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  • Catch up: Two ways of walking together, Science and Culture - A community based Aboriginal rock art project in the Blue Mountains

    25th August, 2022

    As part of the latest conversation in the First Nations Speaker Series Wayne Brennan spoke about a community based Aboriginal rock art project in the Blue Mountains. Wayne is an archaeologist of Gamilaraay descent, who specialises in Aboriginal rock art. He has lived and conducted research in the Blue Mountains for over 35 years. Wayne has worked as an education officer, researcher and remote fire fighter for the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is currently an Aboriginal heritage consultant and visiting research fellow with the Australian Museum, Sydney. Catch up on this conversation here: []( The First Nations Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with Sydney Living Museums, GML Heritage and the Research Centre for Deep History.
  • Marking Country: An update on the Centre’s Deep History Mapping project

    18th August, 2022

    _As the Centre’s mapping project Marking Country moves into its final phase, the Centre’s Deputy Director Mike Jones shares an update._ When I first joined the Laureate program in 2019, our plan as a team was to create a digital atlas that used a national map to display lots of data and many layers of information. But though the shape of the continent continues to provide a frame of reference, it soon became clear we shouldn’t be trying to unify local stories from different communities or attempting to fill the map with as many sites as possible. Guided by our Indigenous Advisory Committee and our collaborating researchers, we realised that what we needed to do instead was create a space for deeper engagement with local landscapes, histories, and perspectives. There will still be plenty of maps included in _Marking Country_. But the focus isn’t on location markers or individual sites, it's about the way people engage with Country, and have done for many generations—since the Creation, as many communities see it—developing and maintaining a sense of place, creating rock art, shaping the landscape, moving from place to place, telling stories, singing songs, and learning family histories. Deep history is about these layers that in a broad sense mark Country, leaving a trace. Whether the result is still an ‘atlas’ is an open question. Terms can be loaded with historical baggage, and we need to be careful about what we bring to this space. We need to ask the people we work with about the set of meanings that word has for them and if they are negative, we need to consider alternatives. At this stage of the project there are a lot of moving parts, with a number of stories all at different stages. Although the project has been hampered by COVID lock-downs and border closures, we have several stories we are co-creating with Indigenous custodians around the country: Director Ann McGrath and I were privileged to visit Quinkan Country on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland with local guide Johnny Murison; Ann and Amy Way had a recent trip to Koolmandanji Place (also known as Carnarvon Gorge) in Queensland led by Jackie Huggins and Uncle Fred (Cotto) Conway; Ben Silverstein and I are collaborating with Nyamba Buru Yawuru in and around Broome; Laura Rademaker (former Deputy Director, now collaborating scholar) is working with the Groote Eylandt community; Ann and cultural mapping expert Kim Mahood have worked with families in the Willandra Lakes district in south-western NSW; collaborating scholar Mary Anne Jebb is developing material with Woddordda and Ngarinyin people in the Kimberley; and Ann is working with Emma Batchelor on a more general story about historical maps. Over the next month or two we will be confirming the stories that will be included for the _Marking Country_ launch, drafting content, identifying the images and videos we will use, and getting a better sense of the themes that are emerging. It’s also vital that during this time we keep taking material back to community participants and collaborators for feedback. Once we have further developed the content, we will also spend time reviewing our work with the project’s Senior Advisor, Professor Jackie Huggins. From this point on it is a very iterative process, and the iterations will get shorter right up until launch as we finalise content and test the site. Our developer Tabs Fakier is key to this process. The content we gather and the messages we want to convey inform her design process and the technologies used. As it’s not possible to custom build every story, these designs then become templates that help shape other stories. With the launch booked for November, and content from fieldwork still coming in, the timeframes are tight, but we are looking forward to sharing the results with communities, researchers, and the public. The past three years have been a fantastic experience, and we have all learned a great deal about working with communities interested in sharing deep time stories and rich cultural knowledge, as well as the challenges of developing significant digital public history resources. When _Marking Country_ goes live in November, we hope it will become a valuable resource for anyone who wants to engage with some of the many long and diverse histories found right across these lands. To understand more about the technical and web development aspect of this project catch up on this blog from Tabs Fakier:[link](
  • Catch up on Deep Conversations: Space, Data, Place

    10th August, 2022

    Digital mapping is becoming an increasingly common tool for historical research in Australia, providing historians with new ways of visualising and representing the past. How can historians use the tools, methods, and outputs of digital humanities to gain new insights into the Australian past? How can these tools be used to tell accessible stories of space, place, and Country? What kinds of sources do historians require to produce these histories? What skills are required and how can historians learn them? And are there political or ethical considerations when mapping and representing the Australian past in this way? In this seminar, Mike Jones (ANU), Fiannuala Morgan (ANU), Emma Thomas (UNSW), and Bill Pascoe (Melbourne) reflect on the use of digital mapping in their work and discuss the promises and pitfalls of these methods. This is a rare opportunity to see how Australian historians are using the tools of digital humanities to investigate deep time, bushfires, 'blackbirding' in the Pacific, and frontier massacres, and to discuss the questions, research, technology, and skills that underlie these kinds of outputs. You can catch up on this conversation here: []( **About the Speakers:** [Mike Jones](: is an archivist, historian, and collections consultant. He has a background in art history, and over a decade of experience working with the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) on digital, archival, and public history projects. He is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the 'Rediscovering the Deep Human Past' project in the Research Centre for Deep History at the Australian National University. The project aims to develop a deeper understanding of Australia’s pre-1788 history, transforming the scale and scope of history through the analysis of Australia’s epic Indigenous narratives alongside relevant new scientific evidence to create new approaches to the history of Greater Australia/Sahul. He completed his PhD in History at the University of Melbourne. [Fiannuala Morgan]( is a PhD student at The Australian National University and a Librarian at The National Library of Australia. Her current research involves the application of digital mapping software in the analysis of 19th century Australian fiction. Her recent publications include the Cambridge Element Aboriginal Writers and Popular Fiction: The Literature of Anita Heiss (2021) and the edited collection Black Thursday and Other Lost Australian Bushfire Stories (2021). [Emma Thomas]( is Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laureate Centre for History & Population at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is a historian of gender, labour, and colonialism who focuses on transnational histories of Oceania and Europe. She earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2019, and was the 2020 recipient of the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize, awarded by the Friends of the German Historical Institute, Washington DC. Her current book manuscript, Contested Labors: New Guinean Women and the German Colonial Indenture, analyses intersections of gender and sexuality, labour regimes, demographic crisis, and colonial violence in Papua New Guinea under German rule. She is also currently collaborating with Associate Professor Emma Christopher (UNSW) on the development of an interactive, web-based database that will detail and map transportations of Pacific Islander labourers across colonial Oceania. Dr Thomas will be discussing her project ‘Mapping Histories of “Blackbirding” and the “Pacific Labour Trade”’. [Bill Pascoe]( is a Digital Humanities specialist and is currently the System Architect on Time Layered Cultural Map, a national digital humanities mapping infrastructure project. He has worked with the Centre For 21st Century Humanities and the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing at the University of Newcastle, Australia (Awabakal). He has been a leader and contributor in innovative and high impact Digital Humanities and eResearch projects, including the Colonial Frontier Massacres project, the EMWRN archive, ELDTA endangered languages, IA stylometry software, Virtual Biobank 3D medical image processing and eWater. He has software development experience across finance, water engineering, science, health and humanities and an education in English, creative writing, semiotics and philosophy. Deep Conversations: History, Environment, Science is a partnership of the Research Centre for Deep History and Centre for Environmental History. The seminar series aims to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss questions of history, science and the environment, and how they shed light on the global challenges we face today. Image by [Sigmund via Unsplash](
  • An introduction to new team member Amy Way

