Tom Stannage

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For bishop of Bloemfontein in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa from 1982 to 1997, see Tom Stanage
Tom Stannage
Born Charles Thomas Stannage
(1944-03-14)14 March 1944
Subiaco, Western Australia
Died 4 October 2012(2012-10-04) (aged 68)
Nedlands, Western Australia
Education Perth Modern School, UWA, Cambridge University
Occupation Professor of history, Australian Historian
Years active 1971–2012
Spouse(s) Maria Stannage, née Fillanich
Parent(s) Rev James Eakins-Stannage
Helen Eakins-Stannage

Charles Thomas "Tom" Stannage, AM (14 March 1944 – 4 October 2012) was a prominent Western Australian historian, academic, Australian rules football player and administrator. He edited the major work A New History of Western Australia, which was published in 1981.


Charles Thomas Stannage, better known as Tom Stannage, was born in Subiaco, Western Australia in March 1944. His father was Anglican cleric Rev James Eakins-Stannage and his mother Helen was from Northam. He grew up in the Perth suburbs of Subiaco and Bassendean. Tom went to Perth Modern School, University of Western Australia (UWA), and he gained a doctorate at Cambridge University. He married fellow UWA student Maria Fillanich, who later taught English and literature at St Mary's Anglican Girls School. They went to England in 1967 to delve into museums and vaults of antiquity. During this time, Stannage completed his doctorate at Cambridge.[1]

In 1979, Perth City Council commissioned Stannage to write a book for its 150th year. The People of Perth: A Social History of WA's Capital City told stories of ordinary folk, and found wide favour.[1]

He edited the major work, A New History of Western Australia (1981), an 836-page reference work published by the University of WA Press. He became Professor of History at UWA and later he was a professor and Executive Dean at Curtin University.[1]

His work wove together the strands of Aboriginal experience into white settlement and he formulated ways for WA history to be simplified and taught in schools.[1]

In 2006, Stannage was on a panel of five to select The West Australian's 100 most influential people in WA. In 1997, he became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the study of history and museum development in Australia. As history professor at UWA in 1997, he won the inaugural Prime Minister's Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year.[1]

Professor Stannage died in Perth surrounded by family on 4 October 2012 at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital. He was in a coma after suffering a heart attack eight days earlier. He had two children with his wife. Chris, a lawyer, and Katie, an orthopaedic surgeon.[2]

Football career[edit]

Prior to his marriage, Stannage played Australian rules football in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL). He was a left-footed wingman whose small frame did not stop him taking spectacular marks. Stannage showed skills with Swan Districts and former Swans coach John Todd said, "he would have been one of the game's greats had he not chosen academia."[3]

His biggest game was the 1965 WANFL Grand Final when he kicked two goals. Commentator Dennis Cometti said, "the Swans led by 21 after three-quarters, but East Fremantle surged to win." That year he made his debut for Western Australia and he was fifth in the Sandover Medal count. His career included interstate games and he played against Victoria. At 22, he left football to continue his studies having played 54 games for Swan Districts between 1964 and 1967.[3] [4][5][6]

In 1986, Stannage was on the West Australian Football League (WAFL) board of directors when the West Coast Eagles joined the Victorian Football League (VFL, since renamed AFL). Stannage took on the role chairman of selectors during the Eagles first year. A decade later, his son Chris was president of Swan Districts between 1996 and 1999, and the two worked closely together.[3]

Academic career[edit]

In 1967, The University of Western Australia (UWA) awarded Stannage an MA in history. He then travelled to the UK to complete a PhD at Cambridge University.

He returned to Perth in 1971 to take up a teaching position at UWA. Stannage was later appointed Professor of History at UWA. He was chosen by UWA Press to edit A New History of Western Australia.

In 1991, Stannage was foundation chairman of the Heritage Council of Western Australia. In 1999, he was appointed a professor and Executive Dean, Division of Humanities at Curtin University, in Bentley, WA.

As a prominent Australian historian, Stannage was invited by federal Minister for Education, Julie Bishop to attend the Australian History Summit 2006.


Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours 1997.[7]

Australian University Teacher of the Year 1997.

Centenary Medal 2001.[8]


  • The People of Perth: a Social History of Western Australia's Capital City (1979)
  • Handbook for Aboriginal and Islander History (co-editor, 1979 and 1998)
  • The British General Election of 1935 (1980)
  • A New History of Western Australia (ed., 1981)
  • Western Australia's Heritage: the Pioneer Myth (1985)
  • Embellishing the Landscape: the Images of Amy Heap and Fred Flood, 1920–1940 (1990)
  • Images of Women: Women and Museums in Australia (co-convenor and co-editor, 1994)
  • Principal Australian Historic Themes, a Report Commissioned by the Australian Heritage Commission (co-author, 1993–94)
  • Sir Paul Hasluck in Australian History (co-editor, 1998)
  • Lakeside City: the Dreaming Of Joondalup (1996)
  • Gold and civilisation – with Art Exhibitions Australia & National Museum of Australia (editor, 2001)


  1. ^ a b c d e Mendez, Torrance (5 October 2012). "Brilliant scholar a footy giant". The West Australian. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Vale Professor Tom Stannage". Campus News. Curtin University. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Vale – Tom Stannage AM" (PDF). "On The Ball – The Newsletter of Swanmen, Issue October 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Swans League Players 1934 – 2007". Swan Districts Football Club. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Devaney, John. "1965 WANFL Grand Final: East Fremantle vs. Swan Districts". Full Points Footy. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "WESTERN AUSTRALIAN INTERSTATE FOOTBALL REPRESENTATIVES". West Australian Football Commission. p. 13. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Member of the Order of Australia (AM) entry for Tom Stannage, Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 26 January 1997, Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Centenary Medal entry for Tom Stannage, Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1 January 2001, Retrieved 5 October 2012. 

External links[edit]