Our next Speaker Evening for Tuesday 7th December 2021 

Speaker: Susan Steggall

Topic: Homes and Hearths: Growing up in Maitland in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Her talk will begin at 5.30pm at the Society’s Rooms, 3 Cathedral St, Maitland.

Susan’s Wallis family forebears left Britain in the 1830s for NSW to start a new life on properties around Maitland and her mother’s family variously settled in the town in the 1880s and in 1921. Her own Maitland story begins with the arrival of Phemie and Rex Wallis in Maitland in 1948 and follows the young Susan until 1967 when she married and move permanently to Sydney.

Susan’s talk will be structured around the three houses in which her family lived as they settled into the civic and social fabric of Maitland. A fourth ‘home’ – the pharmacy at 455 High St – will play an important part in the narrative as she traces her formative years through the good times of friendships, family gatherings and public recognition and the difficult ones of flood, illness and loss.

Susan gained a Bachelor of Pharmacy and a Master of Science (Pharmacology) at Sydney University in the 1960s. She then pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry until a love of winter sports drew the Steggall family to the French Alps for a decade in the 1980s. She is now an author and art historian with a PhD in creative writing and Bachelor degrees in Art History and Theory from the University of NSW.

Susan has written a memoir, Alpine Beach: a family adventure (1999), a family history series about her parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Her biography A most generous scholar: Joan Kerr, art and architectural historian, was a non-fiction winner in the 2013 Society of Women Writers NSW Book Awards.

Her other publications include novels Forget me not (2006), It happened tomorrow (2013), ‘Tis the doing not the deed (2019) and The Heritage You Leave Behind (2021), art-related articles, book and exhibition reviews, book chapters and short stories.  She has edited anthologies for the Society of Women Writers NSW Inc and was editor of the ISAA Review (the journal of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia Inc) from 2010 to 2015.

Current COVID-19 rules require all persons attending the rooms to wear a mask, except, if seated and consuming the refreshments.

Refreshments are to be only consumed while seated.

The Society asks for a donation of $5 to cover the cost of light refreshments before and after the talk. 


Speaker Evenings are held on the first Tuesday of the month (except January) at 5 30 pm.

(A small charge of $5 includes light refreshments provided before and after the speakers delivery.)

Future Guest Speakers:


  5 October    Brian Walsh: The Changing Face of Farming in the Paterson and Woodville Areas, 1812-1920  to be re-scheduled






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