Few people have made a greater contribution to excellence in Queensland history
as Dr Ruth Kerr has, and continues to, over a career spanning forty-five years.
In her teaching, research, publications and involvement with Queensland State
Archives, Queensland Parliamentary Library, a range of Queensland Government
Departments, the University of Queensland, the Royal Historical Society of
Queensland, the Australian Mining History Association, the Professional Historians
Association of Queensland and most of Queensland’s local historical associations
Dr Kerr has contributed diligently and generously to advancing our knowledge of
Author of thirteen books and a long list of articles and chapters, with a select list
of journal articles citing 99 articles, the volume of Dr Kerr’s publications is not the
most remarkable feature of her work. Nor is it that Ruth’s research and writing
encompasses all fields of history: public and private, professional and amateur,
academic and consulting, local and global. The remarkable feature of Ruth’s
prodigious publication history is that it is the product of her ongoing, passionate
and wide ranging historical interests which has moreover resulted in her mastery
of several quite diverse fields, particularly in mining, railways, pastoral, economic,
administrative and indigenous history. Her knowledge and understanding of
Queensland archival resources for historians is ‘unsurpassed’.
Dr Kerr’s generosity to other researchers is another of her acknowledged
personal and professional qualities. Ruth is ‘enormously helpful to anyone
researching Queensland’s history, using her vast knowledge to assist students,
professional and academic historians and the wider public.’ Such warm-spirited
cooperation is not always the norm among professional researchers.
Ruth has always understood the important contribution made to historical
knowledge by historians and amateur volunteers working in local communities.
She has provided exceptional encouragement and a lot of hard work in the field
of local history, both at the local community level and through the Royal Historical
Society of Queensland and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies. Ruth’s
extensive network of academic, community, state, regional and local history
contacts is a testament of her industry and generosity.
Dr Ruth Kerr is a most deserving and respected recipient of the 2013 John
Douglas Kerr Medal of Distinction. We, her colleagues and fellow students of
history, present this award as a tribute and witness of our esteem, and to
acknowledge Dr Ruth Kerr for her excellence in historiography, historical
research and writing in the context of Queensland History.