Staff Directory

Assoc Prof. Nell Musgrove Name: Assoc Prof. Nell Musgrove
Associate Professor
+613 9953 3208
Organisational Area
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Arts (VIC)
Building 412 - Arts Precinct(34-36 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065)-Level 1-Room412.1.15
Biographical Information

Associate Professor Nell Musgrove is an Australian historian with a particular interest in the field of child welfare history. Her research is particularly concerned with the human experiences of people whose lives have been shaped by their interactions with welfare systems, and with methodological questions about how historians can hear voices from the past, especially those whose perspectives are often obscured in the historical record. Her two major monographs - The Slow Evolution of Foster Care in Australia (2018) and The Scars Remain (2013) - examine child welfare policy and practice over the course of more than a century to highlight the ways in which successive generations have been harmed by systems which claimed to protect them, and the extent to which historical failures have been recognised and addressed.



Moruzi, Kristine, Nell Musgrove and Carla Pasco Leahy (eds.) Children's Voices from the Past: New Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Musgrove, Nell, and Deidre Michell.The Slow Evolution of Foster Care in Australia - Just Like a Family? London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Musgrove, Nell. The Scars Remain: A Long History of Forgotten Australians and Children's Institutions, Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013.

Davis, Fiona, Nell Musgrove and Judith Smart (eds.) Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in 20th Century Australia, Melbourne: University of Melbourne ePress, 2011.

Musgrove, Nell. Trains Trials and Triumphs: 50 Years of the Parish of St. Martin of Tours Rosanna. Melbourne: St. Martin of Tours Rosanna, 2006.


Articles, Book Chapters and Refereed Conference Papers 

Musgrove, Nell, Carla Pascoe Leahy and Kristine Moruzi. "Hearing Children's Voices: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges." In Children's Voices from the Past: New Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Kristine Moruzi, Nell Musgrove and Carla Pascoe Leahy, 1-25, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Musgrove, Nell. "Historical abuse in Australian child welfare: why did it happen and why does it matter?" History of Education 45, no. 4 (2016): 460-476.

Musgrove, Nell. "The Role and Importance of History." In Apologies and the Legacy of Institutional Child Abuse: International Perspectives, edited by Johanna Sköld and Shurlee Swain, 147-158. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Musgrove, Nell. "Locating Foster Care: Place And Space In Care Leavers' Childhood Memories". Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 8 no. 1, 2015 106-122.

Musgrove, Nell. "Imagining Foster Families." Journal of Australian Studies 38, no. 2, 2014, pp.175-189.

Shurlee Swain and Nell Musgrove. "Contained and Confined: Female Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century Australia" In Silent System: Forgotten Australians and the Institutionalisation of Women and Children, edited by Paul Ashton and Jacqueline Z. Wilson, 3-15. North Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2014.

Swain, Shurlee and Nell Musgrove, "We Are the Stories We Tell About Ourselves: Child Welfare records and the construction of identity amongst Australians who, as children, experienced out-of-home 'care'", Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 40, no. 1, March 2012, pp. 4-14.

Musgrove, Nell, and Naomi Wolfe. Takin' Care of Business: Collaboration, equity and respect for Indigenous culture in tertiary education. Paper presented at the A scholarly affair: Cultural Studies Association of Australasia 2010 national conference, Byron Bay, NSW, pp. 107-116.

Davis, Fiona, Nell Musgrove and Judith Smart. "Introduction." In Davis, Julie, Nell Musgrove and Judith Smart (eds.) Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in 20th Century Australia, Melbourne: University of Melbourne ePress, 2011.

Musgrove, Nell. "Teresa Wardell: Gender, Catholicism and Social Welfare in Melbourne." In Founders, Firsts and Feminists: Women Leaders in 20th Century Australia, edited by Fiona Davis, Nell Musgrove and Judith Smart, 130-48. Melbourne: University of Melbourne ePress, 2011.

Musgrove, Nell and Shurlee Swain.  "The 'best interests of the child': Historical perspectives."  Children Australia Vol.35, no. 2 (2010): 35-7.

Musgrove, Nell. "'Every time I think of baby I': dislocation and survival in Victoria&rsquos child welfare system." Australian Historical Studies Vol. 39, Issue 2 (2008): 213-28.

Grimshaw, Patricia, Nell Musgrove and Shurlee Swain. "The Australian Labour Movement and Working Mothers in the United Nations' Decade for Women, 1975-1985." Labour History, special edition, 2007, 137-52.

Musgrove, Nell. "Defining and Defying the Image of Camp Pell." Parity Vol. 19, Issue 2 (2006): 9-10.

Musgrove, Nell. "'Filthy' Homes and 'Fast' Women: Welfare Agencies' Moral Surveillance in Post-Second World War Melbourne." Journal of Australian Studies, no. 80 (2004): 111-22.

Musgrove, Nell. "Private Homes, Public Scrutiny: Surveillance of 'the Family' in Post-War Melbourne, 1945-1965." History Australia 1, no. 1 (2003): 8-14.

Musgrove, Nell. "Secrecy and Social Work." Antithesis 1, (2003): 1-17.



Associate Professor Musgrove is a distinguished archival historian who has worked extensively with Australian colonial records. Her work is also characterised by collaborative research including the collection of oral histories, co-research with care-leavers and others directly impacted by the history under examination, and interdisciplinary work.

Research Supervision

Associate Professor Musgrove has experience supervising across a range of topics related to Australian history, child welfare history, gender history and Indigenous methodologies at Honours and postgraduate levels, and is an ACU accredited Higher Degree Research Supervisor.

Current students

Patricia Courtenay, PhD candidate, 'Aboriginal Spirituality in a Christian Context'.

Vicki Flack, PhD Candidate, 'Climate Change and Inhabitability: Sustaining a Meaningful Identity Following Loss of Place'.

Marlya Kerry, PhD Candidate, 'Fancy and Plain: Sewing and needlework production and exhibition by Australian women, 1890-1939'.

Kim Eberhard, PhD Candidate, 'Held to Account: Record Keeping in the Public Sector'.

Adrien McCrory, PhD Candidate, 'Transgender Australians and their Interactions with the Justice System in 20th-Century Australia'.


Completed Students

Sharron Lane, PhD, 'The significance of individual contributions in the history of Kildonan UnitingCare', (2019).

Paul Chalkley, MPhil, 'Concepts of caring for young people in residential care in Victoria', (2019).

Lily Do, BA (Hons), 'Prefacing the Sexual Revolution with a Bang: Reconsidering the Historiography of Female Sexuality, 1945-1960s Australia', (2016).

Amy Cumper, BA (Hons), 'ANZAC and Vimy Side by Side: A Study of National Mythologies in Australia and Canada', (2011).

Professional Memberships

Victorian Representative:

  • Australian Women's History Network - part of the International Federation for Research in Women's History.


Committee Member:

  • Committee member International Network on Studies of Inquiries into Child Abuse, Politics of Apology and Historical Representations of Children in Out-of home Care


  • Australian Historical Association
  • Society for the History of Children and Youth

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