Meet AHS Senior Heritage Consultant and Historian, Julia Pritchard

Senior Heritage Consultant and Historian, Julia Pritchard, has been a key member of the AHS team since she joined the business in January 2018.

Julia’s primary role as the AHS Historian draws upon her background in research and her talent for synthesising multiple sources of information. Her experience in museological studies allows her to create outstanding Interpretation Strategies for our clients.

What are your main day-to-day functions?

I manage the Built Heritage / Non-Indigenous Heritage team alongside our Principal and Managing Director Benjamin Gall.

Our process typically begins by developing a proposal for the client then liaising with relevant stakeholders which can include the Department of Environment and Science, local government, architects, engineers, trades, and town planners.

I also compile the required research and reports, developing our strategies to protect and conserve significant heritage places or elements for our clients.

At AHS we place great importance upon peer-reviewing our work before reports are issued to clients so that is another of my responsibilities. I also assist and mentor our staff and support their professional development.

What are the key skills that make a successful Historian?

Connecting the dots correctly! This means being thorough and rigorous in my approach to sources and ensuring I have assessed every piece of the puzzle.

Reading large amounts of information then critically analysing the content and synthesising it into a concise report is a challenging task. Our reports must be easy for clients to understand, so I need to describe complex, technical information in an accessible way.

My academic background provided me with this skillset which is extremely valuable to my role at AHS.

Julia Piagno

Senior Heritage Consultant and Historian Julia Pritchard

As an AHS Historian do you see yourself as a storyteller?

Definitely. Some of our most enjoyable projects relate to heritage residences so it’s a lot of fun to uncover the stories of their previous owners and events.

I really enjoy revealing these characters and histories to our clients for the first time, there’s an element of Sherlock Holmes within every historian!

Our clients frequently require Interpretation Plans which can be rather like designing an exhibit but for an entire heritage building. We consider original ways to present information to the public, including augmented reality and virtual reality, so my background in museological studies is very useful.

Are site visits also an important part of your work?

Yes absolutely – it’s not possible to assess a heritage place until you have considered the remaining heritage fabric with your own eyes. This is especially important for buildings with little information in the historic record.

When assessing projects without floor plans or historic news items the AHS team relies on our knowledge of traditional construction techniques to correctly identify historic periods and understand the timeline of any extensions and alterations.

Which sites have you most enjoyed visiting for AHS?

The Old Museum Building in Bowen Hills is probably my favourite in Brisbane as it’s an extraordinary and beautiful site with a rich history.

I found Thursday Island to be truly spectacular with a wonderful, welcoming community. Site visits to Melbourne are another personal favourite as experiencing new restaurants are a perk of work travel!

Which hidden gems can you share from your research projects?

We recently completed a project in New Farm, Brisbane where I uncovered the fascinating history of a home’s original residents.

They were like a Great Gatsby for Brisbane, throwing ostentatious parties which were renowned within the city’s social circles.  The family even welcomed a magazine into their home to photograph their house and publish a detailed write-up, which indicates how prominent the family were.

This was a very rare find and a treasure trove of information for an historian.

Contact us

To discover how we may be able to assist on your next project, contact us today here or phone (07) 3221 0000. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn.