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Templeton, Jacqueline Denise (1934 - 2000)

Academic and Historian


Jacqueline Denise Templeton spent almost fifty years in the Department of History at the University of Melbourne, although it was only towards the end of her career that she was able to devote as much time to research as many of her colleagues. She came to the University in 1952, taking her BA in 1956. Her initial focus was British history, but it was as a historian of Australia and Italian migration to Australia that she is best known and most affectionately remembered.

After several years in England and improving her Italian while teaching at Marymount International School in Rome and the British School of Milan, she returned to the University in 1965 as Senior Tutor. In 1968 she wrote the first scholarly history of a Victorian hospital, for the centenary of Prince Henry's. It was published in 1969, won several prizes and formed the basis of the MA she took in 1972.[1] The following year she published a study of the Melbourne Police Strike of 1923.[2] After spending two years on secondment to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as a consultant to the Hope Commission, she returned to tutoring in Australian history and was promoted to lecturer in 1984.[3]

From 1985 Jackie Templeton and John Lack taught a course on migration which led to two books.[4] Her own research concentrated increasingly on Italian emigration to Australia and work in Lombardy resulted in her collecting over 600 letters sent by Italians in Australia. These were deposited in the Museo Etnografico Tiranese and, in her translation formed the basis of a major scholarly work published in English and Italian shortly after her death. There is also a collection, made available through her colleague John Lack, in the Italian Historical Society Museum in Carlton, which includes originals and copies of documents: letters; photographs; personal travel documents; shipping records; and newspaper cuttings as well as the agent's register of Valtellinese migrants who sailed to Australia with Lloyd Triestino from January 28 to February 28 1970.

Jackie Templeton lived just long enough after retirement to complete her revision of the manuscripts. From the Mountains to the Bush: Italian migrants write home from Australia, 1860-1962 was published in 2003 and the Italian version appeared in two editions, the second including the text of the letters.[5]

[1] Jacqueline Templeton. Prince Henry's; the evolution of a Melbourne hospital, 1869-1969. Melbourne: Robertson & Mullens, 1969.

[2] Jacqueline Templeton. 'Rebel Guardians: The Melbourne Police Strike of 1923'. Australian Society for the Study of Labour History Journal. no. 24 (1973): 103-27.

[3] Australia. Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security. [Reports] Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1977-78.

[4] John Lack & Jacqueline Templeton (eds.) Sources of Australian Immigration History. Melbourne: History Dept, University of Melbourne, 1988; John Lack and Jacqueline Templeton. Bold Experiment: a documentary history of Australian immigration since 1945. Melbourne; New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

[5] Templeton, Jacqueline. Dalle Montagne al Bush: l'emigrazione valtellinese in Australia (1860-1960) nelle lettere degli emigranti. a cura di John Lack; traduzione di Paola Teresa Rossetti. 2a ed. con i testi delle lettere. Tirano: Museo etnografico tiranese, 2005.

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

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