Ailsa Brackley du Bois

Ailsa Brackley du Bois

MA (Journalism), BA (Hons), Political History & Sociology, Cert. Tourism Mngt.

PhD Thesis Title

Spaces of Popular Theatrical Entertainment, Ballaarat Goldfields, Victoria, 1850s – 1880s

(Please note the double ‘aa’ in Ballaarat is intentional. This was the original 19th Century spelling of the Wuddawurrung word.)

Thesis Summary:

This interdisciplinary thesis appraises the historic socio-cultural role of popular theatrical entertainment, through the lens of spatial theory, using atmosphere as the point of emphasis.  These (now lost) spaces of Ballaarat East and West had profound relevance for the development of community-life in early Ballaarat. The spatial interactions and atmospherics of the period created a stardust effect which enabled the Goldfields to shine on in popular memory way beyond the initial era of global renown. Illuminating these material and intangible spaces as case studies enables an enhanced understanding of how important these spaces housing the popular stage were for Australian society as it evolved during mid-late Victoriana.

Start Date: February 2017


Associate Professor Cassandra Atherton

Associate Professor Katya Johanson


Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship (2017-)

Research Interests

  • Historiography of theatrical entertainment 1851-1911
  • Political sociology of the Victorian Goldfields 1851 -1911
  • Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings and streetscapes
  • Cultural heritage and the reinvention of cityscapes
  • Narrative non-fiction


‘Repairing the Disjointed Narrative of Ballarat’s Theatre Royal’M/C Journal, Vol 20, No 5 (2017)

Conference Papers

  • ‘The Wild West of Victorian Australia: Theatrical Entertainment & Interaction in 1850s Ballaarat’, ‘City, Space, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century Performance’ Conference, hosted by Warwick University at their Venice Campus, June 2018.


  • ‘Humble heritage and the fragile fabric of Ballarat East’, Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference, an International biannual conference hosted by ANU, Canberra, December 2014.


Contemporary Histories Research Group
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Ballarat Heritage Advisory Committee

International Council of Museums

Australian Historical Association

Ballarat Mechanics Institute
Theatre Heritage Australia
Her Majesty’s Ballarat
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Museums Australia
Writers Victoria


Media & Culture Journal


Ailsa Brackley du Bois is a professional non-fiction writer, researcher, educator and project manager with a Marketing Communications consultancy called The Editorial Suite. In 2016 Ailsa was the Artistic Director commissioned to deliver the 10th Anniversary Clunes Booktown Festival. Since 2014, Ailsa has coordinated and lectured undergraduate Marketing courses for the Business School at Federation University. Prior to this Ailsa had a 15-year career as a senior higher education publisher, with global publishing organisations.