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Cathie is a leading Western Australian historian, heritage consultant and researcher who is committed to the recording and preservation of Western Australia’s history, particularly that of the Kimberley region. In 1992 she was awarded a Doctorate from Murdoch University with her meticulously researched and ground-breaking thesis Australia’s North-west: a study of exploration, land policy and land acquisition, 1644-1884. In the process of her research, she consulted, used and contributed materials to collections held in the State Records Office and the State Library of Western Australia’s Battye Library. Cathie has been an advocate and a supporter of both institutions for many years.

In 1989 Cathie was the key figure in the formation of the Professional Historians Association of Western Australia and was the Association’s inaugural Chairperson. In her work for this Association, she guided the development and introduction of national accreditation standards for professional historians. She played a major part in the formation of the Australian Council of Professional Historians Associations and remains the WA Representative to it.

Cathie was the founding President of the Kimberley Society and was made a life member of that Society in 2004. She has a strong commitment to Indigenous history, was a long term member of the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee which advises the Minister for Indigenous Affairs on matters relating to Aboriginal heritage, and has provided expert evidence in native title cases. She has also been a member of the Heritage Council of Western Australia, and involved in many heritage projects in the Kimberley, even to the extent of raising conservation funds herself. In recognition of her work, Cathie won the Council’s Heritage Award in 2002.

For her “service to the community through the recording and preservation of the history and heritage of the Kimberley region”, Cathie was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2006.

Author of more than 30 books, articles and scholarly papers, Cathie edited a special edition of Studies in Western Australian History titled “Ethics and the Practice of History”, Number 26, which was published in 2010.

The Friends of the Battye Library (Inc.) would like to add to Cathie’s many honours and achievements and show our appreciation of her commitment and generosity by listing her as a Gem of Time.

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