Woman Frances, Raelene

Collie, Western Australia, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Rae Frances is a leader in the history profession, who has made a significant contribution to Australian social, cultural and economic history, particularly on issues related to gender and labour, prostitution, war and society, ethnic and religious issues.

Raelene Frances was born in Collie, Western Australia. She completed her secondary education at Collie Senior High School and was awarded a Commonwealth Secondary School Scholarship in 1971/1972. She graduated as school dux in 1972 and was also awarded the University of Western Australia Exhibition in History and a United Nations Association Dag Hammerskjold Travelling Scholarship. Frances graduated from the University of Western Australia (UWA) with a BA (Hons) in History in 1978. In 1980 she was awarded her MA from the UWA for her thesis Prostitution in Perth and Fremantle and on the Eastern Goldfields, 1895-1939 and in 1989 was awarded her PhD from Monash University for her thesis The Politics of Work: Case Studies of Three Victorian Industries, 1880-1939.

Between 1980 and 1986 Frances worked as a part-time tutor in the Department of History, the University of Melbourne, the School of Humanities, Deakin University, the Department of History, Monash University and the Department of History, the UWA. In 1985, while still completing her doctoral studies, Frances was appointed to a half-time Lectureship in the Department of History at the University of Melbourne. Two years later she took up a lectureship at Murdoch University (1987-1988) and from 1989 to 1991 was Lecturer, Department of History, Auckland University (1989-1991). In 1992 Frances was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of New South Wales where she was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor. During the earlier years of her career, between 1987 and 1999, Frances held shared appointments with her partner Bruce Scates. From 2006 to 2007 Frances served as Head, School of History, University of New South Wales, Sydney and was then appointed Dean, Faculty of Arts, Lead Dean for the Humanities Cluster of Faculties (Arts, Education and Art and Design) and Professor of History at Monash University.

Frances has published on the history of work, women's history, Aboriginal/European contact history, religious and community history and has also co-edited several collections of essays on Australian and New Zealand history. Her books include The Politics of Work, which won the Australian Historical Association's Hancock Prize, and Women and the Great War (co-authored with Bruce Scates), which was awarded the New South Wales Premier's History Prize. In 2007 she published a book-length history of prostitution in Australia, Selling Sex, which was short-listed for the Ernest Scott History Prize. She has been actively involved in the editing and refereeing of journals and is a Member Advisory Board of Studies in West Australian History (2007- ). She was an Editorial Adviser (1990-1991) and Associate Editor (1992-2007), Labour History.

Frances is involved in a number of professional associations including the European Australian Studies Association, the International Federation for Research in Women's History, the International Network of Australian Studies Associations and the New South Wales History Council. . She is a Member of the History Educators Network of Australia and was its inaugural treasurer (2001-2004). Frances is a member of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, and served on the Society's National Executive (2001-2002) and as the Society's President from 2003 until 2007. Since 2005, she has been a Member of the Executive, the International Social History Association (Amsterdam). She has also served on the Boards of the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (2007-2010), the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (2008-2010) and the Windermere Foundation for Children's and Sciences (2008-2010). In 1993 she was the New South Wales representative on the National Women's Committee of the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations. From 1997 to 1998 Frances was a Member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), NSW Division Women's Caucus. She was elected President of the UNSW Branch of the NTEU (1998-2000). From 2000 to 2004 she was a member of the Council of the University of New South Wales. She was a Member Board of Management of the Industrial Relations Research Centre, UNSW (2002-2007). Frances is a Member of the Australian Historical Association (AHA), serving on the Federal Executive (2002-2004) and as the Australian Historical Association representative on AHA/National Archives of Australia advisory committee (2002-2003). From 2001 to 2004, she served as Australian Historical Association representative on the Management Committee of the Federal Government's National Schools Centre, Melbourne. In 2011 she was elected President of the Indian Association for the Study of Australia (Eastern Region). In 2011 the Australian Department of Innovation, Science and Research Committee appointed Frances Chair of the Cultures and Communities Expert Working Group to prepare National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Roadmap. She has been a Council Member of the National Museum of Australia since 2010.

Frances was awarded an Edna Ryan Award for Services for improving conditions for Women Workers in 2000. In 2001 she was awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of New South Wales. In 2002 Frances won Commonwealth Government Australian Award for University Teaching for excellence in the humanities and the arts, with Bruce Scates. She is also a recipient of the Australian Intercultural Society Award for Excellence in Academia in promoting interfaith teaching, research and dialogue (2008). Frances received an Appreciation Award from Mayor of Bandung, Indonesia, for strengthening educational and cultural ties between Bandung and Australia in 2010. In 2011 she was appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Additional sources: • Correspondence with Rae Frances, April 2013.

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