Professor Ann McGrath

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) UQd, 1976, Doctor of Philosophy LaTrobe University, 1984. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, HonD Linnaeus University
Kathleen Fitzpatrick ARC Australian Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor
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 current interests are deep history in global context, spatial history and scale. I have a longstanding interst in the history of gender and colonialism, the history of Indigenous relations and intermarriage in Australia and North America. My latest project is 'Rediscovering the Deep Human Past: Global Networks, Future Opportunities'. My publications include 'Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia' (University of Nebraska, 2015) which won the NSW Premiers History Prize and 'Born in the Cattle' (Allen & Unwin 1987), winner of inaugural Hancock Prize. 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 the Academy of Humanities was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia Medal (AM) 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 the 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, an Honorary Doctorate at Linneaus University, Sweden and the 2017 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship.

Researcher's projects


Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship

Project Title: Rediscovering the deep human past: global networks, future opportunities (ARC FL170100121)

This project will analyse Australia's epic Indigenous narratives alongside relevant new scientific evidence in order to create a big picture history of Greater Australia/Sahul, and as a result transform the scale and scope of history.  Fresh periodisations and understandings will reorient this history in its wider global context.  Through critiquing the evolution of disciplines, especially the world history/prehistory divide and the Cambridge training nexus, the project will develop future-oriented transdisciplinary techniques for researching the deep human past.  As part of the project, a diverse generation of early career scholars will join top international networks and be trained in digital research techniques and delivery platforms for researching this exceptional human history.

The additional named award, the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellowship, recognizes mentoring achievement and capacity; it provides additional support for a mentoring program for early career women.

Further information can be found at:

Further information about the project and Laureate scheme can be found at:

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.

Our website contains numerous digital histories and videos.

Other projects:
History of Intermarriage on Australian and North American Frontiers
The History of Archaeology and of Lake Mungo


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  15 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers