meet the board
Directors all serve in a voluntary capacity and are elected at the Annual General Meeting by the members. Brief biographies of the current directors for the 2019-2020 term are given below:
Melissa HULBERT - President
My background is in astronomy and physics and my day job is in this field. My interest in genealogy started at an early age and has grown over the years. I joined SAG in 2000, the SAG Board in 2015 and serve on the Education committee. I am a regular presenter at SAG, a member of the TMG and DNA groups and coordinator of the Beginners' DNA group. I am also a member of the Botany Bay Family History Society.
Alison WOLF - Vice President
Before becoming involved in the SAG I worked in IT for 30 years. I started helping in 2003 managing the first AGCI CD project and since then I have been kept in full time unpaid employment, known euphemistically at the SAG as volunteering. Current projects involve managing the work of the 30 volunteers cataloguing and indexing the Manuscript Collection and digitising the Society's collections. In my spare time I sit on several SAG committees, and work in my garden.
John DORRIAN - Honorary Treasurer
I've been involved in investment and financial markets for over 35 years and served as a non-executive director of a number of significant listed and unlisted public and private companies, joint ventures, investment funds and not-for profits and continue to do so. My family history adventure began in 1984 and I was a member of the Society in the 1980s and re-joined in 2016. I completed the Certificate in Genealogical Research in 2017. The most challenging part of my family history research is that neither I nor any of my ancestors was born in Australia; they are all Irish and Scottish. I have a BA in Finance from Macquarie University and am a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
I have been a Board member since early 2012 and served as Honorary Treasurer until June 2017. After a long career with State Records NSW, spanning four decades, I retired from the position of Deputy Director in 2011. My areas of expertise are strategy, administration and financial management. On a more personal level, I am passionate about history, genealogy and heritage and became a grandfather in 2011.
I’ve been teaching family history classes since 1997. With degrees in both science and the arts, I’m Convenor of the Society’s Education Committee and a regular speaker at conferences and other events. I’m also the Director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, developing their course series ‘Certificate in Genealogical Studies – Australian Records’. My books include DNA for Genealogists (4th ed, 2017), Arrivals in Australia from 1788 (2015) and together with Rosemary Kopittke wrote Which Genealogy Program? (3rd ed, 2012) – all published by Unlock the Past.
I've been a member since 1988 and joined the Board in 2004. I'm also a delegate to the General Council of the History Council of NSW. My day job is as Head of Collections and Access at Sydney Living Museums (Historic Houses Trust of NSW) and I was formerly Local Studies Librarian at Ryde Library. I convene the Collections Committee, advise on the MIDAS project and am currently preparing research guides on some of the gems from the Society's manuscript collection. I became involved in family history research in 1979 while living in London and have found that the research skills acquired through this passion have been valuable in my subsequent professional life.
I've been on the Society's Board since 2012, having joined the Society in 1979. I'm a professional archivist, librarian and historian. I was the original Convenor of the Croker Prize for Biography Committee and am current Convenor of the Diploma and Certificate Committee, where I'm actively involved in supervising candidates and marking submissions. I'm also a First Fleeter descendant and a family co-ordinator for the John Nichols Family Society.
Philippa SHELLEY JONES
I practised as a commercial litigation solicitor for around 12 years, after which I dabbled in various pursuits whilst raising my family. I am currently involved in the not-for-profit sector as editor of Associations Forum’s magazine, ASSOCIATIONS. My interest in genealogy was sparked in earnest around 10 years ago by my father. I pursue his paternal and maternal lines whenever I get a free moment, which is not often enough. I joined SAG in 2015 and have completed the Certificate course. I developed an interest in governance through my involvement with Associations Forum and the completion of the AICD Company Directors Course.
I joined the Society in 1991 when I discovered that I descend from a First Fleeter, when research was largely done in libraries. I had a 30-year long career in child protection, foster-care and adoptions, as well as in IT. Many of my interests have related to technology, and I was President for some years of the 5,000 member Sydney PC Users Group, and being before the days of the internet I ran a dialup Bulletin Board devoted to genealogy. I used to run a small business selling genealogy software. I have been on the management committee for a community group and am now their webmaster. I’m a keen traveller, and have been to Ireland many times to research my ancestors.