Dr Alice Garner is a Melbourne historian, actor and musician who has been moving between academia, film and television for over twenty years. She spent her childhood summers on the Victorian beaches of Port Phillip Bay and the Southern Ocean, with occasional trips to a completely different world in Queensland’s Surfers Paradise. During long stays in France, she
discovered first Brittany and then the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. Alice had her first professional acting role at the age of 11 in the feature film Monkey Grip, and is best known for her work in award-winning film and TV productions including Love and Other Catastrophes, ABC-TV drama series SeaChange – set in the fictional seaside town of Pearl Bay – and Secret Life of Us, shot in Melbourne’s seaside hotspot, St Kilda. Alice juggled acting with study, completing a Ph.D in French History in 2001 at Melbourne University. While working on SeaChange, she became intrigued by the impact of tourists and engineers on coastal communities. She applied her French language and archival skills, honed as a research assistant in France, to the history of the Atlantic seaside resort, Arcachon, which led to the publication of her first book, A Shifting Shore: Locals, Outsiders, and the Transformation of a French Fishing Town (Cornell University Press, 2005).
She is an experienced oral historian, has recorded interviews for the National Library of Australia, and is currently an Honorary Associate in the History Department at La Trobe University.
Alice also plays cello and records regularly with Melbourne-Cretan band the Xylouris Ensemble, which has led her to discover the coastline of Crete,
Greece, with its powerful stories of wartime occupation, retaliation and escape.
Joining Coast Australia in its third series, Alice brings together many of her passions as she delves into the history of cultural changes within each new region.