    23rd May, 2022

    The Research Centre for Deep History was pleased to welcome Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Amy Way in February this year. Amy specialises in the history of human antiquity and deep time in Australia, and its conceptualisation within geology, archaeology, anthropology and public discourse. She received the Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence for her PhD dissertation (2020), and in 2021, was awarded the Australian Historical Association’s Ann Curthoys Prize for her study of Aboriginal antiquity in Australian anthropology. **RCDH: What drew you to the Centre for Deep History?** Amy: I have always been fascinated by Australian history, and especially the narratives settler-Australians choose to tell themselves about the past. The Centre for Deep History shares my concern with deepening historical narratives, questioning traditional periodisation, transforming the scale of history, and bridging the gap between the deep past and the present. But what really drew me to the Centre is not just how the team use their research to reshape how we think about history, but how their work platforms, and is led by, Indigenous voices. Deep history in Australia goes beyond settler epistemology to be first and foremost an embodied, living history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s enduring connection to Country. **RCDH: What will you be working on?** A: I’ll be working on turning my doctoral research into a book, while also helping the team finish the Centre’s digital deep history atlas. I’ll be conducting fieldwork on Country, collecting oral histories, and searching through collections for artefacts that help communicate deep history beyond the colonial archive. I am also running training workshops, and co-convening the Deep Conversations: History, Science, Environment seminar series with colleagues in the Centre for Environmental History. **RCDH: What were you doing before you came to Re?** A: Before I moved to Canberra, I lived in Sydney and taught Australian history at Macquarie University and the University of Notre Dame (Ultimo). I also worked as an Education Officer for Macquarie University’s fantastic history incursions program, Studying the Past, which delivered ancient and modern history workshops to high school students. Outside of teaching, I was (and still am) working on a biography of paleontologist and museum director Robert Etheridge Junior (1846-1920), in partnership with the Australian Museum and Etheridge descendants. Amy’s work has been published in History Australia and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. She is a Visiting Fellow with the New Earth Histories Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Follow Amy on twitter: [@amywayness](
  • Celebrating the launch of the Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History

    4th May, 2022

    In March 2022, editors Ann McGrath and Lynette Russell hosted local, national and international guests at the launch of important new publication The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History. The event was emceed by Mark Kenny from the Australian Studies Institute who facilitated a conversation with Ann and Lynette as well as presentations by contributors Ben Silverstein, Kate Fullagar, Laura Rademaker, and Chris Ballard. Following a stimulating reflection on the publication and its themes, The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History was officially launched by Jackie Huggins. Catch up on the discussion and event in the video below: Celebrating the launch of the Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History. The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History presents exciting innovations in the dynamic field of Indigenous global history while also outlining ethical, political, and practical research. The book features contributors, both Indigenous and settler, across several geographical locations, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Northern Europe and the Americas, who illustrate the important role of Indigenous history and Indigenous knowledges for contemporary concerns, including climate change, spirituality and religious movements, gender negotiations, modernity and mobility, and reflections on the meaning of ‘nation’ and ‘global’. Showcasing the state of the art in Indigenous global history, the contributors suggest exciting new directions in the field, examine its many research challenges and show its resonances for a global politics of the present and future. ![Companion_to_Indigenous_History_Book_Launch_-_Med_Res_-_Shot_By_Creswick_Collective_(100_of_103).jpg](/uploads/Companion_to_Indigenous_History_Book_Launch_Med_Res_Shot_By_Creswick_Collective_100_of_103_5b98449563.jpg) Purchase a physical copy or ebook from Routledge: Photographs: Liam Budge, Creswick Collective
  • Anita Heiss in conversation with Ann McGrath

    29th April, 2022

    As part of the ANU/Canberra Times Meet the Author series, Centre Director Ann McGrath facilitated a conversation with Anita Heiss on Tuesday 26th April, 2022 about Anita's new book, Am I Black Enough For You? 10 Years On which tells the story of an urban-based high achieving Wiradyuri woman working to break down stereotypes and build bridges between black and white Australia. Anita, a successful author and passionate advocate for Aboriginal literacy, rights and representation, was born a member of the Wiradyuri nation of central New South Wales. Raised in the suburbs of Sydney, she was educated at the local Catholic school. In her book, she explores what it means to be Aboriginal and why Australia is so obsessed with notions of identity. Anita Heiss is one of Australia's best known authors, publishing across genres including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children's fiction. Anita's non-fiction works include Am I Black Enough for You?, Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight): Publishing Aboriginal Literature, and, as editor, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia and The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, which she co-edited with Peter Minter. Her novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize, and was the University of Canberra 2020 Book of the Year. Anita's children's literature includes Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic, co-written with Adam Goodes and Michael O'Loughlin. Internationally, she has performed her work and lectured on Aboriginal literature at universities and conferences, consulates and embassies in the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany, China, India and New Zealand. Anita is a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland and is on the board of the National Justice Project, University of Queensland Press, Aboriginal Art Co and Circa Contemporary Theatre. Anita loves chocolate, running and being a creative disruptor. ‘It was such a privilege to reconnect with Anita, who I first met as a student at the University of New South Wales, where she undertook her final honours year in 1991. Her lifetime achievements are so inspiring; she makes a real impact as a public figure, as a role model for urban Aboriginal women, as an author and educator. ‘Am I black enough for you?’ is a huge question, one that should never have to be asked. Our nation needs to take up Anita’s call for Truth Telling. Her honesty in writing and talking about her own story should be emulated when we talk and write about Australian history.’ ‘I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back on Ngunnawal country and at the ANU to discuss my memoir. My hope is my story speaks to the hearts and minds of those seeking to understand the rights we have as First Nations peoples to assert and live the diversity of our identities. I firmly believe that storytelling and story listening can bring people together, my in conversation with Ann, decades after she taught me at UNSW, was the perfect example of that. Mandaang guwu (thank you) to all who came along and engaged with the discussion and the themes, and I look forward to doing more with the ANU in the future.’ Stream episode In conversation with Anita Heiss by Experience ANU podcast | [Listen online for free on SoundCloud]( Get your autographed copy from [Booktopia]( or on campus (or online) at [Harry Hartog Books]( ![Anita_Heiss.jpg](/uploads/Anita_Heiss_2f8ea5b10f.jpg)
  • Catch up: Kurrwa1 to Kartak2: hand–made/held–ground with Professor Brenda L Croft

