The symposium is an annual opportunity for researchers to build and consolidate collaborations with other researchers and practitioners who work with fathers. The event is co-hosted by the Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle and the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, Deakin University. A range of disciplines are represented.

At the second symposium in 2017, the Australian Fatherhood Research Consortium was founded and much progress has been made by consortium working groups in their investigations into their first domain of enquiry, fatherhood and postpartum sleep. In 2019, details of this progress will be shared and new directions for collaborations will be forged.

Although professionals and the public accept fathers’ contribution to the care and education of infants and children, there remain major gaps in our understanding of fathering, and we lack effective ways in which to engage with fathers. 

We invite you to join us to build effective collaborations so that we may further the evidence base on fathering. 


Prof John Aitken

‘The Science of Fatherhood –  toxins, trends and treatments’


The 2012 New South Wales Scientist of the Year says the 'urgent need' to develop better contraception is demonstrated by the 46 million abortions performed worldwide every year due to people falling pregnant unintentionally. In Australia one in five pregnancies are aborted each year, equalling around 70,000 terminations, many in the under 19 or over 40 age groups.

A world-first female contraception developed by Professor Aitken's research group that simultaneously paralyses sperm and protects from sexually-transmitted diseases is currently undergoing safety trials. In addition to this potentially revolutionary contraception for women, Professor Aitken and his research team are chasing the holy grail – a male contraceptive pill. "Male reproduction is much more complicated. You're not trying to stop the ovulation of one egg a month. You're trying to stop the production of a thousand sperm a second,”.

Professor Paul Ramchandani (via live video link)

‘Fathers play and depression’

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Paul Ramchandani is LEGO® Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at Cambridge University, UK. He leads a research team investigating the role of play in children’s early development. He also works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service. Paul has been one of the most influential researchers in the area of fathers’ mental health. While he was a child psychiatrist in London he led a major research group at Imperial College investigating fathers depression and family wellbeing. His 2005 paper in The Lancet on paternal depression and child development has been cited more than 700 times. In his current role he is investigating how fathers’ play impacts on children’s development. 

Emma Walsh

‘Normalising the conversation about men taking parental leave’

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Emma is the founder and CEO of Parents At Work which provides parental leave and return to work programs to major corporations. In 2017, as part of a global initiative to advance parental leave equality for fathers and to  encourage organisations to adopt a shared parental leave approach in Australia, Parents At Work commissioned ‘Swedish Dads’ photographer, Johan Bävman to take a series of ‘Aussie Dads’ photographs. The exhibition was launched in Australia at the Opera House last year as part of a wider Global Parental Leave Equality Campaign to initiate policy and cultural change in workplaces and to normalise the conversation around men taking parental leave.




Registrations have now CLOSED. Please contact lauren.francis@deakin.edu.au if you would like to make a late registration.

A symposium registration fee will apply with a concession rate for students:

Day 1: May 2nd, 8:45am-5:50pm - $100 (students $60)

Day 2: May 3rd, 8:30am-4:00pm - $50 (students $30)

Morning tea and lunch will be provided on both days. Payment is requested as part of the registration process.


Deakin Downtown: Level 12 / Tower 2, 727 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3008


Getting there: 



  • Collins Square has a tram super-stop at its front door, offering frequent services in to the CBD and is within the Free Tram Zone. Other Tram stops close to Collins Square are located at the Flinders Street / Wurundjeri Way side of Collins Square (catch the City Circle Tram here) and Spencer Street and Collins Street intersection. Plan your journey on the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website.


  • Parking nearby is expensive unless you arrive before 10am and leave after 4pm, so it might be best to catch a taxi, tram or train. Secure parking is available nearby at: 664 Collins Street, Melbourne; or at 700 Collins Street, Docklands.

Myki Cards

  • To use trams, trains and buses around Melbourne you’ll need to buy a Myki card. These can be purchased at any train station. Southern Cross Station is not far from Deakin Downtown. Myki cards are very easy to use, just top up credit or buy a pass at a shop or station, then touch-on once you’ve boarded the tram or bus – or touch-on and off to get through the barriers at train stations. Visit the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) Myki site.

Where to stay:

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Holiday INN On Flinders

  • Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is located in the Melbourne CBD on the corner of Flinders Lane and Spencer Street. There are trams at the doorstep and Southern Cross Station just a short walk away. Deakin Downtown is is quick 5 minute walk away. Visit the Holiday Inn website for more information.

Peppers Docklands

  • Peppers Docklands is just minutes from the Melbourne CBD and located on the concourse of Etihad Stadium. Deakin Downtown is a 15-minute stroll away from Peppers Docklands along the Victoria Harbour esplanade. Visit the Peppers Docklands website for more information.

Travelodge docklands 

  • Travelodge Hotel Melbourne Docklands is located centrally in the Docklands area, adjacent to Southern Cross Station and just a five minute walk from Melbourne’s CBD. Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Aquarium are all nearby. Visit the Travelodge Hotel website for more information.

Alto Hotel on Bourke  

  • The Alto Hotel on Bourke Street is a TripAdvisor favourite for its funky city vibes. Deakin Downtown is a 15-minute stroll away from the Alto Hotel past Southern Cross Station. Visit the Alto Hotel website for more information.




  • SkyBus offers an express bus service from the Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine) to Melbourne City and vice versa for $19 per person, per trip. SkyBus also offers a free shuttle service to Melbourne City hotels from Southern Cross Station. Visit the SkyBus website for more information.


  • Melbourne’s taxis are a convenient way to get from the airport to your destination. You can catch a taxi from designated taxi ranks located on the ground floor outside Terminals 1 and between Terminal 2 and 3. Taxi ranks are located on the ground floor of the transport hub outside Terminal 4.

  • A trip from the Melbourne Airport to Deakin Downtown is estimated to cost $58. Visit the VicGov Taxi Fare Estimator website for other estimates.



Museums, galleries, and zoos

Shopping and eating

Explore the region

  • If you are staying over the weekend, you can jump on a bus and visit the Yarra Valley for a winery tour and tasting.


For further information about registration please contact -

Lauren Francis

For further information please contact either -

Dr Jacqui Macdonald

Associate Professor Richard Fletcher