with the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy. The University awarded him the honours of Emeritus Professor and Honorary Doctorate of Letters in February 2008 in recognition of his significant commitment and contribution to Curtin, his profession and the community.

On the 26 January 2010, Professor Black was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia 'for service to education and to the social sciences, particularly through the promotion and preservation of the political and parliamentary history of Western Australia'.

Published Works as Author, Editor or Joint Editor

Twentieth Century Australia (with Barry Cohen, subsequently Principal Rossmoyne Senior High School), Carrolls (revised from Australia : A Topical History with the same co-author), 1976

Asian Quartet (with Barry Cohen), Angus and Robertson, 1976

Western Australian Elections and Politics 1965-1978: A Handbook and Guide (with Dr Michael Wood, subsequently Public Service Commissioner), WAIT Press, 1979

Values and Votes. The 1980 Western Australian State Election (with Dr Alan Peachment), WAIT Press, 1982

Index to Parliamentary Candidates in Western Australian Elections 1870-1989 , Parliament of Western Australia, 1989, revised and reprinted 1991

Legislative Council of Western Australia. Membership Register, Electoral Law and Statistics 1890-1989, Parliament of Western Australia, 1989, revised and reprinted 1991

Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume One 1870-1930 (with Professor Geoffrey Bolton), Parliament of Western Australia, 1990

Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume Two 1930-1990 (with Professor Bolton), Parliament of Western Australia, 1990

The Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook, Centenary Edition (joint editor with John Mandy), 1990; 19th Edition, 1997; 20th Edition, 2002

The House on the Hill A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990 (editor and author of several chapters), Parliament of Western Australia, 1991

Legislative Council of Western Australia. Election Results, Electoral Law and Membership Register 1870-1890 (with Professor Brian de Garis), Parliament of Western Australia, 1992

Ministerial Portfolio Listings-Western Australia: Including Official Office Holders 1832-1890 prior to Responsible Government, Parliament of Western Australia, 1992

Supplement to Western Australian Parliamentary Handbook Centenary Edition, Parliament of Western Australia, 1994

In His Own Words. The Speeches and Writings of John Curtin, Paradigm Books, 1995

Supplement to an Index of Parliamentary Candidates, Parliament of Western Australia, 1995

Women Parliamentarians in Australia 1921-1996. A register of women members of Commonwealth, State and Territory Parliaments in Australia, Parliament of Western Australia, 1996

Election Statistics Legislative Assembly 1890-1996, Parliament of Western Australia, 1996

Representing the People: Parliamentary Government in Western Australia, (with Harry Phillips et al), Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1998

Making a Difference. Women in the Western Australian Parliament 1921-1999, (with Harry Phillips), Parliament of Western Australia, 2000

Friendship is a Sheltering Tree: John Curtin's Letters 1907 to 1945, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, 2001

Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume Two 1930-2004 (with Professor Bolton), Parliament of Western Australia, 2004

House to House. The story of Western Australia's Government and Parliament Houses over 175 years (with Phillip Pendal), Parliament of Western Australia, 2004

John Curtin. Guide to Archives of Australia's Prime Ministers, (with Lesley Wallace), National Archives of Australia and John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, 2004

A mirror of the people: Members of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-2007 (with Phillip Pendal and Harry Phillips), Parliament of Western Australia, 2008