Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

Maddern, Philippa Catherine (1952 - 2014)



Philippa Catherine Maddern died at the height of her scholarly career. From her early studies at the University of Melbourne her academic work was in medieval English history, with a steady focus on women and everyday life, and she took her research well beyond the ivory towers. She gave extension courses, wrote for the newspapers and in the words of one obituary, 'enthralled everyone with her tales from the past, even the nursing staff in hospital.'[1]

Pip Maddern was born in Wodonga, the daughter of Ivan Maddern, principal of Morwell High School and his wife Elsie, described by friends as a 'woman of great empathy, strength and energy, with a wicked sense of fun. In different circumstances she could have run the country'.[2] She shared her family's musical talents, singing during her University years with the Queen's College choir and later studying the violin.

Having graduated from Melbourne Pip Maddern took her DPhil at Oxford in 1985 with a thesis published as Violence and Social Order: East Anglia 1422-1442.[3] Returning to Melbourne in 1986, she took up a position at the University of Western Australia in 1989. There she became a much-admired lecturer and public speaker on medieval history as well as a teacher of English to newly-arrived migrants and mentor to students and young friends. She published widely in scholarly journals, notably Parergon and co-edited several monographs.

In 2009 she became Winthrop Professor of History, a position introduced as part of a new academic career structure for UWA and defined as one career step above that of Professor. In 2011 she became the foundation Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for History of Emotions. The Centre investigates how European societies thought, felt and functioned from 1100 to 1800 and the impact those changes have on life in Australia today. It is based at the universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Western Australia with activities ranging from conferences and exhibitions to performances of Baroque music.

The Centre noted that she led an innovative program of research with a major transformative impact on the field through a strongly interdisciplinary approach.[4] She was frequently heard on the ABC, for example, in 2012, in a broadcast entitled 'What, Can't I Stand Here? History of Emotions, Europe 1100 to 1800'.[5]

[1] Charles Zika & Susan Broomhall. 'Philippa (Pip) Maddern (1952-2014)'. Australian Historical Studies. v. 45 no. 3(2014): 450-451.

[2] Matthew Champion & Michael Champion. 'Remembering Pip'. University of Western Australia. University News. July 2014.

[3] Philippa C. Maddern. Violence and Social Order: East Anglia 1422-1442. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

[4] Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions. 'Memorial Page for Founding Director Philippa Maddern'.

[5] Encounter, broadcast Saturday 18 August 2012.

Sources used to compile this entry: Flesch, Juliet, 40 Years 40 Women: Biographies of University of Melbourne Women, Published to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the International Year of Women, The University of Melbourne Library, 2015;

This entry is reproduced in its entirety from 40 Years 40 Women: Biographies of University of Melbourne Women with permission of Juliet Flesch and The University of Melbourne Library. Copyright remains with the author and the University of Melbourne, 2015.

Juliet Flesch

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124