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The Australian National University

Professor Ann McGrath

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Queensland, 1976. Doctor of Philosophy LaTrobe University, 1984.
Professor Director, Australian Centre for Indigenous History
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History 210301
  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Law 180101
  • North American History 210312
  • Multicultural, Intercultural And Cross Cultural Studies 200209
  • Other History And Archaeology 2199
  • Historical Studies 2103

Research interests

Deep History, Landscape History, Gender and Colonialism; Australian indigenous history; Comparative and trans-national history of frontiers in Australia and North America; Birth, Love, Marriage and Intermarriage; Law, Justice and History; Museums, Museology and Public History; Art and Visual Evidence in History.


My main interests are gender, colonialism, the history of Indigenous relations and intermarriage in Australia and North America, and the themes of deep history, spatial history and scale. My publications include 'Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia' (University of Nebraska, 2015) and 'Born in the Cattle' (Allen & Unwin 1987). I am interested in presenting scholarly history in a range of genres. Exhibitions curated include one on Women and Childbirth during the Federation era and one on International Outlaws as national heroes. I produced the film 'A Frontier Conversation' (Wonderland Productions, Ronin distributors, 2006) and with Andrew Pike, co-directed and produced the prize-winning 'Message from Mungo' (Ronin, 2014); I have worked as an advisor on various television and film projects. My consultancy and outreach work have included co-ordinating the history project of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, working as an expert witness in the Gunner & Cubillo case and on various Northern Territory land claims. I was accepted as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to history, especially Indigenous history. My work has also been recognized by the award of the Inaugural W.K. Hancock prize, the Human Rights Award for non-fiction, the John Barrett Prize, the Archibald Hannah Junior Fellowship at the Beinecke Library, Yale, Membership of hte Institute of Advanced Study, Durham and Membership of the School of Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarly Residency at Bellagio and an Honorary Doctorate at Linneaus University, Sweden.

Researcher's projects

ARC Linkage Project with National Parks, Australia, Dept Environment, Climate Change and Water, NSW, Ronin Films, National Film and Sound Archives, AIATSIS and University of Sydney.

Through researching the Indigenous histories of selected sites in New South Wales and Northern Territory landscapes, this project will investigate the social and environmental links that create historical 'highways' of understanding, including song-lines, tracks, exploration, trade, pastoral and tourism routes. By researching written texts, art, film and sound evidence, this project will develop innovative models for comprehensive, indigenous and landscape-focused historical interpretation. Bringing together a unique interdisciplinary and industry team, its publications, pod-streaming and other history delivery strategies will deepen understandings of internationally significant Australian landscapes.

Other projects:
History of Intermarriage on Australian and North American Frontiers

The Irish and Aboriginal Diaspora

The History of Archaeology, Lake Mungo and Lake Gregory


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Updated:  22 August 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers