Dr Meg Foster

Outgoing Mary Bateson Research Fellow, Newnham College
Incoming Chancellor's Research Fellow, University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Meg Foster (FRHistS) is an award-winning historian of banditry, settler colonial and public history.

Please note: Meg has left Cambridge and is commencing a post as Chancellor's Research Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney, in 2024. To contact her, please use the email above. 

Meg's current research project explores the connection between British highway robbery and Australian bushranging. She is an intersectional historian who has experience working across race, class and gender histories as well as imperial, colonial, ethnographic and public histories.

Meg has published widely, contributing articles to Law and History ReviewRethinking History and Public History Review as well as Australian Historical Studies, where her most recent piece won the Aboriginal History Award from the History Council of New South Wales. Meg has also contributed book chapters to publications by Routledge, Bloomsbury Academic and Australian Scholarly Publishing. Combined with reviews, newspaper articles, blog posts, tv, radio and artistic collaborations, Meg has a breadth of experience engaging academic and public audiences, and a passion for making connections between history and the contemporary world. 

Her first book, Boundary Crossers: the hidden history of Australia's other bushrangers, was published with NewSouth (University of New South Wales Press) in 2022. The following year, Meg was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of her contribution to History.


Boundary Crossers: the hidden history of Australia's other bushrangers (Sydney: NewSouth/University of New South Wales Press, 2022). (longlisted for the British Academy Book Prize in Global Cultural Understanding and the Davitt Award in Non-Fiction Crime Writing).

Journal Articles

‘Protecting the Colony from its People: bushranging, vagrancy and social control in colonial New South Wales’, Law and History Review vol. 40, no. 4 (2022), pp. 655-677.

with Toni Burton, Mark Finnane, Carolyn Fraser, Peter Hobbins and Hollie Pich, ‘A History of Now: historical responses to COVID-19’, Public History Review vol. 27 (2020), pp. 86-115.

‘The Forgotten War of 1900: Jimmy Governor and the Aboriginal People of Wollar’, Australian Historical Studies vol. 50, no. 3 (2019), pp. 1-16 (winner of the 2018 Aboriginal History Award from the History Council of NSW).

‘Drawing the Historian Back into History: creativity, writing and The Art of Time Travel’, Rethinking History, vol. 22, no. 1 (2018), pp. 137-153.

‘Online and Plugged In? Public History and Historians in the Digital Age,’ Public History Review, vol. 21 (2014), pp. 1-19 (winner of the Deen De Bortoli Award in Applied History, 2015). Republished in 2018 for Public History: A National Journal of Public History (China) 公众史学.

Book Chapters

'The Other Bushrangers’, in Nancy Cushing (ed.), A History of Crime in Australia: Australian Underworlds (London: Routledge, 2022), pp. 98-99.

‘Unprecedented Times?: COVID-19 and the lessons of history’, in Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton (eds.), The Australian History Industry (Sydney: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2022), pp. 226-239.

‘Approaching Public History’ in Paul Ashton and Alex Trapeznik (eds.), What is Public History Globally? working with the past in the present (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), pp. 159-172.

‘Murder for White Consumption? Jimmy Governor and the bush ballad’ in Yu-ting Huang and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower (eds.), Archiving Settler Colonialism: culture, race, and space (Oxon: Routledge, 2018), pp. 173-189.

with Paul Ashton, ‘Public Histories’ in Sasha Handley, Rohan McWilliam and Lucy Noakes (eds.), New Directions in Social and Cultural History (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), pp. 151-170.

Review Articles

'Lachlan Strahan uncovers the trials and privations of the colonial police through the life of his Kelly-hunting ancestor', History Australia vol. 20, no. 4 (2023).

Pathfinders: a history of Aboriginal trackers in New South Wales by Michael Bennett’, Aboriginal History vol. 43 (2020).

‘Texture, Light and Sound: a sensory history of early Sydney’, Australian Historical Studies vol. 51, no. 3 (2020), pp. 344-347.

‘Another Way to Enter the Past’, History Australia, vol. 13, no. 4 (2016), pp. 632-633.

The Public History Reader edited by Hilda Kean and Paul Martin’, Public History Review, vol. 21 (2014), pp. 102-104.

Public-Oriented Publications

‘From the Ground Up: settler colonial sources of legal history’, The Docket: blog of Law and History Review (15 May 2023), available at: https://lawandhistoryreview.org/article/dr-meg-foster-from-the-ground-up-settler-colonial-sources-of-legal-history/

‘William Douglas: the infamous bushranger’, BBC History Magazine (April 2023), pp. 42-44.

‘The Comfort of Things Past’, Meanjin (Autumn, 2023), pp. 74-81.

‘The Bushrangers We Forgot’, History: The Magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society, no. 151 (March 2022), pp. 6-8.

