Roslyn Russell was born in London in May 1948 and came to Australia soon afterwards. She grew up in Melbourne and Sydney, and graduated BA Honours in History (University of Sydney, 1969). She worked as a secondary teacher in the NSW education system for four years, then resigned when her only daughter, Katherine, was born in 1974. In 1978 she bought a guest house business at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, and ran that until the end of 1981, when she came to Canberra as research assistant to Professor Manning Clark, a position she held from 1982 to 1987. Since then she has worked as a consultant historian in Canberra.
Roslyn graduated MA Honours in History (University of Sydney, 1988), and Grad Dip App Sci (Cultural Heritage Management), (University of Canberra, 1995).
From 1990 to 2001 she worked as project manager and manager of the Canberra-based historical consultancy, Australian Heritage Projects. In June 2001 she formed Marsden Russell Historians with Dr Susan Marsden.
Roslyn is the author or co-author of several books on Australian history, including a history of the Health Insurance Commission, Building Strength through Change (1995), Literary Links: Celebrating the Literary Relationship between Australian and Britain (1997) and One Destiny, the Federation Story: How Australia Became a Nation (Penguin, 1998).
Roslyn had extensive involvement with the celebration of the Centenary of Federation. She worked on a CD ROM on Federation, One Destiny! The Federation Story, and was a co-author, with Stephen Foster and Susan Marsden, of Federation: the Guide to Records, a National Archives publication that identified records relating to Federation and the Commonwealth across Australia. She was the lead curator for Belonging: a century celebrated, a Centenary of Federation exhibition for the National Archives of Australia, National Library of Australia, State Library of NSW and State Library of Victoria.
Recent publications have included Significance: assessing the significance of cultural heritage objects and collections (with Kylie Winkworth, for the Heritage Collections Council, 2001), Reflections: Manning Clark House (2002), and Our First Six: Records of Australia's Prime Ministers (with Susan Marsden for the National Archives of Australia, 2002). Roslyn is currently writing a book on a former NSW Government Astronomer, Harley Wood, and he and his family's life at Sydney Observatory from 1941 to 1974. She has been Managing Editor of Museum National (now Museums Australia Magazine) since October 2000.