Dr Leigh Straw

Senior Lecturer in History

Email: leigh.straw@nd.edu.au
Phone: 9433 0926

  • Biography

    Dr Leigh Straw is the Deputy Head of the National School of Arts and Sciences. She is a Senior Lecturer in History and teaches across the History program, specialising in Australian history, modern U.S history and crime studies. Leigh is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works and was the 2018 joint winner of the Margaret Medcalf Award for Excellence in Research and Referencing using the State Archives Collection (this was for the book ‘After the War: Returned Servicemen and the Mental and Physical Scars of World War I’, published with UWA Publishing). She is the author of a number of true crime books including ‘Angel of Death: Dulcie Markham, Australia's most beautiful bad woman’ (ABC Books, 2019) and ‘Lillian Armfield’ (Hachette, 2018). Her book ‘The Worst Woman in Sydney: The Life and Crimes of Kate Leigh’ (NewSouth Books, 2016) was longlisted for an ABIA. Leigh has also featured on the ABC’s ‘Conversations’ and delivered the Geoffrey Bolton Memorial Lecture in 2020 (which was broadcast on ABC - Radio National).

  • Teaching areas

    • Aboriginal Studies
    • Australian Studies
    • Crime history
    • Early modern and modern European history
    • Modern American politics
  • Research expertise and supervision

    Leigh’s broad research areas cover Australian and Western Australian history, American political history, Australian crime history, immigration history and Australia's history of settler-Indigenous relations.

  • Books

    Non-Fiction works:

    • Straw, L. The Petticoat Parade: Madam Monnier and the Roe Street Brothels (Forthcoming, September 2021)
    • Straw, L. Angel of Death: Dulcie Markham, Australia's most beautiful bad woman (ABC Books/HarperCollins, 2019)
    • Straw, L. Lillian Armfield: How Australia's First Female Detective Took on Tilly Devine and the Razor Gangs and Changed the Face of the Force (Hachette Australia, 2018)
    • Straw, L. After the War: World War One and Returned Soldiers in Western Australia (UWA Publishing, 2017)
    • Straw, L. The Worst Woman in Sydney: The life and crimes of Sydney underworld figure, Kate Leigh (New South Books, 2016)
    • Straw, L. Drunks, Pests and Harlots: Criminal Women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939 (Humming Earth, 2013)
    • Straw, L. Wisdom in Words: Robert Kennedy’s Search for Meaning, 1963-1968 (Humming Earth, 2012)
    • Straw, L. A Semblance of Scotland: Scottish Identity in Colonial Western Australia (The Grimsay Press, Glasgow, 2006)

    Fictional works:

    • The Call (Kennedy & Boyd, 2016)
    • Limestone (Kennedy & Boyd, 2015)
    • Sophia Lane (Kennedy & Boyd, 2015)
  • Book chapters

    • Straw, L. 'A "ruined man"': Returned Servicemen in Western Australia' in Daniel Baldino and M. Brennan (eds), 1915: Australians at War and On the Homefront, Australian Army History Museum, Canberra, 2016
  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • ‘Celebrating Kate: The criminal-celebrity of Sydney Underworld figure, Kate Leigh’, Journal of Australian Studies, volume 40, March 2016.
    • ‘Outcast Women: Crime, Gender and the Politics of Respectability in Fremantle, 1900-1930’, Studies in Western Australian History (publication scheduled for 2016)
    • ‘Outcast Women: Women Offending the Good Order in Fremantle, 1900-1939’, Fremantle Studies: Journal of the Fremantle History Society (scheduled for publication in volume 9, 2015)
    • ‘The Worst Female Character: Criminal Underclass Women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939’, Journal of Australian Studies, vol 37, no. 2 (2013): 208-224.
    • ‘Landscapes of the Dead: Headstones and Scottish Identity in Colonial Tasmania’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. 14 (2012)
    • 'Scottishness in Colonial Western Australia: Individual Expressions of Identity' Early Days: Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, vol. 12, part 4 (2004).
    • ‘A Moray Scot in Colonial Western Australia: The life of John Adam as revealed through family records’, Journal of the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society, (November 2005)
    • 'Scottish Settlement and Identity in Western Australia, arrivals 1829-1850', Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. 4, no 2 (2002, published 2004)
  • Conference papers

    • ‘“I can’t stick this any longer”: Returned Servicemen and Suicide in Post-World War One Western Australia’, conference paper submitted for consideration for AHA Annual Conference, University of Sydney, July 2015.
    • ‘Empire’s Outcast Women: Crime, gender and the politics of respectability in Fremantle, 1900-1939’, Empire, Faith and Conflict, World Historical Association Conference, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, October 2013.
    • ‘Celebrating Kate: The criminal-celebrity of Sydney underworld figure, Kate Leigh’, Mobilities and Mobilisation in History, AHA Annual Conference, University of Wollongong, 8-12 July 2013.
  • In the media

    • ‘Freo way to go in Straw series’, West Australian, 14 July 2015.
    • ‘The Human Face of Boom and Bust’, The Weekend West, 31 August 2013 (full page story and review)
    • David Bell, ‘A History of Harlots’, Perth Voice, 14 September 2013.
  • Professional Affiliations

    Australian Historical Association

  • Awards

    Margaret Medcalf Award, 2018.