    28th April, 2022

    How can notions of home, community, and Country be represented within histories of both endurance and dislocation? In March 2022, Brenda L. Croft gave a talk as part of The First Nations Speaker Series presented in collaboration with [GML Heritage]( and the Research Centre for Deep History. Brenda presented a Gurindji-specific historiography that engaged with the pastoral impact on Gurindji Country from the late nineteenth century, the experience of Stolen Generations members and their descendants, and contemporary Gurindji experience into the 21st century. These are themes represented at ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, a national touring exhibition Brenda has collaboratively curated with Gurindji family and community members, reflecting on events preceding and following the 1966 Walk-Off at Wave Hill Station that sparked the national land rights movement. This work presents an enduring, collaborative practice–led research journey representing a distinct Australian First Nations Storying/Storywork and First Nations Performative Autoethnography as subalter/N/ative archive and methodology – created from the rememorying, re/imagined standpoint of a Gurindji | Malngin | Mudburra | Anglo-Australian | Chinese | German | Irish woman. Catch up on Brenda’s presentation in the video below. **About Brenda L Croft** Professor Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra Peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/ Chinese/German/Irish heritage. She has been involved in the Australian First Nations and broader contemporary arts and cultural sectors as a multi-disciplinary creative practitioner since the mid-1980s as an artist, consultant, curator, educator and researcher. She has received numerous regional, national and international awards, fellowships and residencies throughout her professional practice, and is extensively published nationally and internationally. *Kurrwa (stone tool/axe head); to listen to Gurindji pronunciation, click on link, then letter, then scroll down to the word and click on speaker icon,; see also p. 37,–gallery/docs/simm–teachers–notes.pdf. NB – all Gurindji language words in this exegesis are from this source. **Kartak (container, cup, billycan, pannikin), ibid; see also p. 38,–gallery/docs/simm–teachers–notes.pdf.
  • Major Laureate Outcome from Harvard Collaboration: Special Issue on ‘Deep Historicities’ Published

    17th February, 2022

    This month, a special issue of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies themed on [‘Deep Historicities’]( has been published featuring the work of multiple members of the Centre. The publication emerges from [a symposium held at Harvard University in April 2019](, co-convened by Laura Rademaker, Ben Silverstein (both Postdoctoral Fellows on the Laureate Program) and Daniel Lord Smail of the Harvard History Department. The collection represents different ways of imagining and understanding deep pasts across culture and discipline, attending to the specificities of both Indigenous knowledges as well as knowledges produced by deep historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists. In the [title article](, Laura Rademaker and Ben Silverstein seek to understand the deep past, the knowledges of First Nations peoples and of the various academic disciplines that can seem incommensurable. In addition to contributions from Ben Silverstein and Laura Rademaker who also edited the issue are papers by Julia Rodriguez, Ann McGrath, and Gustavo Verdesio, and a response from Daniel Lord Smail. In *[People of the Footprints: Rediscovery, Indigenous Historicities and the Science of Deep Time](*, Centre Director Ann McGrath uses a case study from one of Australia’s most significant deep history sites to show how reconciliatory efforts to share the western scientific kudos attached to discovery narratives have proved an uncomfortable fit with Indigenous cultural values. ![Photo_2.jpg](/uploads/Photo_2_7e05759552.jpg) ###### Winding down after the Symposium on Deep Historicities: L-R Daniel Lord Smail, Ann McGrath, Leah Lui-Chivizhe, Emma Kowal, Laura Rademaker, Aileen Marwung Walsh, Ben Silverstein. Read: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies Volume 24, 2022 - Issue 2: [‘Deep Historicities’]( The Centre for Deep History would like to thank our symposium partners: The Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard, Harvard University Department of History, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, ARC Laureate Program on Rediscovering the Deep Human Past, ANU Global Partnership Scheme, Harvard University Center for African Studies and the Harvard Committee for Australian Studies. ![Symposium_flyer.jpg](/uploads/Symposium_flyer_20ecb29572.jpg)
  • Prestigious Research Award for Dr Laura Rademaker

    6th December, 2021

    Laura has recently been named as one of four recipients of the [Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia’s 2021 Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research]( The ASSA acknowledges Laura as ‘a leading historian of Indigenous Australia, with an outstanding research record encompassing religious, gender and deep history.’ They recognise her distinctive historical practice, based on the extensive use of oral history and detailed archival research, and in close collaboration with Indigenous communities. Laura says ‘Indigenous history has so many insights to offer us’; I am ‘passionate about collaborative history…to gain new insights about Australia’s past.’ She explains that she involves communities in the design of the research, the research process and the creation and dissemination of research output. She is most grateful to the communities that have supported her in her research in West Arnhem, Groote Eylandt and the Tiwi Islands. Laura encourages people not to be intimidated by Australia’s complex past, but to give it the attention that it deserves. Professor Ann McGrath states: 'It was an honour to nominate Laura for this award. She embraces opportunities, and takes on research challenges in a rigorous and professional manner. Her latest work on temporality and rock art will provide important ways to appreciate Australia’s deep history and its tellings.'
  • Why do First Nations people continue to be history’s outsiders?

