John retired in 2015 but maintains his affiliation with the University as an Honorary Professor and continues his research and writing.

His research interests include colonial history (particularly Indochina), labour and social history.

He is also a published novelist and short story writer.

John initiated the project to erect the monument at Spotswood to honour construction workers killed in the collapse of the main Melbourne outfall sewer tunnel in 1895.

He has also organised two conferences on Kurdish issues at Victoria University in conjunction with the Australian Kurdish community.

Areas of expertise

  • Colonialism
  • Labour history
  • Socialism

Contact details

+61 458 282 246



Labor in Akron, Ohio, 1825-1945 (Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 2021).

The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber, (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011).
A German translation of The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber is forthcoming: John Tully, translated by Klaus E. Lehmann, Teufelsmilch: Eine Sozialgeschichte des Gummis: Jahrhunderte der Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur (Cologne und Karlsruhe: Neuer ISP Verlag, 2020).

A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival, Allen & Unwin, NSW and Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, 2006).

France on the Mekong: A History of the Protectorate in Cambodia, 1863-1953 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003).

Crooked Deals and Broken Treaties: How White Settlers Displaced American Indians in the Cuyahoga Valley (New York: New York University Press and Monthly Review Press, 2016).

Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement (foreword by John Marriott and preface by John Callow), (New York and London: Monthly Review Press and Lawrence & Wishart, 2014).

Cambodia Under the Tricolour: King Sisowath and the “Mission Civilisatrice” 1904-1927 (Clayton, Vic: Monash Asia Institute, 1996).

Book chapter

"Cambodia in the Nineteenth Century: Out of the French Frying Pan and Into the French Fire?" in T. O. Smith (ed.) Cambodia and the West, 1500-2000 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Documentary film

'The Islanders: The "Other" Strike of 1889,' Thames Festival Trust, London, September 21 2021. Online at YouTube.

Journal articles

Modern Cambodia Since 1863”, Oxford Research Encyclopedias, (2017).

“Silvertown 1889: The East End's Great Forgotten Strike”, Labour History Review, (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2014).

“‘Nothing but Rebels’: Union Sisters at the Sydney Rubber Works, 1918-42”, Labour History (Sydney: Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Issue 103, November 2012, pp.59-89).

“A Victorian Ecological Disaster: Imperialism, the Telegraph, and Gutta-Percha”, Journal of World History, Vol.20, No.4, pp. 559-579. (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, December 2009, pp.559-579).


On Shipstern Bluff (Ashwood Books: Cradoc, Tas, 2021).

On an Alien Shore (Melbourne: Hybrid Publishers, 2019).

Robbed of Every Blessing (Melbourne: Hybrid Publishers, 2015).

Dark Clouds on the Mountain, (Melbourne: Hybrid Publishers, 2010).

Death is The Cool Night (Melbourne: Papyrus Publishing, 1999)

Short stories & book reviews

John is also the author of a number of short stories and book reviews published in Australian and international literary and historical publications including:

  • Aspect: Art and Literature
  • Island Magazine
  • Overland
  • Labour History
  • Journal of the Siam Society
  • Australian Multicultural Review.

Appearances in the media

John has been interviewed about his books by radio stations in Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Ireland. Articles about his research have appeared in local newspapers in Sydney and London.