Free talk on facial recognition technology

Facial approximation specialist, Dr Susan Hayes (right), will give a free and interactive public lecture at Uni in the Brewery on Wednesday.

Facial approximation specialist, Dr Susan Hayes (right), will give a free and interactive public lecture at Uni in the Brewery on Wednesday.

UNIVERSITY of Wollongong facial approximation specialist, Dr Susan Hayes, will give a free public lecture on her work at the next instalment of ‘Uni in the Brewery’ on Wednesday.

Her talk, ‘From Homicide to Hobbits’ will give an insight into her work, which has seen her collaborate with Sydney Homicide to reveal the facial appearance of a (still unidentified) young woman found in the Belangelo State Forest in 2010 and UOW’s Centre of Archaeological Science to give a face to the Hobbit, a previously undiscovered tiny species of human found in Indonesia in 2003.

Dr Hayes’ facial approximation of ‘Angel’, the still unidentified young woman found by trail bike riders in the Belanglo State Forest in 2010.

Dr Hayes’ facial approximation of ‘Angel’.

As an applied researcher in evidence-based facial approximation, Dr Hayes works with the skeletal remains of archaic and modern humans to approximate their facial appearance.

“My forensic training began with using clay to build up the face over the skull, and then moved to manual drafting. I now work virtually using CT scans and computer graphics, and mostly with archaeological remains.

“In 2012 I worked at the request of Sydney Homicide on the remains of a young woman found in Belangelo State Forest. Another example of my most recent work has been with the Hobbit, the holotype for Homo floresiensis, a small-brained, small bodied hominid unearthed by Thomas Sutikna, Mike Morwood and the Liang Bua archaeological team in Flores, Indonesia in 2003. Both of these women are pretty much the ‘book ends’ to what was an interesting year,” Dr Hayes said.

Dr Hayes, from the University of Wollongong’s Centre of Archaeological Science, will discuss her main methods, with examples from the last decade including the Lapita people (3,000 year old remains of a seafaring people who were the first to populate the South Pacific), the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) Greig Collection of subadults (primarily cretins), an Amerindian Huarpe from San Juan (Argentina), early Maori settlers unearthed on Wairau Bar – and, of course, the European and Asian men she currently uses for teaching.

“She’s not what you’d call pretty, but she’s definitely distinctive,” Dr Hayes said about her facial approximation of the Hobbit.

Dr Hayes’ facial approximation of the Hobbit.

‘Uni in the Brewery’ is a free lecture series aimed at the public. It gives people the opportunity to learn about the various research projects conducted at the University of Wollongong and to be involved in lively discussion with the presenters.

RSVP: 4298 1436 or email

When: Wednesday March 20 from 5.30-6.30pm

Where: Five Islands Brewery, eastern end of WIN Entertainment Centre (Cnr Harbour and Crown), Wollongong

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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