    24th November, 2021

    In their recent article in the Conversation, Ann McGrath and Lynette Russell raise the question [“Why have Indigenous peoples become History’s outsiders?”]( Their newly published volume [The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Global History]( demonstrates how Indigenous cultures the world over had their own methods of maintaining History - story telling, art, ritual, dance and song - which many cultures still practice today. The book features contributors, both Indigenous and settler, across the several geographical locations, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Northern Europe and the Americas. As they explain, “The history of the deep pasts and modern presents of Indigenous peoples is the story of peoples who are the custodians of the planet upon which we all live. They have left, and continue to leave profound legacies”. As well as occupying much of the planet, their stories contain deep-time histories beyond the discipline’s usual periodizations. Watch this space for some local and international events to mark the launch of this important volume. Read more via the links.
  • Returns and Reconnections Seminar Series

    20th October, 2021

    Over three days in September 2021 the Research Centre for Deep History (Australian National University) and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge) convened the three-part Returns and Reconnections Seminar Series. The series brought together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields of study who are engaging with the deep past through research collaborations with and alongside Indigenous and local communities. The seminars advanced new conversations about the nature of these collaborations, collectively thinking through the role of archives and collections in engagements with the deep past, considering what it means for communities to return to the knowledge and material traces of their ancestors, and elaborating some of the diverse meanings of deep time and deep history across different spaces, disciplines, and temporalities. The series was opened on 20 September by Professor Ann McGrath, Director of the Research Centre for Deep History. Seven papers were delivered across the three dates (20, 21, 27 September) with presenters and co-authors from Australia, Vanuatu, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, France, England, and Scotland. Comments on each paper from invited respondents were then followed by extended discussion with the 35-40 attendees at each session, with the final seminar on 27 September concluding with a drawing together of key themes from Professor McGrath and Dr Catherine Namono (University of the Witwatersrand). A number of cross-cutting themes emerged, including the challenges of navigating relationships between local knowledges and broader disciplinary or institutional structures; the right to interpretation (or reinterpretation) as a way of connecting with the past; the value of community partnerships and co-production; the complex ethical considerations involved when working across cultures and communities; and the necessity for Indigenous and local peoples not just to have access to artefacts and knowledge, but to have a position from which to speak. Series convenors Ben Silverstein and Mike Jones (ANU), and Paul Lane (University of Cambridge) are now exploring publication options for the papers featured, and may also convene additional seminars to continue the conversations started by Returns and Reconnections. The seminar series is another important milestone in the Research Centre for Deep History’s ongoing commitment to building productive collaborative relationships with scholars in our region, and around the world.
  • Deep Histories, Indigenous Futures ECR Workshop Wrap-up

    27th September, 2021

    ‘Deep Histories, Indigenous Futures’, the second Kathleen Fitzpatrick Workshop of the ARC Laureate Project ‘Rediscovering the Deep Human Past’, brought together postgraduate students and early career researchers from across the country. Indigenous histories address diverse audiences, speaking to local families and communities, to broader national and international conversations. These histories speak variously to policy change or to political contestation, sometimes to public memory or national mythologies. And they are formed through relationships between peoples and Country that were the focus of discussion. In these times of lockdowns and border closures, the workshop was organised into a series of online events, providing participants with opportunities both to hear from and be in conversation with leading thinkers who were generous in sharing their experience and knowledge, and to converse with other researchers in the field from across Australia. The workshop opened with a public webinar [Telling History through Country’](, co-hosted with ANU’s Centre for Environmental History. Chaired by Rebe Taylor, panellists included Ann McGrath, Peter Read, Lorina Barker, Eliza Kent and Michael Brogan. Country is more than the backdrop for history; it is an active participant within both its stories and their telling. So we explored questions of in what ways might Country speak? In particular, panellists spoke to their work on Country at Mulgoa, Western New South Wales, and at the Willandra Lakes. We were also encouraged to support Western NSW Indigenous communities given the COVID emergency: - [Wilcannia GoFundMe]( - [Engonnia & Goodooga GoFundMe]( - [Walgett - Dharriwaa Elders]( In the afternoon, Mike Jones led a workshop, ‘Exploring digital tools and techniques’, providing the postgraduates and ECRs with an overview of the possibilities, and the challenges, of working digitally. The session started with some of the fundamentals, from file naming, file formats, and structuring data to tips for evaluating digital tools, then moved on to basic tools for capturing research data, and for managing archival and other images. Workshop participants were then invited to take a closer look at Voyant (an online text analysis tool) and StoryMap (which helps present text, photographs, and audio-visual material associated with particular points on a map or large image). The session concluded with some ideas for exploring digital methods in more detail. Participants asked insightful questions throughout, and many took the opportunity to share useful tips with their peers. The second day began with presentations on [‘First Nations Histories towards Social Justice and Institutional change’]( delivered by three key speakers who have been at the centre of movements for institutional, national, and international change, and who addressed the role of historical research in creating political change. Maramanindji woman Sonia Smallacombe, Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman Professor Jackie Huggins, and Yawuru man Professor Peter Yu each emphasised the need for researchers to provide critical analyses of policy and its implementation, and to conduct this research in genuine partnership with communities. Universities, we were reminded, could have done a lot more for First Nations communities, and there is a need for research that moves beyond the political rhetoric to connect research with the lived experience of the people researchers serve. These themes emerged further in discussion, as participants described the costs of heartbreaking urgency of many of these questions, in COVID-stricken Western NSW and for those subjected to ongoing police violence and homicide. Professor Yu challenged participants to identify their contribution that has a real impact in the community, and it was this question that animated the following workshop, facilitated by the co-editors of [‘Aboriginal History’](, Yamatji woman Dr Crystal McKinnon and non-Indigenous man Dr Ben Silverstein. The workshop, titled ‘Who writes, whose stories?’, provided participants with an opportunity to consider and talk about their relationships to place and to people, and to reflect on the way they situated or positioned themselves. Over a series of discussions, participants spoke about issues of ethics, accountability, and their relationships to the work they do, the communities with whom they work, and the way their work spoke to the concerns of the expert panels. We’re looking forward to further collaborations with the many talented researchers who attended the workshop.
  • Live streaming: building the Re. atlas

