• CAHS new research fellow Dr Peter Hobbins at the Airways Museum. (Civil Aviation Historical Society)
    CAHS new research fellow Dr Peter Hobbins at the Airways Museum. (Civil Aviation Historical Society)

Dr Peter Hobbins of the Department of History, University of Sydney, has been appointed as a Research Fellow at the Civil Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) and Airways Museum.

On announcing the appointment on Monday, Civil Aviation Historical Society President Roger Meyer OAM said, “The CAHS archives are a collection of national importance and the position of Research Fellow recognises individuals conducting research into a specific topic in the history of civil aviation using the Society’s archives as a principal reference source.

"Dr Hobbins’ research project, Beyond the Void: Aviation Safety and Airspace in Twentieth-century Australia, will make a valuable contribution to the history of air safety in Australia.”

Dr Hobbins joins Dr Arun Chandu and Dr Leigh Edmonds as Research Fellows at the CAHS and Airways Museum. Dr Hobbins grew up in Airport West, and has loved aviation all of his life. He specialises in the history of science, technology and medicine, and has two books forthcoming: one on snakes in colonial Australia, the other on stories of ships, sailors, immigrants and disease at Sydney’s former quarantine station.

Dr Hobbins is also one of the convenors of the Aviation Cultures series of seminars, which have brought together academics, enthusiasts, curators and industry figures to discuss new ways of thinking about the cultural impact of flight.

Dr Hobbins was recently awarded a highly regarded fellowship from the Australian Research Council for a three-year project investigating air accidents and aviation safety. Commencing in mid-2016, this study will focus on both civil and military aviation in Australia from the 1930s through to the late 1960s.

His research will ask how and why Australia came to develop such an impressive safety record, against the wider backdrop of the expanding infrastructure of aviation.

In addition to technology and operational systems, he will be exploring aviation medicine and the creation of airspace.

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