Heather has worked in collaborative research projects with Aboriginal communities in NSW and in central Australia. She has been historical researcher in two Royal Commissions, that into British Nuclear testing in Australia [reporting 1985] and that into Black Deaths in Custody . Her book Invasion to Embassy [1996, NSW Premier's Prize for Australian History] charts the sustained focus on land in NSW Aboriginal politics from the 1860s to the present.
Her recent research has focused on gendered and racialised interactions through rivers and oceans. Her essays on this theme on the northern Darling River floodplain are to be published in collected form by UTS ePress as Making Country: water, place and gender in decolonizing Australia [2008 forthcoming]. In her current projects Heather has considered Sydney as a city of rivers and as a port. With the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, Heather has investigated the use of an urban river and parklands in a high conflict area of working class Sydney, the Georges River, by a range of class and ethnic groups, including Indigenous, Anglo, Vietnamese and Arabic-speaking communities. Concurrently, Heather is researching the connections which have taken place through the Sydney docks to the Indian Ocean and particularly those between Australians and Indian seafarers, demonstrated in their collaboration to support Indonesian independence in 1945.
Heather's recent publications include the urban, environmental history: Rivers and Resilience: Aboriginal People on Sydney's Georges River, co-authored with Allison Cadzow [2009, Short Listed NSW Premier's award for Community History]; the life story: Isabel Flick: the many lives of an extraordinary Aboriginal woman, co-authored with Isabel Flick [2004, Margarey Medal for Australian Women's Biography] and the co-edited Water, Borders and Sovereignty in Asia and Oceania [2009, Routledge] and Echoes from the Poisoned Well: Global Memories of Environmental Injustice [2006, Lexington].