Lunch Hour Talks

About Lunch Hour Talks

A program of Lunch Hour Talks was instituted by the Library in 1995. The talks provide valuable publicity for the Library and a means of building on and connecting with its base of supporters. The talks are held at the City of Sydney Library, Customs House, Circular Quay, Sydney.

The talk itself usually runs from 12.15 until 1.00 with a short time for questions afterwards, but our audience usually arrives from 11.30 on to enjoy a chat, a sandwich and a tea or coffee. Everyone is welcome.

The cost is $16 for Library members and $22 for non-members. The cost includes a sandwich lunch. Payment can be made at the door. Please book by noon of the Monday before the talk by phoning the Library on (02) 9571 5359 or fill in the form on this page. A report on what lunch hour speakers had to say is published in the relevant Library newsletter. All newsletters from 2002 are on the website.

Upcoming talks

October 17 lunch hour talk

October 17 lunch hour talk

Speaker: Dr Michelle Arrow

Topic: The Seventies: the personal, the political and the making of modern Australia.

Date: Thursday 17 October

The 1970s were a tumultuous period of economic and political upheaval, reflected in ‘It’s Time’, stagflation and the Dismissal. In her latest book, award winning historian, Dr Michelle Arrow explores the 1970s era, when the personal became political, when the women’s movement and gay and lesbian rights activists tore down the boundary between public and private life and reshaped Australia’s culture.

Michelle is an Associate Professor in Modern History at Macquarie University where she teaches and researches post-war Australian history, the history of popular culture and the ways history is depicted in television and film.



Speaker: Dr Sue Taffe

Topic: Letters From The Desert: Mary Montgomerie Bennett

Date: 15 August 2019

An under-recognised path-breaker in the long, tortuous journey towards recognition of Indigenous Australians, Mary Montgomerie Bennett moved from London in 1927 to Western Australia to work with the Wongutha people, desert dwellers on the Eastern Goldfields. She corresponded and worked closely with Jessie Street who was a member of the London Anti-Slavery Society and Shirley Andrews of the Victorian Council for Aboriginal Rights, resulting in the establishment of a Royal Commission.

‘Letters Across the Desert’ is a Victorian Women’s Trust documentary film which captures the partnership between Mary and Shirley as they advocated for the rights of Indigenous Australians. Dr Sue Taffe, celebrated historian, is our lunch hour talk speaker and the author of  A White Hot Flame: Mary Montgomerie Bennett — Author, Educator, Activist for Indigenous Justice’.  Sue was extensively interviewed for ‘Letters Across the Desert’.