Tribute to Dr Diane Menghetti

May 22, 1940 – June 18, 2012

In the 1970s, Diane Menghetti decided to complete her education in her thirties after a career as a nurse working in Papua New Guinea, Northern Australia and elsewhere. She was one of the first mature age students to be accepted at James Cook University at the time, and was awarded a University Medal.  In 1980 Diane Menghetti graduated with First Class Honours in History, a University Medal and the Jean Farnfield Prize in Australian History.

In 1984 Diane Menghetti was awarded her doctorate in history at James Cook University for work on the social history of Charters Towers.  The Ph.D. thesis, which integrated oral history with historical photographs of the town, was published by James Cook University History Department in 1989 under the title, I Remember: Memories of Charters Towers.

From 1988 Diane Menghetti worked as a history lecturer at James Cook University, becoming the Head of the Discipline of History (formerly head of the School of History and Politics) from 1997-1999. In the school she researched and taught Australian History (especially mining history) and Queensland Cultural Heritage.  Among her other academic responsibilities was the James Cook University’s North Queensland Photographic Collection and the North Queensland Oral History Project from the 1980s.

During her academic career Diane Menghetti taught at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, where she introduced the discipline of history to their Australian Studies Unit (1988-1996); and in the Australian Studies Unit at the University of Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby (1988).

Reaching the academic level of Associate Professor of History (1997-2003), Diane Menghetti was appointed to the position of Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Science at James Cook University, in 2001 and 2002.

On retirement in 2003 she continued in an adjunct position at James Cook University, and worked as a Consultant Historian and Heritage Assessor. Diane Menghetti was made a Life Member of the National Tertiary Education Union in recognition of her service to the Union.

Diane Menghetti was a significant link between many history and heritage organisations in Queensland. She was a member of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland since July 1988, and was well-known to our organisation as a member of Committee of Management, Professional Historians Association (Queensland) Incorporated (2000-2006).

Dr. Menghetti served on the Queensland Heritage Council (Deputy Chair, 2002), the Executive Committee of the National Trust of Queensland (Chair, 2006-2007), and the Executive Committee of the Australian Mining History Association (1994-2008). She was Honorary Fellow of the Queensland Museum (2000-2003) and Vice-President (2000-2007) and President (2007-2008) of the Townsville Museum & Historical Society.

Dr Menghetti was the Director, Australian Council of National Trusts (2006-2007) and the Expert Assessor (Heritage) to Queensland Government (2003-2008).

Diane Menghetti  provided an editorial capacity for a number of organisations, including  on the Board of Institute of International Affairs, North Queensland Branch (1989 and 1997-2003), the Editorial Board of Clionet (1993-2003, later Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History), and as the Editor of the Professional Historians Association (Qld) Newsletter from 2003 to 2006.

Her history work included nine books, more than seventy journal & review articles and papers presented at conferences in Australia, Italy, Mexico, and the United States; as well as some heritage journalism.  Among her major history publications are: The Red North, a history of radical politics in north Queensland during the depression of the 1930s; Blair Athol: the Life and Death of a Town, developed from a four years project to locate, collect and store all available materials pertaining to the now-defunct mining town of Blair Athol and included the collection of a significant amount of oral testimony; Ravenswood: Five Heritage Trails, a guide book based on extensive research of the mining history of Ravenswood and the compiling a set of heritage trails for tourists visiting that town.


Diane Menghetti , Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae, 2008

Brewer Funeral Tributes, at, retrieved on 27 June 2012.

Thanks to the assistance of Ruth Kerr, Carmel Black, Jan Wegner, Val Dennis, Judy Nissen, Jeff Hopkins-Weise, Helen Bennett, Fiona Gardiner, and Anna Morrison, for providing information on the life and career of Dr. Diane Menghetti.