Passion for history goes beyond business hours

Members of the Australian Heritage Specialists team are taking their appreciation for Brisbane heritage beyond the office, with staff regularly volunteering their time and expertise to take part in heritage awareness events and support organisations throughout the city.

AHS Historian and Heritage Consultant Dr Gemmia Burden and Archaeologist Owen Budd are both volunteering at this weekend’s Brisbane Open House, which celebrates Brisbane’s historic architecture, offering exclusive behind-the-scenes access to some of the oldest buildings in the city.

With an extensive background in history and an in-depth knowledge which has been recognised in academic journals, Dr Burden will volunteer at Old Bishopsbourne and Chapel of the Holy Spirit and Christ Church at Milton.

She will guide visitors through the 19th Century buildings, discussing history and interacting with other locals who share the same passion for their architectural antiquity and grandeur.

“The history behind these churches dates back to the mid-1800s and Brisbane Open House allows visitors the chance to experience their unique engineering and architecture, and to admire their significance for withstanding events like the Depression, major weather and the city’s development,” Dr Burden said.

“I am really looking forward to being involved to give the public a rare opportunity to discover the hidden wealth of history resting among the contemporary architecture of the city.”

Meanwhile, Mr Budd will be part of the 2/25th Infantry Battalion Re-enacted Group display at Fort Lytton on October 13-14, portraying the gun crew that served the twin QF 6 pounder which defended Brisbane during World War Two.

As the founder of the WW2 re-enactment group, Mr Budd also played an important role in a military re-enactment at the Brisbane River Maritime Museum on the night of the highly-anticipated 2018 Sunsuper Riverfire.

While aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Diamantina, Mr Budd donned a 2/25 Infantry uniform and immersed himself in the details of the historic operation for the 2/25th Infantry Battalion Re-enacted Group display.

“The re-enactment was a nod of respect to those manoeuvring the narrow spaces, steep stairs and tight bulkheads of the impressive 73-year-old vessel,” Mr Budd said.

“It’s a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made during World War II and it was great to see so many people stopping by to watch the operation play out as it would have so many years ago.”

For more information on the /25th Infantry Battalion Re-enacted Group, visit their Facebook page at

Dr Burden is also Executive Committee Member of the Australian Historical Association and Reviews Editor for Oral History Australia Journal.

She will be presenting three conference papers over the coming months:

  • November 10: Aboriginal serviceman at the end of WWI – Brisbane History Group Seminar, theme of ‘The Peace’, Brisbane.
  • December 3-5: Ethnographic Collecting and Making Coloniser Space in Queensland c.1880-1920, International Australian Studies Association (InASA) conference Unsettling Australia, at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • December 10-11: ‘A Typical Aboriginal Scene’: Colonial Museums as Archives, c.1862-1917’, University of Melbourne conference Colonialism and its Narratives, Melbourne.

Australian Heritage Specialists deliver a range of heritage services including heritage advice and assessments, heritage architecture, archaeology and Aboriginal heritage, and is a Corporate Sponsor of the biennial Bunya to the Bay Eco Adventure.