Specialisation: History, France, biography, rural society, colonial North America
Peter McPhee was educated at Colac High School, Caulfield Grammar School, and the University of Melbourne, where he completed a BA (Hons 1st Class), Dip.Ed., MA (Hons 1st Class) and PhD. He taught at La Trobe University 1975-79 and the Victoria University of Wellington 1980-86 before returning to the University of Melbourne, where he was appointed to a Personal Chair in History in 1993.
He has published widely on the history of modern France, notably Revolution and Environment in Southern France, 1780-1830 (Oxford, 1999), A Social History of France 1789-1914 (London & New York, 2004), The French Revolution 1789-1799 (Oxford, 2002), and Living the French Revolution 1789-1799 (London & New York, 2006). In 1999 he also published a biography of the former Chancellor Roy Douglas ('Pansy') Wright. His most recent book is Robespierre: a Revolutionary LIfe (London & New Haven, 2012).
Peter McPhee was Deputy Dean and Acting Dean of the School of Graduate Studies in 1994-96, then Head of the Department of History in 1996-99. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1997. In the same year he became an inaugural 'Universitas 21' Teaching Fellow. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was an Officer of the Academic Board 1999-2003 and its President in 2002-03. He took up the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) in October 2003 and was appointed Provost in September 2007.
Peter McPhee retired in September 2009. He is a Professorial Fellow of the University and continues to teach and supervise in the School of Historical Studies.
He was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to education in 2003, and made a Member of the Order (AM) of Australia in 2012.