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David Waldron

Senior Lecturer in History, Federation University Australia

Dr Waldron is a historian working in the School of Education and Arts. Dr David Waldron joined Federation University, then the University of Ballarat, in 1999 whilst engaged in post graduate study.

In his time at Federation University, Dr Waldron has developed a passion for community historical engagement, regularly supporting, writing and developing community heritage events, support local theatre and online productions in historical areas of research. He is the researcher and co-writer of the Goldfields History pod cast series Tales from Rat City, which won the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) People’s Choice award in 2019 and recently completed the Lucas Girls and the Avenue of Honour Audio Tours commemorating the lives of the men and women who served in the First World War from Ballarat and district. More recently Dr Waldron has coordinated the digital mapping of the Yarrowee in collaboration with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and the City of Ballarat. Dr Waldron is also one of the primary contributors and architects of the annual Ballarat Heritage Festival and contributes to the Maldon Gothic Festival and the Melbourne Magic Festival with his colleague Dr Jo Clyne. He is the author of "Sign of the Witch: Modernity and the Pagan Revival, "Shock! the Black Dog of Bungay: A Case Study in Local Folklore", "Goldfields and the Gothic" and "Aradale: the Making of a Haunted Asylum". He is also a TEDx speaker discussing the legacy of haunting and ghost stories in response to traumatic events in a community.

David is a folklorist and historian with a particular focus on the development of urban legends and popular folklore as a response to traumatic community experiences. He is interested in the intersection of folklore, popular culture and the creation of shared mythology and story-telling. He is also interested in tracing the development of folklore attached to historic and sacred sites and the development of urban legends in relation to social, cultural and political crisis in communities. He has a strong interest in new religious movements and the concomitant development of new mythologies and belief systems.

Research interests:

New Religious movements
Folklore Studies and community identity
The intersection of community folklore and popular culture/urban legends
Active learning models in Historical Education
Place, Culture and Identity formation in small, communities
Ghost Stories and Urban legends as a cultural response to shared trauma.


  • 2018–present
    Senior Lecturer in History, Federation University