‘On Time: reflections on temporality and COVID-19’, Overland Literary Journal (9 November 2021),  available at: https://overland.org.au/2021/11/on-time-reflections-on-temporality-and-covid-19/

‘“The Whole Picture: the colonial story of the art in our museums and why we need to talk about it” by Alice Procter’, Australian Book Review no. 422 (June-July 2020), available at: https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/abr-online/current-issue/818-arts/6524-meg-foster-reviews-the-whole-picture-the-colonial-story-of-the-art-in-our-museums-and-why-we-need-to-talk-about-it-by-alice-procter

'Bugg, Mary Ann (1835-1905)’, People Australia: Australian Centre of National Biography, 2019, available at: http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/bugg-mary-ann-29654

‘Inclusive Pedagogy at the Modern British Studies Conference, University of Birmingham, 3-5 July 2019’, Cambridge Gender and Sexuality History Workshop Blog, 2 August 2019, available at: https://genderandsexualityhistory.news.blog/2019/08/02/inclusive-pedagogy-at-the-modern-british-studies-conference-university-of-birmingham-3-5-july-2019/

‘How “The Captain’s Lady” Created Her Own Legend’, Inside Story, 8 March 2019, available at: https://insidestory.org.au/how-the-captains-lady-created-her-own-legend/

‘Counternarratives of Empire and the Oceania Exhibition’, History Workshop Online, 25 February 2019, available at: http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/counter-narratives-of-empire-and-the-oceania-exhibition/

with Jason Phu, ‘The Artist, the Historian and the Case of the Chinese Bushranger’, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), 7 November 2018, available at: https://www.mca.com.au/stories-and-ideas/artist-historian-and-case-chinese-bushranger/

‘A closer look into the life of Australian bushranger, William Douglas’, News from the Menzies Centre, King’s College London, 7 March 2018, available at: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahri/centres/menzies/news/News.aspx

‘Heroes, Identity and the Realm of History’, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, 14 March 2018, available at: https://jhiblog.org/2018/03/14/heroes-identity-and-the-realm-of-history/

On Screen

On screen historian and consultant for the educational video series, Bushrangers: 100 years of Australian history. Created by and aired on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Accessible via: https://www.abc.net.au/education/digibooks/bushrangers/102761206

Guest on the news and current affairs program, The Drum. Aired on ABC on 1 November 2022.  Accessible via: https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NC2207H197S00 (segment begins at the 38 minute mark).

On screen historian and consultant for the documentary Our African Roots. Chemical Media. Aired on SBS (Special Broadcasting Corporation, Australia) in October 2021.

‘Who Were Australian Bushrangers and Why Do They Matter?’, Research Pop-Ups, Newnham College. Accessible via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-H9j6Kdyzs   

On Screen Historian and Consultant for ‘Episode 2: Malcolm Turnbull’, Who Do You Think You Are? Series 12. Warner Bros. Aired on SBS on 15 June 2021.

On Screen Historian and Consultant for ‘Episode 5: Justine Clark’, Who Do You Think You Are? Series 9. Warner Bros. Aired on SBS on 15 May 2018.

Podcasts and Radio

'Mary Ann Bugg (with Meg Foster author of Boundary Crossers: the hidden history of Australia's other bushrangers'), Vulgar History Podcast, 15 November 2023, available via: https://open.spotify.com/episode/43t9n6WVvPZbtwqYxHid8F?si=397e937d8c804d9e

‘The Myth of the Bushranger’, ABC Radio Nightlife, 11 August 2023, available via: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/nightlife/102685914

‘Nightlife History: Boundary Crossers’, ABC Radio Nightlife, 6 June 2023, available via: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/nightlife-history-boundary-crossers/102447822

‘Who Were Australian Bushrangers?’, BBC History Extra, 23 May 2023, available via: https://www.historyextra.com/period/general-history/who-were-australian-bushrangers/

‘‘Black Douglas’: a not so dastardly bushranger?’, BBC History Extra Podcast, 13 April 2023, available via: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6RhNqGGL3UF6TmID4xOFvs?si=zF2NP30aRSGigu5sXEYV9Q

‘Emigration’, BBC Radio3 Free Thinking, 9 March 2023, available via: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001jln7

‘Behind the Mask of the Australian Bushranger’, The Briefing Podcast, 3 January 2023, available via: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0gYPqtFsuUrKYHorZGwOh7?si=04a8bfd1eb994272

Guest on ‘Uncommon Sense with Amy Mullins’, Triple R Radio, 13 December 2022, available via: https://www.rrr.org.au/explore/programs/uncommon-sense/episodes/22997-uncommon-sense-13-december-2022 (segment starts at the 26 minute, 25 second mark).

Guest on ‘Mornings with Suzanne Hill’, ABC Radio Sydney, 2 December 2022, available via: https://www.abc.net.au/sydney/programs/mornings/mornings/14111890 (segment begins at the 1 hour 1 minute mark).

Guest on ‘Evenings with David Astle’, ABC Radio Melbourne, 16 November 2022, available via: https://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/programs/evenings/evenings/14101492?utm_campaign=abc_radio_melbourne&utm_content=link&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_source=abc_radio_melbourne (segment begins at the 2 hour 7 minute mark).

‘Has History Erased a Bunch of Australian Bushrangers?’, ABC Sunday Extra, 30 October 2022, available via: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sundayextra/the-forgotten-bushrangers/101588574

‘Australian Bushrangers: folk heroes or common criminals?’, BBC History Extra Podcast, 26 July 2021, available via: https://www.historyextra.com/period/modern/australian-bushrangers-folk-heroes-common-criminals-podcast-meg-foster/