Dr Andrew Lemon AM FRHSV
Andrew Lemon has enjoyed a distinguished career as a professional historian, specialising in Australian social and cultural history in their British and colonial context. An accessible writer, he believes that the local and particular illuminate the big questions we ask about ourselves and our society.
A recent past president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Andrew was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to community history and the racing industry.
Andrew’s historical expertise goes far beyond racing. He has written innumerable articles and sixteen major books, winning literary prizes. His topics range from local history, schools and education to biography and Australia’s worst shipwreck. His Master Gardener (2018), longlisted for Sydney’s Nib Literary Award, explores the life of T.R. Garnett, headmaster, nature writer and creator of the renowned Garden of St Erth. Andrew’s degrees in History and English Literature were augmented by his 2004 Doctorate of Letters from the University of Melbourne recognising the body of his published work.
His three-volume social and political history of Australian thoroughbred racing, completed over two decades, is a monumental achievement. This work made Dr Lemon a key authority on racing, giving him unexpected insights into Australian cultural history, including the importance of regional difference. He collaborated during the 1980s as historian with Victoria’s State Artist, Harold Freedman and studio, creating the History of Racing Mural at Flemington Racecourse. He is a Melbourne Cup Tour ambassador for the Victoria Racing Club, travelling annually throughout Australia with the art deco gold trophy, speaking of its history. He has even slept with the Cup under his bed for safekeeping at country venues!
Andrew is a highly skilled public speaker, in demand from radio stations, historical societies, U3A and community groups. As well as being a professional historian, he is a volunteer par excellence. In the 1970s he helped create a professional body for archivists, editing its journal. He helped inaugurate the History Institute, Victoria, was president of the Friends of the State Library, and served on the Board of the State Library of Victoria and on the Heritage Council, Victoria.
Andrew edited the Victorian Historical Journal for a decade. He continues his work for the RHSV by devising the events programme and acting as MC at its monthly meetings. His latest work, a historical novel The Pebbled Beach at Pentecost was published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in Melbourne in 2021.
Literary and Historical Awards
- 2018 Mark and Yvette Moran Nib Literary Award, NSW longlisted for The Master Gardener. Hardie Grant Books.
- 2012 John H. Daniels Research Fellow, National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, Virginia USA.
- 2009 Australian Society for Sports History Biennial Book Prize (equal) for The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, volume 3: In Our Time. Hardie Grant, Melbourne.
- 2005 New South Wales Premier’s History Awards: Community History Prize shortlisted for A Great Australian School: Wesley College Examined, Helicon Press NSW
- 1986 Fellowship of Australian Writers Wilke Prize (co-author Marjorie Morgan, text by Andrew Lemon) for Pour Souls, They Perished: The Cataraqui – Australia’s Worst Shipwreck. Hargreen, Melbourne (new editions 1995, 2014)
- 1984 Fellowship of Australian Writers Local History Prize (equal) for The Northcote Side of the River, Hargreen, Melbourne
- 1983 Fellowship of Australian Writers Local History Prize for Broadmeadows, Hargreen, Melbourne 1979 University of Melbourne Dennis-Wettenhall Prize for best postgraduate thesis in history, published
Offices Held include:
- 2009–13: President, Royal Historical Society of Victoria
- 1994–97: President, Friends of the State Library of Victoria
- 1995–2003: Board Member, State Library of Victoria
- 1996–2003: Member, Heritage Council, Victoria (chair of Registrations Committee 2000–03)
- 1978 Box Hill, Lothian
- 1982 as The Young Man From Home, Melbourne University Press
- 1982 The Young Man From Home: James Balfour 1830-1913, Melbourne University Press
- 1982 Broadmeadows: A Forgotten History (reprinted 1999), Hargreen
- 1983 The Northcote Side of the River, Hargreen
- 1986 Poor Souls, They Perished: The Cataraqui, Australia’s Worst Shipwreck (with Marjorie Morgan), Hargreen; (second edition 1995, Australian Scholarly Press; third edition 2014, Burgewood Books)
- 1987 The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, volume 1: The Beginnings (Harold Freedman, artist) (new edition 2008, Hardie Grant)
- 1990 The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, volume 2: The Golden Years (Harold Freedman, artist) (new edition 2008, Hardie Grant)
- 1990 Buried by the Sea: A History of Williamstown Cemetery (with Marjorie Morgan), Rivka Franke & Associates (new edition with Helen Doyle 2005, Australian Scholarly Press)
- 1996 Success! The Charles Moore Story, Australian Scholarly Press
- 1999 The Pride of Miss McComas: 111 years of preparatory education at Geelong Grammar Glamorgan
- 2004 A Great Australian School: Wesley College Examined, Helicon Press
- 2008 The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing, volume 3: In Our Time (Harold Freedman et al, artists), Hardie Grant
- 2018 The Master Gardener: T.R. Garnett, Hardie Grant
Significant Contributions to Major Books
- 1987 Hatches, Matches and Dispatches: christening, bridal and mourning fashions (Rowena Clark, ed.) National Gallery of Victoria
- 1988 – present : Australian Dictionary of Biography (10 entries to date)
- 1994 The Oxford Companion to Australian Sport 1994 (and additional entries for expanded edition 1997) (Wray Vamplew et al., eds)
- 1999 They’re Racing: the complete story of Australian Racing (Garrie Hutchinson, ed.)
- 2005 The Encyclopedia of Melbourne (Andrew Brown-May and Shurlee Swain, eds) (many entries)
- 2007 Bundoora Park Homestead: The Smith Family Era 1899-1920 (Jacqueline Healy, ed.)
- 2010 The Story of the Melbourne Cup: Australia’s Greatest Race (Stephen Howell, ed.) (several major essays)
- 2015 Sport in Victoria (Dave Nadel and Graeme Ryan, eds) (many entries)
- 2016 Australian Book Collectors (Third Series) (Charles Stitz, ed.) (on Henry Gyles Turner)
- 2016 Judging for the People: a social history of the Supreme Court in Victoria 1841-2016 (Simon Smith, ed.), Allen and Unwin.
Archives and Manuscripts: the Journal of the Australian Society of Archivists The View (Arts, Science, Heritage): senior consultant and contributor Victorian Historical Journal (Royal Historical Society of Victoria).
Radio and Television
Numerous including contributions to The Track (ABC 2000) and Who Do You Think You Are (SBS, 2 episodes)