History and Historic Preservation Consultants, Australia - Donovan and Associates


Donovan News 46


Donovan & Associates’ history of Tasmanian Alkaloids was produced late in 2016 and released early in 2017. Tasmanian Alkaloids, based at Westbury in Tasmania, is Australia’s single largest manufacturer of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and the world’s largest exporter of codeine and concentrate of poppy straw rich in thebaine — which form the basis for the world’s key pain killing drugs. The company exports 90 per cent of its products to the world, with export sales currently generating more than $140 million annually. The writing of the history was completed midway through 2016, but production slowed following Johnson and Johnson’s sale of the company to another United States-based company, SK Capital Partners, in July 2016.

Donovan & Associates also completed a manuscript history of the Sporting Car Club of South Australia early in 2017. This complemented and updated an earlier published history of the club that recounted its story from its inception in 1934 to 1994. There is no immediate intention to publish this history. The Club was simply concerned to record and preserve the history since 1994 while members prominent within the Club since that time remain active. Along with the manuscript history is a series of interviews with key members.

Another project successfully completed concerned a series of oral history interviews conducted in association with Bernard O’Neil for the Multicultural Council of South Australia. The program featured key people associated with the Council during its 20 years. The recordings and transcripts are to be preserved within the State Library of South Australia.

Peter Donovan has continued to provide history and cultural presentations aboard cruise ships based in Australian waters during the cruising season from October to April. Cruises since the Gallipoli adventure have included presentations on the region from Singapore to Sydney, Honolulu to Sydney, Sydney to Fremantle, and another into the Pacific with the focus on Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Presentation aboard a cruise ship
Peter Donovan giving a presentation aboard a cruise ship.

Donovan & Associates has continued to provide occasional lectures to historical societies and groups. Peter gave a presentation on ‘the art and craft of stained glass’ to the summer school of the Royal School of Church Music which was held in Adelaide in January 2017. In May 2017, he presented a lecture on World War I stained glass memorials in South Australia during the state’s history festival. He also provided three presentations in the local history workshop organised by Alan Phillips, the principal of Unlock the Past, which promotes history, genealogy and heritage in Australia.

Peter continued to have students for his TAFE course in writing history which he has conducted since 1987.

Peter has once again become more actively involved in Professional Historians Australia and its South Australian branch. He was one of the founders and first president of the South Australia association, which became the model for later kindred associations in each state: he stepped down from close involvement after several years and after ensuring the incorporation of the national umbrella group.