Last Updated on Saturday, 12 November 2016 By Charles Gatt Saturday, 12 November 2016

Our Annual General Meeting will be held at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 15th November 2016  at the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville.  Please consider standing for a position on the committee. Help keep the MHA vibrant and alive, sharing the amazing history of Malta with the broader community, here in Australia and also overseas.  




October 2016 Lecture

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 November 2016 By Charles Gatt


 Sir Alexander Ball and the Part of Malta that Almost Was


Robert Blythe


On Tuesday 18th October 2016, Robert Blythe gave a lecture to the MHA about Sir Alexander Ball.  Ball was a British Navy Admiral who played a key role against the French in Malta and also at the Battle of the Nile. Popular with the Maltese, he helped bring Malta under British rule. He also tried to annex the Island of Lampadusa to British Malta, which could have altered the course of Maltese history. 




September 2016 Lecture

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 October 2016 By Administrator Wednesday, 12 October 2016


The Building of Valletta 1566


Joseph Borg

It is the 450th anniversary of the foundation of Valletta.   In 1565 Malta was in ruins after the Great Siege but the Order of Malta, under Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, was being praised in the courts of Europe for their outstanding defence of the Island of Malta, stemming the Turkish tide into the underbelly of Europe.


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Some of the audience at Joe Borg’s talk  

Photo:  Lewis Zammit






August 2016 Lecture

Monday, 22 August 2016

Lola’s Story



Susan Pierotti

On Tuesday 16th August 2016, Susan Pierotti spoke to us at the MHA.  Last year, she edited and brought to publication City Kid, the memoirs of Lola Russell.  Lola's story begins with the arrival in 1838 of her great-grandfather, Antonio Azzopardi, Melbourne's first Maltese settler. 





July 2016 Event

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Malta a Panorama


Mario Bonnici


Last month a number of members again braved the winter weather and attended our July activity. This was a PowerPoint presentation with various photographs of Malta and Gozo. Since many of our friends or family members are currently holidaying in Malta, we thought we will join them for a couple of hours, at least visually.





June 2016 Event

By Charles Gatt Friday, 08 July 2016


Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Malta

by Joseph Borg

Summary: Charles Gatt


Joseph Borg introduced his talk with an introduction to Plate Tectonic Theory.  The solid earth we know is just a thin crust, floating on molten rock, called magma.  The crust is cracked like a broken egg shell and the pieces, called plates, move around in different directions, driven by convection currents, warm magma rising and cool magma sinking.  These slow but powerful forces cause volcanoes and earthquakes, especially at the edges of the plates.





May 2016 Event

By Charles Gatt Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Melbourne Book Launch of Dr Claudia Sagona’s latest book,

The Archaeology of Malta from the Neolithic through the Roman Period.

On Tuesday 17th May 2016 the MHA and MCCV hosted the Melbourne book launch of Professor Claudia Sagona’s latest book, The Archaeology of Malta from the Neolithic through the Roman Period. About 55 people attended an excellent lecture and social gathering afterwards.

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Audience at Dr Sagona’s talk         Photo:  Lewis Zammit                                        Dr Sagona speaking at the MHA      Photo:  Lewis Zammit





April 2016 Event

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 May 2016 By Charles Gatt Thursday, 21 April 2016

George Portelli: Grandmaster Hompesch:  Villian or Victim?

Summary: Charles Gatt


In his lecture on 19 April, George Portelli spoke on the topic: Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch: Villain or Victim?  He began by giving the background to Ferdinand von Hompesch born in 1744 into an ancient noble family from Germany.  In Malta, the Hompesch Gate and a monument that bears his name can be found in Zabbar (Città Hompesch). 

Siġġiewi (Città Ferdinando) recalls his name, and Żejtun (Città Beland) was named after his mother, who was a Bylandt.




March 2016 Event

By Charles Gatt Sunday, 17 April 2016

Professor Maurice Cauchi:  As Others See Us:  

(What visitors to Malta over the ages had to say about Malta)

Summary:  Charles Gatt


Malta and Gozo were mentioned by early Greek writers and poets during 

img 8702the Greek and Phoenicians expansion into the western Mediterranean.  Around 300 BC, Callimachus identified the island of 'Gaudos' with the island of Calypso. 



The first Latin reference to Malta is by the Roman poet and historian Naevius (270 – c. 201 BC).  In his epic poem, Bellum Punicum, he described how the island was plundered and laid waste by fire around 256 BC, during the first Punic War.  Livy wrote that in 218 BC, during the second Punic War, Hamilcar, not the one who was Hannibal’s father but the commander of a Carthaginian garrison of 2000 soldiers, surrendered the island to the Romans and Malta became part of the Roman province of Sicily. 

 Professor Cauchi speaking to the MHA     Photo: Lewis Zammit






February 2016 Event

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 March 2016 Saturday, 12 March 2016


Women in Malta in the Eighteenth Century


 Professor Yosanne Vella

 Summary:  Charles Gatt   Photos: Lewis Zammit.


At our February lecture Professor Yosanne Vella gave some insight into the lives of Maltese
women in the eighteenth century, pieced together from notary archives, inquisitor records and court cases.  Malta thrived under the Knights.  By the end of the eighteenth century, the population had risen from about 10,000 to 100,000.  Most worked in agriculture, followed by corsairing, and Malta was starting to become a commercial centre. 

Women worked unpaid at home and on family farms but a register of paid labourers on the Order’s farms showed about a quarter were female. Textile production employed females as cotton spinners and weavers, and some ran businesses.  Licences were awarded to women for a variety of shops, and as innkeepers and hawkers. Prostitution seemed to be an acceptable occupation.

Women were both victims and perpetrators of crime.  Many filed accusations of theft.  Violence against women was rampant and many injuries were serious.  Women were charged with non payment of debts, illegal gambling in their taverns, abuse and blasphemy, drunkenness and fighting.  Petty theft was common and servants stole valuables.  Punishments included warnings, fines, imprisonment or even exile to Gozo! 

There is very little evidence of women’s education in the 18th Century. Most people were illiterate, women probably even more so.  Schools are mentioned but little is known about them.  De Soldanis, the official librarian of the Order, lamented that, unlike overseas, Maltese girls were not sent to school in Rome or elsewhere.  He noted many girls roamed the countryside, unemployed and begging.  He believed women were ambitious and willing to succeed, and envisaged girls’ boarding schools to teach ‘womanly virtues’ but it is unknown whether any eventuated.

A woman could achieve social status as a nun or as a bizocca.  The latter did not take religious vows but lived a saintly, celibate life.  De Soldanis credited them with miraculous powers.  However, many other women were brought before the Inquisition accused of dabbling in the occult, placing curses or practising medicine illegally. 

Maltese women suffered many restrictions and limitations in legal and social rights.  They were not directly involved in any great events in the 18th century but their contribution to the growth and development of their society should not be overlooked or undervalued. 

To read the full article please see the March 2016 Newsletter (pages 2 - 3)

Click here to listen to Prof Yosanne Vella's talk (1:05:32)



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