Other books:

Quality Community Care, a history of the Colac Hospital commissioned by Colac Area Health and published in 2003. Copies of this book can still be purchased from Colac Area Health on (03) 5232 5100.

The Road to Fromelles – One Australian family and World War 1 co-written with Andrew McIntosh. Published by the Colac & District Historical Society, 2010.

Articles published in refereed journals, including:

‘Salvaging community Pride: Colac and the Commonwealth Salvage Commission’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, no. 17, October 1990.

‘Death and community in a colonial settlement’, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Australia, vol. 88, part 2, December 2002.

‘Patriotism, politics and personalities: the 1899 referendum in a rural electorate’, The New Federalist, no. 4, December 1999.

‘Housing and the elderly: the experience of one group of elderly Victorians’, Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 68, no. 2, November 1997.

‘Towards a history of old age in Australia’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 32, no. 117, October 2001.

‘More than stones, snakes and sorrows: recollections of the Dreeite soldier settlement’, Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 76, no. 1, April 2005.

‘People empowered: the voters of Colac 1856-1857’, in Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 77 no. 2, November 2006.

‘Colac 1857: snapshot of a colonial settlement’, in Provenance, The Journal of the Public Records Office of Victoria, no. 7, 2008.

The local hall; an Australian story was co-winner of the Prahran Mechanics Institute Short History Award in 2014.

Articles of local interest have been printed in various publications in the Colac and Geelong region.


Dreeite: a soldier settlement after World War 1. Published in 2001 with a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Veteran’s Affairs. This publication sold nearly 1000 copies, attracting wide interest and leading to a large reunion of early Dreeite families.

The Local Hall – Nalangil. Published by the Colac & District Historical Society Inc., 2014.

Other work

An oral history project for the City of Colac, in which the recollections of former Mayors were recorded and transcribed, has proved useful to the council on several occasions.

Three years were spent as the C.E.W. Bean Memorial Scholar of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. During 1989-1992 many interviews were recorded which are now held in the Memorial’s sound archive. The Masters thesis, which derived from the study, shared the 1991 prize for the best thesis in Deakin University’s Arts Faculty and was commended for its research by Angus Calder and Arthur Marwick, two leading international scholars writing on issues of war and society. An extract from this work was incorporated in a Deakin University Study Guide. The thesis is available to read at Deakin University and the Corangamite Regional Library. A doctoral thesis, ‘Old Age in a New World: a Study of Old Age in an Australian Community Between 1857 and 1925’, was well received and also assessed by a scholar of international standing in the field. It can be read at Deakin, The Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Colac History Centre.

Both published research and academic work have subsequently been cited by other writers.

Dawn Peel is also a life member of the Colac and District Historical Society who works enthusiastically for local projects.