    10th September, 2021

    My name is Tabs. I design and develop digital content for the Research Centre for Deep History (RCDH). Developing and maintaining the main website has been my primary focus thus far, as well as posting updates to the ANU’s School of History website. This is shifting to designing and developing a digital atlas - a technical deliverable of the [ARC Laureate program 'Rediscovering the Deep Human Past']( - and mapping projects.. We hope to have an alpha version ready by late 2021. Working as a developer with humanities research can be a challenge. The context in which we’re building affects the design and development process; most notably, who we’re collecting data from and who we’re designing for. There are additional layers of complexity involved surrounding ethics protocols and sanitising data. Communicating the difficulties and nuances of technology to non-developers requires practice. Transforming academic research into something understandable and potentially enjoyable by a wider audience requires a skillset beyond the ability to code; incredible experiences are quite often created by entire teams for this reason. As a result, I’ve been thinking about how to help people understand more about the work I’m involved in as part of my ongoing interest in supporting training and capability development. One of the ways I’m planning to do this is live streaming. Live streaming – broadcasting online in real time – has increased significantly in number of streamers and viewership with the onset of COVID-19. The most popular streaming platform, Twitch, surpassed [five billion hours watched as of Q2 2020]( The number of viewers increased, and so did the number of streamers – Twitch alone now has more than nine million unique channels. I have one of them. I [started streaming]( for two reasons: I wanted to handle myself in front of a camera (a lifelong struggle!), and to engage with the wider technical community. Since mid-2020 I have been coding live, gaming live, and hosted community ‘slackathons’ (like a hackthon minus time-constraints, and not restricted to code). It’s been an unexpectedly valuable learning process. Project types generally streamed are SaaS apps, small business websites, or games. While they’re amazing and it is fantastic accompanying streamers working through the creative process that is coding, project field diversity is lacking. Software projects related to the Arts or Social Sciences are few and far between, and academic involvement in projects is near non-existent. I intend to give the work I do for RCDH some visibility. If the average developer learns about transforming academic research, or a non-developer understands that design and development can be a hair-tearing process, I’d be ecstatic. I will likely be streaming work-related content on Mondays, and [will add streams to my schedule]( ahead of time. You will only require a Twitch account if you’d like to type in chat. Please feel free to engage, provide feedback, and ask as many questions as you like. I have had viewers keep quiet in an effort not to distract me – but if I didn’t want to be engaged with I wouldn’t be coding on a platform that encourages it! Please note that Twitch is similar to Twitter in the sense that personal and work content can be inextricably intertwined. I stream personal projects and content outside of my work. All opinions are my own. My channel is []( If you have any queries, comments, or 'slackathon’ project suggestions I can be contacted via my [ANU email]( or [Twitter](
  • Congratulations to Centre Deputy Director Laura Rademaker!

    17th August, 2021

    Laura was one of the success stories in the recent ARC announcements of funded DECRA projects. Laura’s project aims to provide a historical exploration of the experiences of self-determination in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Working in partnership with Indigenous collaborators, it expects to generate new knowledge of the challenges and opportunities which arose from the process of self-determination. Expected outcomes include a new history of the Northern Territory as shaped by self-determination, together with innovative methods for community-based collaborative research which give voice to historical Indigenous experiences. This should provide significant benefits for policymakers engaging with Indigenous communities and generate deeper cultural understanding of an important era in Australia’s Indigenous history. Centre Director Ann McGrath said “This is a wonderful achievement. Laura’s project promises real benefit for an understanding of Indigenous pasts and futures, which will be of high significance for future policy making. I am thrilled to congratulate Laura on the award of a DECRA, an award for outstanding Early Career Researchers”.
  • Minoru Hokari Memorial Scholarship

    16th August, 2021

    The School of History has announced the 2021 Minoru Hokari Memorial Scholarship. Available to a currently enrolled tertiary student, studying at any Australian university as a postdoctoral student or have completed a PhD degree in the past three years. More details can be found in the links below. Applications open now until 30 September 2021. []( [](
  • Congratulations to Collaborating Scholar Sally K May!

    13th August, 2021

    Sally was one of the success stories in the recent ARC announcements of funded future fellowships. Sally’s project aims to generate new understandings of Australia’s past by exploring the lives and legacies of known Aboriginal rock art artists. It addresses key questions in global archaeology relating to when, where and why rock art was created. Using innovative methodologies, this project intends to create a unique archive of 20th century rock art and oral history recordings from western Arnhem Land. The anticipated outcomes will include new internationally significant knowledge concerning the impacts of colonisation on artistic practices in Australia. Furthermore, the project aims to contribute new information and data that can be used to inform cultural heritage management and education programs both locally and across Australia. The Research Centre wishes Sally all the best with this research project and looks forward to the exciting outcomes and contributions to global archaeology that will be achieved.
  • Congratulations to Mike Jones!

    9th August, 2021

    Mike's first monograph [Artefacts, Archives and Documentation in the Relational Museum]( has recently been published by Routledge. The book provides the first interdisciplinary study of the digital documentation of artefacts and archives in contemporary museums, while also exploring the implications of polyphonic, relational thinking on collections documentation. Artefacts is essential reading for those who wish to better understand the institutional silos found in museums, and the changes required to make museum knowledge more accessible. The book is a particularly important addition to the fields of museum ```Artefacts, Archives and Documentation in the Relational Museum```
  • Good news for Advisory Committee Member and Collaborating Scholars

    5th August, 2021

    The recent announcement of ARC Linkages Grants was good news for a number of collaborating scholars and one of the Research Centre’s Advisory Committee members. Collaborating Scholars Jo McDonald and Peter Veth, together with other researchers from the UWA Centre for Rock Art Research and Management, were awarded over $1 million in funding for the project “From the Desert to the Sea: Managing Rock Art, Country and Culture”. The project will expand our understanding of Aboriginal settlement and land-use in north-west Australia by investigating how the mythological narratives of Australia’s deserts enable the transmission of knowledge in water-limited environments. It aims to provide new insights into human behaviour at rock art sites to ensure that intergenerational and culturally appropriate knowledge transfer protocols are in place at these significant heritage-listed sites. Advisory Committee member Jane Lydon and Collaborating Scholar Charlotte Feakins, together with research associates, were successfully awarded funding for their “Everyday Heritage” project. The project aims to uncover everyday but overlooked forms of Australian heritage and will promote public debate on the role of the past in modern Australia through a range of new forms of history and heritage, digital resources and heritage management tools. Congratulations to all involved! We look forward to seeing the outcomes of these innovative and important projects.
  • NT Award for 'The Bible in Buffalo Country'

