ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Bruce Pennay

Associate Professor Bruce Pennay

A/Prof Bruce Pennay's interests focus on two broad topic areas: the cultural heritage of the NSW/ Victorian border region; and post-war immigration history and heritage with particular reference to Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre in Wodonga.

He is a Trove enthusiast.

Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney, 1958

Master of Arts, University of Sydney, 1968

Master of Arts (Honours), Macquarie University, 1974

Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 1993

Doctor of Arts (honoris causa), Charles Sturt University, 2019


In 2001 Bruce Pennay was awarded a Centenary Medal 'for service to the Centenary of Australia celebrations'. In 2005 he was made a life member of the History Council of New South Wales. In 2009 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia 'for service to the community of the Albury Wodonga region, particularly through the establishment of the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre Heritage Park'. In 2009 the History Council of New South Wales awarded him the Annual History Citation 'in recognition of his contribution as a historian and practising heritage consultant, in particular his service to heritage and community history in regional New South Wales and Victoria'. In 2009 he was honoured with a Fellowship of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies for 'making an exceptional contribution to the understanding, preservation and promotion of Australian history through the historical society movement'.

In 2019 he was awarded a Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) by Charles Sturt University for his contributions to the Albury-Wodonga area.

Peer Reviewed papers

Pennay, B., (2020). Living with Hume Dam, 1919-2019. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 106(2), 194-210.

Pennay, B., (2019) Imagining School at Benalla’s Migrant Camp, Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 90 (1), June 2019.

Pennay, B., (2017) Remembering Benalla Migrant Camp’, The History of the Family, vol. 22 (4), 2017.

Pennay, B., (2016) Wodonga's Bonegilla Victorian Historical Journal 87 (1) June 2016.

Pennay, B., (2015) Imagining Albury-Wodonga, Historic Environment, 27 (1) 2015

Pennay, B., (2012) "But no one can say he was hungry": Memories and representations of Bonegilla, History Australia 9 (1) April 2012.

Pennay, B., (2010) Selling Immigration: Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre, Victorian Historical Journal 81 (1) June 2010.

Pennay, B., (2008) Framing Block 19 Bonegilla for Tourists and Local Visitors', Historic Environment 21 (3) October 2008.

Books (Immigration History)

Picturing and Re-picturing Bonegilla, Wodonga City Council, 2016.

Benalla Migrant Camp: A Difficult Heritage, Benalla Migrant Camp Inc.  2015

Sharing Bonegilla Stories, Albury Library Museum 2012.

Albury-Wodonga's Bonegilla, Albury Regional Museum, 2001.

Books and Websites (Regional History)

Online exhibition: 'The impact of the war on Wodonga and its surrounds', 2020. 2020. This exhibition was supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council as part of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two Grant Program.

The Experiment: Imagining the Albury-Wodonga National Growth Centre, Albury Library Museum, 2013.

Making a City in the Country, University of NSW Press, 2006.

Three Shires and Their Councils Triple D Books, 2006.

From Colonial to State Border, 2001, Charles Sturt University. 'Picturing assimilation in Post-war Australia',Australian Historical Studies, 44 (1) March 2013.

Bruce is pursuing a number of self-funded and community heritage funded projects.

In 2019 he organised a mini-conference on ‘Living with Lake Hume 1919-2019’, which attracted 200 participants.

Between 2017 and 2020 he conducted with the local historical societies a project involving the extension of the range of years in which there is at least one Albury Wodonga border district newspaper on Trove. By the end of 2020 gaps were filled with Albury Banner 1864-1895 and Border Morning Mail 1938-1951.  This cost over $120 000, raised by winning 7 competitive grants and by community donations.

He has authored three sets of online learning and teaching materials which encourage students to answer the question ‘how do we know?’ by directly accessing records on Trove or at the National Archives of Australia

  • ‘Fighting the battle of ideas about conscription, The Albury Wodonga District during the Great War’

  • ‘Investigating Bonegilla, a virtual site study’ (co-authored with Paul Grover)

  • ‘The impact of the Second World War on Wodonga and its Surrounds’ with Wodonga Historical Society