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



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’.



Topic: Careering into Corrections — from housewife to prison officer

Date: Thursday 20 June 2019

Suburban housewife and mother Cleo Lynch, midway through an Arts degree majoring in Medieval English, experienced a life-changing event leading to a career in the NSW prison system. She became the inaugural manager of the first pre-release community-based facility for women in this jurisdiction.

In her memoir, Cleo tracks her career in corrections from its catalysts, through its various stages and locations, until her retirement 16 years later.

Book your place today

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