    28th July, 2021

    Postdoctoral Researcher, Laura Rademaker has been awarded the 2021 Chief Minister’s Northern Territory History Book Award, along with co-authors Sally May, Donna Nadjamerrek and Julie Narndal for their book 'The Bible in Buffalo Country, Oenpelli Mission, 1925-1931'. If we are to have truth telling about history, communities need to have access to these histories. The book was written in partnership with Injalak Arts and draws together documentary and photographic sources of the Oenpelli Mission in western Arnhem Land with community memory and interpretation of these sources. It emerged from community desire for access to the source documents of their own history and for their story to be known by the broader Australian public. The book also represents the beginning of what Rademaker hopes will be long-term collaborative research partnerships with the Gunbalanya community. Co-author and Traditional Owner of Gunbalanya, Julie Gumurdul Narndal explained, “Mission histories are not just whitefella stories but Aboriginal stories, and Aboriginal people should be part of the telling. Story-telling and hearing about our past and our ancestors helps to keep us safe. This book tells our story from these early days – some good times and some bad times.” ![Buffalo_Book_Cover.jpeg.jpg](/uploads/Buffalo_Book_Cover_jpeg_f683b3a534.jpg) ###### The Bible in Buffalo Country cover
  • Latest publications and public engagement

    21st July, 2021

    Research Centre team member, Laura Rademaker, joined with Collaborating Scholar Sally K May, Joakim Goldhann, Paul S C Taçon and Julie Narndal Gumurdul in an article on aboriginal histories and rock art, [Narlim’s Fingerprints]( ). Published in the latest edition of the Journal of Australian Studies, Laura said this one was a fun collaboration. Laura also spoke on [“Against the Grain”](, KPFA Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, about how members of the Anindilyakwa community on Groote Eylandt resisted and repurposed English literacies. This was based on the recent publication of “Going Off Script: Aboriginal Rejection and Repurposing of English Literacies” in [Indigenous Textual Cultures Reading and Writing in the Age of Global Empire]( Collaborating Scholar, Robin Derricourt featured recently on [RN’s Science Show](,-and-solutions-to-climate-change/13439152) talking about how archaeology could extend knowledge of the history of religion. His book, [Creating God: The birth and growth of major religions]( has just been released by Manchester University Press. Advisory Committee member, Lynette Russell also featured on the same Science Show program, talking about her latest publication [A Trip to Dominions: The Scientific Event that Changed Australia](
  • A new Fellowship announcement: WK Hancock Fellowship

    16th June, 2021

    The WK Hancock Fellowship is open to Higher Degree Research (HDR) students in History and associated disciplines within the College of Arts and Social Sciences and to recent graduates up to one year after completion. The aim of this Fellowship is to encourage greater understanding of the history of the Australian National University (ANU) and particularly to foster an appreciation of the achievements of history and historians within the institution. It is designed to stimulate innovative public-facing historical practice, and to provide an opportunity for professional development of a Higher Degree Research (HDR) student at the ANU. The Fellowship has been inaugurated by the WK Hancock Chair of History, Distinguished Professor Ann McGrath AM FASSA FAHA. The Fellowship includes an Award of $5000, together with a mentoring, professional development and leadership opportunity. More information can be found on [the ANU website](
  • A ‘treasure’ map of Indigenous history in Australia

    3rd June, 2021

    A new project at The Australian National University (ANU) shifts from the Australian history told from our colonial beginnings to one told by Aboriginal people, with stories that connect their recent past to the ancient history of their traditional lands. Under the direction of the ANU Research Centre for Deep History, Professor Ann McGrath and mapping consultant Kim Mahood worked with Aboriginal Elders associated with the Lake Mungo region to record their family stories. "The Elders of the Mutthi Mutthi, Nyaampa and Barkintji spoke about how their families were forced to move from mission to mission," Professor McGrath says. "A lot of the children were stolen. They worked all over the sheep stations in the region. They often saw ancient footprints and things when they were working. They were drovers, they worked on railways." Professor McGrath thought a good way for Aboriginal people to be able to tell these stories would be on a map that shows these movements on their traditional lands. "These maps are often called cultural maps, but this is essentially a history map. This map offers a strong visual history, going back several generations. Some people also mention bunyip stories and ancient stories that wouldn't really have a date," she says. As a historian, Professor McGrath was interested in how to switch away from the colonial narrative of Australia's history, and tell the stories of the country's First Nations people. "Aboriginal people tell the story of a very important woman who'd been buried 42,000 years ago in Mungo, which I thought was amazing," she says. "That's a biography, that's a human being that we can relate to. I met lots of amazing Indigenous elders and young people and Aboriginal people who were Discovery Rangers at the National Park. They were proud to tell their stories of this ancient woman." Academics typically write books or journal articles, which are standards of academic outputs, but Professor McGrath "knew these Aboriginal people weren't particularly interested in our books at all". "They were, however, proud to tell their stories of this ancient woman. We made a film about it called Message from Mungo, which came out in 2015. They're able to speak in their own voice, and they're able to directly tell you what they see is important in history." Fast-forward to today's project, which captures their more recent history and ongoing connection with traditional lands through the retelling of ancient stories. "Aboriginal people have a very different relationship with the deep past. They talk about Lady Mungo like she's an aunty who died yesterday," Professor McGrath says. "Aboriginal Elders asked, 'Why are you only interested in our ancient past? What about our more recent past? We've got our own biographies, with our grandmothers, our great grandmothers. These stories need to be heard too." The map tells the stories of their families' own connection to Country, which itself is a deep history of deep connection to lands of ancient association. "Even though these people were forced by the Government to keep moving from one mission or government reserve to the next, they still stayed very close to Country. They're still staying there today in these little towns." Bernadette Pappin, a Mutthi Mutthi woman, says the stories on the cultural map comes from "the mouths of Indigenous people and not non-Indigenous people". "We are telling our story; everybody's got a story, got a connection to this land here that we are talking about," Ms Pappin says. "It shows the storyline of our people and where we belong and where we come from, and other people having an understanding of where we are, and we still are today." Patricia Johnson, a Paakintji Elder, says the map helps her heal. "I believe it will help all my people too, the same way how I feel," she says. The project will have a handover ceremony, with a proposed traveling exhibition through each of the communities where Aboriginal people shared their stories. A digital interactive version of the map, with historic photographs shared by participants, will be made available on the Research Centre for Deep History website. Project leaders are in talks with the National Library of Australia about plans to digitise the map so that it is available worldwide. [Article originally published on the ANU website.](
  • How to write so that people will read: writing workshop for CABAH scientists

