Dr Jonathan King

The historian who brings history to life

Inspired by his passion for history, Dr Jonathan King is a prolific and best-selling author on both Australian and international historical events. Jonathan has published 30 history books to date, many of which have won awards.

He has also written thousands of articles for newspaper and magazines, produced and presented more than 20 TV documentaries, appeared on hundreds of TV shows and acted as resident historian on many radio programs.

Dr King is equally passionate about the environment and helped fund and organise the first national summit of the Australian Conservation Foundation, worked for the United Nations' Environment Program and as director of Sting's Amazon Rainforest Foundation campaigning in both Australia and the Amazon with Chief Raoni of the Kayapo Tribe.

As a Board member of the Australian Conservation Foundation and member for NSW of the national Council of ACF he works on most major environmental issues and already speaks on many topics.

But perhaps Dr Jonathan King's greatest achievements have been his award-winning live re-enactments of great historical events, including most famously, the privately-funded 1988 Australian bicentennial re-enactment of the First Fleet when he led eleven square-rigged tall ships across the high seas from London into Sydney Harbour where three million spectators greeted his fleet on Australia Day 1988, then Australia's largest live spectator event.

Dr King says he has to walk, ride and sail in the wake of Australia's historical figures so he can bring history to life: "I love telling my fellow Australians about their wonderful history and the best way to get the message across is to re-enact historical events." 

The Australian has described him as, "A classic storyteller with a passion for history and the events that shaped the Australian nation - many of which he has brought to life through historical re-enactments."

In 1988 he was presented with the Australian of the Year Award (Victorian division) and in 1989 the Australian Achiever Award by Prime Minister Bob Hawke for his fleet which was also voted best event of the Bicentennial Celebrations. He has also worked for some years as Australia Day Ambassador giving talks on history around Australia.

Dr Jonathan King talks about:

  • Australian History - from Captain Cook to present day (Great Moments in Australian History goes up to 2010).
  • Anniversary-based historical subjects:

  • - Gallipoli in the lead up to the 2015 Centenary, looking at Gallipoli through Turkish and Australian eyes
  • - Western Front and the Somme for the lead up to the 2014- 2018 centenary
  • - WW2 in the lead up to the 75th anniversary in 2014
  • - First Fleet in the lead up to the 2013, 25th anniversary of the arrival of his award-winning 1988 First Fleet Re-enactment
  • Special iconic subjects e.g.

  • - Banjo Paterson' s Waltzing Matilda (Jonathan organisedthe100th anniversary commemorations)
  • - Banjo Paterson's The Man from Snowy River ( Jonathan organised the 100th anniversary commemorations)
  • Environmental Issues including Global Warming, Climate Change, Sea Level Rise.
  • Politics

As a Political Scientist with a Ph.D in Political Science & History Dr King can talk about the operation of the Australian Political System and the Westminster Model, the Separation of Powers (Legislature, Executive & Judiciary ) and when the operations falls short of the theoretical model.

Client testimonials

Thanks for your excellent presentation to our team. A number of my colleagues have said how very enjoyable they found both your content and presentation style. Indeed many lamented how little interest they took in history when they were at a school! You delivered exactly what we asked of you with my only regret being the limited time we had available for really what is 200 years of defining moments! We’ll certainly bear you in mind should we decide to talk about history again with our team.

AMP