Welcome to my research web site. I am presently employed at the University of Wollongong, Australia, as Manager, Repository Services. I was the first Australian Greens Federal Member for Cunningham in the Australian House of Representatives, serving a term from 19 October 2002 to 9 October 2004. I live in Wollongong, located on the coast approximately 45 miles (80 kilometres) south of Sydney. The archived Michael Organ MP web site contains copies of all my parliamentary work – speeches, motions, questions to the government, etc. – plus media and press releases during 2002-2004 and is located at the National Library of Australia’s Pandora archive web site – entry no. 37942. A Web Archive version of my personal web site compiled between 1996-2002 is available at the following location: MO Web Archive site. It contains a large number of the images originally stored on that site, but not all.
This present Home Page provides links to my academic and research interests, specifically in the fields of Australian history, film studies (Metropolis 1927, movie posters), and Austrian history. The latter focuses on the round-the-world scientific expedition of the frigate Novara between 1857-9 and its visit to New South Wales in 1858, along with its role in the sea battle of Lissa 1866. Another ongoing area of interest is in the history of the Illawarra district of New South Wales, Australia, especially during the initial period of white settlement (1770-1850), and later (1815+) when a military stockade was in operation and my great-great-grandfather was a soldier on duty there between 1839-40.
The results of previous research work are contained in the attached copy of Publications and Reports, and letters to the editor. Broad subject areas accessible from this site include:
1. Australian Historical Studies
2. Aboriginal Studies
3. Film Studies
4. Austrian History & the Frigate Novara
6. Illawarra – Local and Community
9. University of Wollongong
1. Australian Historical Studies
The Scientific Discovery of the Koala 1803. An historical account of the scientific discovery of the Koala at Hat Hill (Mount Kembla), New South Wales, in 1803. A precursor to the 2008 book Koala – A Historical Biography.
Illawarra Chronology 1770-1855. A chronological listings of events within the Illawarra region during the first half century of European settlement. Arranged according to the following time periods: 1770-1829 | 1830-1835 | 1836-1855.
Count Paul Edmund de Strzelecki’s Illawarra Maps and Fossils. The Polish explorer and scientist P.E. de Strzelecki travelled overland from Sydney to Melbourne during 1839-40. His visit to the Illawarra district is shrouded in mystery, though maps and a collection of fossils record some of the details.
Allan Cunningham in Illawarra 1818 – 1830. Account of the famous English botanist’s numerous visits to the Illawarra region to collect specimens.
Trooper Frank Andrews (1880-1900) – An Australian Boer War Casualty. A brief article on Frank Andrews, an Illawarra resident who volunteered for service against the Boers of South Africa in 1899, and was subsequently killed in action the following year. Private Andrews, a member of “A” Company, New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, was the first Illawarra resident to die in that war.
The Battle of Bulli, 1887. An account of the conflict between striking coal miners and their families, and group of blacklegs and police which took place at Bulli, New South Wales, Australia, during January 1887. The ‘Battle’ was noteworthy for the role played by local women.
Old Bulli Railway Guest House 1887. Brief account of the history of the guest house and people associated with it. Also includes material relating to the campaign to save the building from demolition.
Bulli Tidal Rock Pool – Issues and Recommendations for Urgent Repairs and Improvements to restore water quality & enhance social amenity, 5 May 2009.
Hotels of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven 1828-1999. Preliminary listing of local hotels and breweries of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven districts of New South Wales. Compiled by the late A.P. Fleming, Michael Organ, and Mick R. Roberts.
John Skinner Prout at Broulee and Illawarra, 1841-44. Brief article plus catalogue of the works of the artist John Skinner Prout, in connection with his visits to Broulee and the Illawarra district of New South Wales during the years 1841 and 1843-4. NB: A number of images of individual works have not been loaded, pending copyright clearances from relevant institutions.
The Mystery of Alexander Harris: Incognito in Australia 1826 – 1840. Two-part article (Chapters 1-4 | Chapters 5+) which attempts to solve the mystery surrounding the English author Alexander Harris, who resided in Australia between approximately 1826 and 1840 and went on to write a number of important semi-fictional and autobiographical works describing life in the Colony at that time. Most famous of these is his Settlers and Convicts (London, 1847). Harris worked for a number of years in the Illawarra district of New South Wales, and it is this episode which may provide the necessary clues to revealing his local identity.
E.D. Nicolle – Australian Pioneer of Ice-making and Refrigeration. Article outlining the life and times of French-born engineer, Eugene Dominique Nicolle, who arrived in Australia in 1853. Nicolle is famous for his collaboration with T.S. Mort during the 1860s and 1870s in developing ice-making and refrigeration techniques for both domestic and export use. Compiled by Michael Organ and Fred Turnidge.
The Pioneer Kerosene Oil Shale Works at American Creek, Mount Kembla, New South Wales, 1865 – 1878. This was Australia’s first successful kerosene oil shale operation. A chronology and bibliography is provided.
The Story of the Illawarra Stockade – Stationed Military Regiments & Convict Discipline 1816-44. An account of military stockades and regiments which operated in the Illawarra district of New South Wales, Australia, between 1816-44.
Carl Weber – Pioneering Surveyor and Engineer. Article by Anne Wood on Carl Weber, plus listings of associated material from the Weber Collection (D174) in the University Archives and the holdings of the Wollongong City Reference Library.
Wollongong District Hospital & Albert Memorial Hospital – Old Photographs 1964-1984. A collection of photographs, extracted from annual reports and historical publications.
The Reverend W.B. Clarke – Bibliography plus Index to Correspondence. W.B. Clarke is often cited as “The father of Australian Geology”, having carried out researches in Australia between 1839-78. The bibliography and correspondence index are arranged chronologically.
‘The Garden of New South Wales’ – Landscape Art of the Illawarra, NSW. 1770-1980. A catalogue of works of art pertaining to the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia, with an emphasis on the nineteenth century.
The Life and Times of Captain Robert Marsh Westmacott. Captain Westmacott, son of the famous British sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott, served as Aid de Camp to Governor Sir Richard Bourke during his time in Australia in the 1830s, and later settled in the Illawarra district.