    2nd June, 2021

    'How to write so that people will read' was the central question of our recent writing workshop, “Expand your writing.” The Research Centre for Deep History hosted a writing workshop for scientists in April 2021. Attendees were members of CABAH, of which the Research Centre is now an affiliate. It was an honour to have Prof Ann Curthoys (aka ‘Ann 1’) join us to share her expertise, as well as Prof Ann McGrath (aka ‘Ann 2’) and Dr Laura Rademaker from the Centre. Participants spanned the scientific disciplines and enjoyed presentations from the two Anns as well as discussion about shared frustrations and joys of writing. They were challenged, in the final session, to re-create an academic publication as a piece for public readership. We expect, soon, to see these pieces in print.
  • Dr Jacqueline Huggins appointed Honorary Professor at ANU

    27th May, 2021

    Bringing four decades of hands-on knowledge and experience in First Nations affairs, The Australian National University welcomes Dr Jacqueline Huggins AM FAHA as an Honorary Professor in History. Dr Huggins, a Bidjara/ Birri Gubba Juru woman, has enjoyed a stellar career across academic, corporate and social sectors. She is among the first First Nations historians in Australia. From 2017 to 2019, she served as co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a representative body of 10,000 members and 180 organisations providing a leading voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She has also served as a Board member of the State Library of Queensland and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, former Co-Chair Reconciliation Australia, Co-Commissioner for Queensland for the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families, directed her own consulting firm, and was Deputy Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the University of Queensland. Dr Huggins was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001, recognising her significant service to Australia’s First Nations peoples, particularly in the areas of reconciliation, social justice, literacy and women's issues. Dr Huggins was made a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities in 2007, one of the first First Nations scholars to receive the prestigious status. She has written widely for history books and journals nationally and internationally such as *Aboriginal Workers* 1995 (and new edition 2021) with Ann McGrath and Kay Saunders. Her books include *Auntie Rita* 1996, *Sistergirl* 1998 with *Sistergirl* new edition and *Jack of Hearts: QX11594* due for publication early 2022. She is currently Co-Chair of the Treaty Advancement Committee in Queensland and has contributed to numerous government enquiries and advisory committees, both state governments around Australia, the federal government and philanthropic organisations. Dr Huggins stated: ‘I am honoured to receive this position in a leading University that elevates the scholarship and integrity of First Nations peoples.’ Joining ANU, Dr Huggins will provide guidance and strategic advice to the Research Centre for Deep History within the School of History. [Article originally posted on the ANU website.](
  • History of Indigenous work sheds light on Australian slavery

    17th May, 2021

    The exploitation of Indigenous Australian workers offers powerful insights into Australia's history of slavery, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and deaths in custody, leading experts from The Australian National University (ANU) say. The researchers have re-released their seminal book Aboriginal Workers, 25 years after it was first published in light of the global movement and the 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody. Co-author Professor Ann McGrath from ANU said the Black Lives Matter movement had raised many similar issues still faced by Indigenous Australians today. "For Indigenous Australians, the BLM movement resonates powerfully. They share a history of labour exploitation and oppression, as well as racism based on their skin colour," Professor McGrath said. "That's why we have decided to re-release Aboriginal Workers. "This book was ahead of its time in many ways. It enhances our understanding of Australia's history of slavery, showing that historical revelations remain deeply informative. "This history is especially relevant when you consider this is the 30th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody, and yet the statistics are only getting worse. "You can't understand such pressing social matters unless you understand what happened to Aboriginal people throughout Australian history." Aboriginal Workers brings together insights from leading researchers on the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander labour, including Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman Dr Jackie Huggins. Dr Huggins' articles focus on her own career, as well as the experiences of her mother, Rita Huggins. "In answer to the recent denial that there was slavery in Australia -- my mother and her 13 siblings were slaves who worked in domestic service and stockwork," Dr Huggins said. According to the editors, the volume was "pioneering" in this focus on Indigenous women and girls in the workforce. We wanted to demonstrate the many roles in which Aboriginal men and women had worked, drawing attention to the way their labour and their payments were controlled by the state," Professor McGrath said. "The conversation has certainly changed since 1995. But we hope this reissue will highlight the fact that the history of slavery very much pertains to Aboriginal Australians. "There's still pressing questions around the long-term impacts of forced labour, and how to integrate Aboriginal history into the global conversation around slavery." Queensland Minister for the Arts and proud Quandamooka woman Leeanne Enoch, who was the first Aboriginal woman elected into Queensland Parliament, said Aboriginal Workers highlights the need for truth telling and the importance of Aboriginal workers and their contribution to this state. "Our unique stories give us a platform to connect with others and activate positive and meaningful change across our society," Minister Enoch said. "Now more than ever our stories need to be told, recognising that the power of words lead to that meaningful change. "We need a fearless commitment to telling the truth of our shared past, the sometimes ugly, uncomfortable, hard to talk about truth and written stories, such as Aboriginal Workers, are essential on this path to truth telling." The [new edition of Aboriginal Workers is available now]( [Article originally posted on the ANU website.](
  • Review of Nuclear Histories

