MEET THE BOARD
My background is in astronomy and physics and I currently work as a public servant specialising in the fields of astronomy and education along with site, programs and project coordination. I am also a casual instructor at Swinburne University for their online astronomy courses and a casual tutor at my local community college.
My interest in genealogy started at an early age and has grown over the years. I joined the SAG in 2000, the Board in 2015, and serve on the Education and the Governance, Risk & Compliance committees. I am a regular presenter at the SAG, on various topics, with a particular interest in DNA.
My great uncle sparked my interest in family history though it was some years before I explored this interest further with my research taking me to England, Ireland and France. DNA has helped unravel many mysteries including who my maternal grandfather was and has added new areas of research in the USA, Germany and Switzerland.
JANETTE PELOSI - VICE-PRESIDENT
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 am also the Convenor of the Collections Committee.
I'm a First Fleeter descendant and a family co-ordinator for the John Nichols Family Society.
JOHN BURKE - HONORARY SECRETARY
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.
With a background in science as well as humanities, I worked in computer programming before starting teaching family history classes in 1997. I have worked as a genealogy researcher and also presented at many family history events in Australia, New Zealand and UK. I have served on SAG’s Education Committee since 2004 and now convene that committee as well as serving on the Diploma and Certificate Committee. I joined the SAG Board in 2018. I am also Director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I authored DNA for Genealogists and Arrivals in Australia from 1788 as well as various genealogical Handy Guides for Unlock the Past.
Darryl Low CHOY
I am a qualified town planner, a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Environmental Institute of Australia & New Zealand. I have been a tertiary educator and researcher for 35 years retiring in 2017 as Head of Planning at Griffith University. I am now Professor Emeritus (Environmental and Landscape Planning) at Griffith University.
My parallel military career commenced as an Army school cadet before enlisting as a Private and rising to the rank of Major General in the Reserves. I retired in 2007 after 43 years of service.
As a fifth generation Australian with Chinese and English heritage I have developed a strong interest in genealogy. My family history research for my and my wife’s families has embraced research in China, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
Betty O’Neill is a Sydney-based author and lecturer in Creative Intelligence at the University of Technology Sydney. She has a lively curiosity and a passion for learning as demonstrated by her eclectic range of degrees. She wrote her doctoral thesis on her quest to understand her father, a World War II Polish resistance fighter who survived four years of imprisonment in Auschwitz and Gusen concentration camps. Published by Ventura Press (2020) The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets is her debut memoir. Betty also founded and successfully ran an organisational consulting business for 25 years advising on strategic and business planning.
Keith brings wide ranging and relevant work and life experience to the Board. He has been a teacher, a soldier, held wide-ranging management roles including sales, marketing, production, public relations, corporate affairs and industrial relations during 20 years in a large, listed company, then managed a health promotion charity for 14 years from 1992. A chartered secretary, he has consulted to not-for-profit organisations since 2006, mainly on restructuring, constitutions, improving board performance and improving governance and administration. A Member since the 1970s, Keith has confirmed family links to England, Scotland, Ireland and East Prussia, all pre-1850.
I am a career public servant, specialising in strategy and international policy, Government relations, public messaging, and program management. I have deployed on military operations advising Australia’s strategic priorities and am currently posted as a strategic advisor to Papua New Guinea’s Department of Defence. I hold a Bachelor of Security Analysis (Asia-Pacific) and a Master of Military and Defence Studies from the Australian National University. I successfully completed the Chinese proficiency test, HSK 4, while studying at the People’s Liberation Army Foreign Language University in China.
Having started tracing my family history as a teenager as a way of spending time with my grandparents, I am currently completing the Society’s Certificate of Genealogical Studies.
PHILIPPA SHELLEY JONES
I joined the Society’s Board in early 2019, having been a member since 2015 when I completed the Certificate in Genealogical Research course. I am the current Convenor of the Croker Prize for Biography Committee and the Membership Committee. I practised as a litigation solicitor for ten years and have also worked in the association sector in a communications role, primarily as editor of the magazine Associations. I now combine my two passions of genealogy and editing to research, record and curate life stories and family histories through my business Record My Past.
My father sparked my interest in family history and researching his paternal highlands Scottish ancestry has certainly been easier than unravelling his maternal English line, with a Smith marrying a Smith…
CHERYL WRIGHT - HONORARY TREASURER I am a passionate finance professional with over 30 years’ experience working in large corporate organisations and not for profit boards. I am a fellow of CPA Australia, have a Bachelor of Economics (Macquarie University) and have completed a Diploma in Family History (University of Tasmania). I joined the Board in 2021 as it was a wonderful fit with my passion in family history that began in childhood. I have been a member of the society since 1985 and passionately pursued my Dutch and British Isles heritage since then. I have a real interest in educating the next generation in the joys of family history.