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Staff Profile

Professor John Stephens

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Office of the Provost
Faculty of Humanities
Bentley Campus
08 9266 3842

Brief Summary

John is a past architectural professional of 15 years experience. He lectures and researches in the School of Built Environment. He is a past Head of Department of Architecture and teaches undergraduates and post graduates the role that architecture plays in culture. His area of expertise includes war commemoration, architectural history and cultural heritage..


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Overall, his research includes the topics of place making, heritage, cultural landscapes, memory and war commemoration with particular focus on heritage and memorialisation. Specific research interests include connections between commemorative practices and the places and architecture that support commemorative activity and cultural heritage rights .

John has been directly involved in the production of over 16 heritage reports the most recent of these were the ABC Sound Broadcasting and Television Studios in Perth (1960) in 2007,  the Marsala House by the architect Iwan Owanoff in 2008, Fonty's Pool near Manjimup in 2010 and St Cuthberts Church, Darlington in 2013.

He is an active volunteer in state heritage matters and is a member and Councillor of the National Trust and a member of the Heritage Council of WA.

John has been invited to speak at a number of venues and in the media during 2014:

  •  ‘Memorial Mania: the heritage of war commemoration in the present age’ - The International Day of Monuments and Sites public lecture, Fremantle Artillery Barracks 23 April 2014.
  • ‘Lighthouse Journeys’ public lectures for the Western Australian Heritage Festival, Maritime Museum, Fremantle, 19th May 2014 ( with Fiona Bush).
  •  interviewed on ‘Late Night Live’ by Phillip Adams, ABC Radio National, East Perth Studios, 19th August 2014.
  •  interviewed on”Drive” by Barry Nichols, ABC South West, Western Australia, 20th August 2014.

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Memberships, Awards and Training


Councillor Heritage Council of Western Australia
Councillor National Trust of Australia (WA)
Australia ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites)
Australian History Association
Returned and Services LeagueNational Trust of Australia (WA)
Defence Heritage Committee of the National Trust
Deputy Chair National Trust Classification Standing CommitteeAustralian Institute of Architects
Heritage Committee of the Australian Institute of Architects (WA)


2001, Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence, Vice Chancellor, Curtin University of Technology, Collaborative research on the heritage of the Western Australian Goldfields Pipeline.

2012, City of Stirling Heritage Conservation Award.

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Employment History

Labourer, Soldier, Clerk, Draftsman, Architect, Lecturer.

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Teaching - Undergraduate

  • Architecture and Culture
  • Architectural Dissertation
  • Offshore teaching at Hong Kong University-Space.

Teaching - Postgraduate

  •  Heritage, War Commemoration, Architectural History, Architecture and Culture, and the Architecture of Commemoration.

Present thesis titles include:

  • Remembering the wars: community meaning of Western Australian war memorials.
  • Forgotten people: an investigation into the connections of African people to the cultural heritage and places in the city of Southern Brazil.
  • Community Museums in Western Australia – survival or extinction?
  • Changing Meanings of Anzac Day in Western Australia Since 1915.
  • The Dialogism of Local, National and Global In Iranian Heritage Places.
  • The Role of oral history to interpret a place.
  • Impacts of traditional hotels on the cultural identity of the local communities of Fremantle and Albany in Western Australia.
  • States of becoming: investigating the historically transformative nature of architectural identity.

Past Thesis Titles include:

  • The convicts' contribution to the built environment of colonial Western Australia between 1850-1880.
  • Architectural Concepts and Design Criteria for Socio-Cultural Islamic Centres: their Role in Developing and Integrating West Australian Muslims.
  • Past lives, present values: historic cultural values in the South West forests.
  • Seismic Design of Traditional Bhutanese Architecture: Through Cultural Influence and Construction Techniques.

 Teaching - Administration

  • Manager of Architecture Course at Hong Kong University SPACE.
  • Member of the Australia, Asia, Pacific Research Institute (AAPI).

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Research Interests

Specific research and expertise includes:

  • The Architecture of Commemoration including war memorials and war memory.
  • The history of architecture in Western Australia

This research has been disseminated though publications and through conferences such as

‘Heritage and cultural rights at “Villa Lakhnu”’, paper presented at Indian Ocean Futures Conference, Fremantle, 27 March 2014

"Anzac Landscapes: Albany and Gallipoli Pilgrimage", paper presented at the Third International Gallipoli Symposium, April 20-21, 2012, Istanbul, Gallipoli Campaign: History Legend and Memory.

"In memory of: The War Memory Boom in Western Australia", 11th Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference –Urban Transformations: booms, busts and other catastrophes. Western Australia, 6-8 February 2012.

"Recent directions in war memorial design" 9th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, 8-11 June 2011, Universidad de Grenada, Grenada Spain.

"The HMAS Sydney II Memorial as a narrative of memory and trauma", presented to the NZ Geographical Society Conference 2010, 5-8 July, Christchurch, New Zealand "Anzac Memories: Albany as a pilgrim landscape",  SAHANZ Annual Conference 2011 Brisbane.

"'Well and truly planted’: Honour Avenues in Western Australia", 9th Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference – Sea Change? Historical responses to new and renewed urban landscapes. Queensland Australia, 5-7 February 2008.

 "‘A shrine where earthly grief may comfort seek’. The Western Australian State War Memorial", When the Soldiers Return Conference 28-30 November 2007 The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

"War Memorials in Western Australia: place, setting and design", Thinking Society, Thinking Culture Conference, 2007. University of Western Australia.

"Commemoration, meaning, and heritage of Western Australian war memorials" Eighth Australasian Urban/Planning History Conference, Wellington, New Zealand 9-11 February 2006;

The European Association for Studies on Australia conferences 'Joyful Reconciliation: Landscape, Water and the Eastern Goldfields Railway', Lecce, Italy, 2001,'Caring for the populace: disease, sanitation and the Perth Colonial Hospital', Aveiro, Portugal 2000; 'Memory, commemoration and the design of Western Australian war memorials', Hungary, 2005,

Research Projects

Research includes: "Remembering the Wars: Community Significance of Western Australian War Memorials.". This was a funded ARC linkage grant with the State Branch of the RSL.

Remembering the wars: Commemoration in in Western Australian Communities.

'Remembering the Wars': a database of Western Australian war memorials.

Lakhnu Rural Development Project - India.

Heritage and Cultural rights at the Guidlford Hotel.

The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial - Albany.

From above research are the following refereed journal papers and books not yet listed in Publications below:

(2014) “Commemorative Landscapes to the Missing: The HMAS Sydney II Memorial”, Landscape Research, 39 (5) DOI:10.1080/01426397.2012.756862.

(2015) “Symbolic estates: community identity and empowerment through heritage”, International Journal of Heritage studies, (with Reena Tiwari) 21(1) DOI:10.1080/13527258.2014.914964

(2015)“Concepts of Sacrifice and Trauma in Australian War Commemoration”, Landscape Review, to be published as part of a themed journal (in press).

(2015) "Remembering the Wars; commemoration in Western Australian communities (with Graham Seal), Black Swan Press (in press).

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Specialty Areas

War commemoration and memorialisation.

Cultural Heritage

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Featured Publications

Books (Research) - Other


Books - Edited

  • Kerr, T. A., and J. Stephens. ed. 2016. "Indian Ocean Futures: Communities, Sustainability and Security." New Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Book Chapters (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)

Creative Works

  • Stephens, J. R., D. Smith, R. Tiwari, and J. Schapper. 2015. "Heritage Built Works, Lakhnu, India."
  • Tiwari, R., and J. Stephens. 2015. "Women's Sanitation and Wash Facility." Lakhnu:


Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)

Creative Works

  • Tiwari, R., J. Stephens, and J. Schapper. 2014. "Edu Play." Lakhnu, India: Lakhnu Village Chief.


Journal Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)


Conference Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)


Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)


Books (Research)

Conference Articles (Research)


Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)


Conference Articles (Research)

  • Stephens, J. 2006. "The Gate of Eternal Memories: architecture art and remembrance." In XXIII Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand - Contested Terrains, Sep 29, 2006, Fremantle, WA: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Stephens, J. 2006. "Commemoration, Meaning and Heritage of Western Australian War Memorials." In 8th Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference - Past Matters, Feb 9, 2006, Massey University, Wellington, NZ: Schol of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University.


Creative Works

  • Stephens, J. 2005. "K S Inglis, Sacred P_laces: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape." Western Australia: Australian Public Intellectual Network.


Journal Articles (Research)

Conference Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)

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Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)


Books Chapters - Other

  • Stephens, J.. "BH I love You and No One Else: Conserving the Goldfields WAter Supply Scheme." In Heritage Landscapes: Understanding Place and Communities Australia: Southern Cross University Press. Inpress.
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