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Student Profiles

James Lesh

PhD student & Centre Administrator

James LeshJames Lesh is researching the place of heritage and historic preservation in the twentieth-century Australian city.

Focusing on Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and historic cities including Ballarat, Fremantle, Hobart and Newcastle, his emphasis is on regulatory, professional and social urban heritage practices.

More broadly, James specialises in social and cultural urban history across the modern period, particularly in transnational and global perspective. He also has a strong interest in public history and the digital humanities.

Menzies Centre for Australian Studies & 
Department of English Language and Literature
King’s College London
Strand, London 


James joined the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies in 2016, where his PhD research is supervised by Dr Simon Sleight. He is also based at the University of Melbourne, supervised by Professors Andrew May and Kate Darian-Smith. He has previously completed an MA in historical geography from Queen Mary University of London, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Selected publications

  • “‘Why not call ourselves mutilated Melbourne?’ A history of urban heritage at the Rialto Towers.” Historic Environment, vol. 28, no. 3 (2016).
  • “The curious case of the dog in the city: Melbourne’s Larry La Trobe.” Melbourne Historical Journal, vol. 41 (2013). 

Selected Awards

  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2015–17.
  • Australian Bicentennial Scholarship, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London, 2016.
  • Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Queen Mary University of London, 2014.
  • AGL Shaw Summer Research Fellowship, State Library of Victoria, 2012.

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Historical Association.
  • European Association for Urban History.
  • International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
  • Melbourne History Workshop, University of Melbourne.
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