    26th April, 2021

    In the second of the ANU’s Deep Conversations Series, co-organised by the Research Centre for Deep History and Research Centre of Environmental History, speakers and participants were encouraged to consider how the atom shapes the past. If you missed the webinar its now available on our youtube studio. Invited to speak were two historians (Professor Heather Goodall and Jess Urwin) and two scientists (Dr Julia Carpenter and Dr Filomena Floriana Salvemini), all of whom centre the nuclear in their work. The ensuing discussion was colourful, multifaceted, and (oftentimes) surprising, encapsulating the various nuances that characterise the ways that the nuclear has shaped, continues to shape and is shaped by the past. Beginning the conversation in our own backyard, Professor Heather Goodall discussed the British nuclear tests in Australia with expertise reserved for those researchers intimately involved in investigating the tests during the 1980s. Joined spontaneously by audience-member and fellow Royal Commission researcher Professor Maggie Brady, Professor Goodall reminded us all that it is not the tangible danger of the nuclear that shaped (and continues to shape) its relationships to Aboriginal communities and others, but rather its perceived danger. The image of nuclear contaminants rolling across the desert in a cloud, or leaching into groundwater, mutating plants and animals, and ultimately making their way into vulnerable bodies remains predominant. It is upon this characterisation of the nuclear that the historiography (in Australia in particular) is predicated. But Professor Goodall, as well as traditional owners of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands, continue to remind us that the effects of the nuclear expand beyond irradiation. Dislocation and disease, brought by colonialism, are also processes inherent to the history of the nuclear. This was a theme I wanted to consider in my own contribution to the conversation. As historian Gabrielle Hecht has argued, the Nuclear Age is so often considered a vital historical ‘rupture’ point. The 1940s is popularly believed to have witnessed the explosion of a new historical and scientific epoch defined by the nuclear. I encouraged participants to consider the ways that the nuclear belongs to the colonial period, enabled by exploration, discovery and Aboriginal labour. Integral to this is engagement with Aboriginal stories of the nuclear, examples of which have been recorded in several instances over many decades. In discussing these points, I attempted to offer a problematisation of the historical periodisation of the nuclear while considering the question of whether the nuclear is as unique as history would have us believe. Dr Julia Carpenter of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency alluded to a similar question by drawing upon her experiences in rehabilitating former nuclear sites across Australia. She used Rum Jungle in the Northern Territory as just one example. The use of toxic heavy metals in mining is of the greatest environmental concern at Rum Jungle, yet it is the nuclear that remains predominant in discussions of environmental contamination and clean-up. The perception of the nuclear as an industry with overwhelmingly disastrous environmental and human consequences has worked to overwrite the harm created by other toxic industries and more nuanced results of colonialism. Further to this, such emphasis overlooks the triumph of Indigenous groups the world over in not only surviving nuclear processes but engaging with and triumphing over them. Condemnatory narratives about the nuclear obfuscate its more positive interactions. Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Dr Filomena Floriana Salvemini explained, utilises the atom to unearth the past. ANSTO is vitally contributing to heritage preservation through the use of nuclear-beam technologies. While historical narratives of the nuclear remain – for the most part – preoccupied by its ability to contaminate and colonise, Dr Salvemini’s contribution to the conversation shone a light on the ways that nuclear technology can interrogate items of historical importance in a non-invasive way. Concluding the conversation with this insight provided an entirely different interpretation of the ways in which the atom shapes the past. Not only has the atom shaped the past by virtue of the processes it has enabled, the power it can harbour and the contaminants it can leave behind, the atom can vitally unveil the past, both literally and figuratively. Considering how the atom shapes the past provides valuable insight into the ebbs and flows of history, unveiling stories ripe with contradictions, complications, and contamination, but also narratives of triumph and hope.
  • Research Leadership Program

    7th April, 2021

    Following an application and interview process, Ruth Morgan (Collaborating Scholar), Laura Rademaker (Deputy Director), and Mike Jones (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) have all been accepted into the College of Arts and Social Sciences’ inaugural Research Leadership Program (RLP). The RLP is a new initiative that will build and enhance research excellence and leadership within the College. It aims to assist individual researchers build competitive research profiles and funding applications in highly competitive funding contexts; and to recognise and enhance the capacity of researchers to provide peer-to-peer mentoring and to identify and deliver research excellence and leadership, both within and outside of their own discipline context. The program gets underway in April 2021. Ruth, Laura, and Mike are looking forward to meeting the rest of the cohort and building their skills over the coming year.
  • Deputy Director Laura Rademaker visits NT communities

    31st March, 2021

    Laura Rademaker recently visited communities in Gunbalanya, Darwin and Jabiru to talk about on Country research plans. She spoke with the communities about rock art and deep history, and possible collaborations in the Research Centre’s digital atlas, which is in a stage of conceptual exploration, refinement and development at an increasing rate. While in Gunbalanya, the official celebration event of the publication of 'Bible in Buffalo Country' by Laura Rademaker, Sally May, Donna Nadjamerrek and Julie Narndal, in partnership with Injalak Arts, was greatly enjoyed by all involved. The celebration was appropriately held at the Injalak Arts Centre. ![Sally_Laura_and_Julie_Mumurdul_Narnal](/uploads/Sally_Laura_and_Julie_Mumurdul_Narnal.jpg) ###### Sally, Laura, and Julie Mumurdul Narnal ![Laura_talking_with_Gabriel_Maralngurra](/uploads/Laura_talking_with_Gabriel_Maralngurra.jpg) ###### Laura talking with Gabriel Maralngurra
  • Deep history and the Senate Committee Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy

    3rd March, 2021

    Together with other invited experts, the Research Centre’s Director Ann McGrath and Collaborating Scholar Heidi Norman contributed to the Senate Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy. The Report, which has recently been published, shares some of their insights, particularly in relation to Indigenous history and Australia’s deep past. McGrath noted that 'the way history is told…shapes the national psyche. It becomes our story'. Noting that there was an increasing appreciation that ‘Australian history goes back to long before 1788. It is a history of the continent long before European settlement’, she urged for a deeper appreciation of Australia’s deep human past. Knowledge of Australia’s full history goes to the core of what it means to be part of the nation. As McGrath explained: ‘I do remember, with the [2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations], Jackie Huggins on Radio National actually said it was the first day she really felt like she was an Australian, included in the nation. When we look at the relationship between citizenship and nation, it is not only about legal rights, citizenship and the Constitution but also about emotion, sense of belonging…and a collective imaginary, you may call it’. Much of this imaginary comes from understanding Australia’s national history. Collaborating Scholar Heidi Norman noted the 'three great streams', or 'three epic strands' of Australian history articulated by Noel Pearson and others, as the 'ancient Indigenous heritage, which is its foundation; the British institutions built upon it; and the adorning gift of multicultural migration'. She had also described the Uluru Statement as 'an attempt to build a political strategy, to establish a relationship between First Nations peoples as “a polity” and the state, where previously that relationship had been absent or dysfunctional’. The Senate Report acknowledged that ‘governments play a key role in building a sense of national identity through articulating national stories. These stories, which offer official versions of Australia's history, are articulated through official documents, acts of parliament, speeches, events and celebrations, and Australia's national symbols, including the flag and National Anthem’. The Research Centre appreciates opportunities to ensure our expertise informs public policy.
  • Eaglehawk and Crow: Aboriginal knowledges, imperial networks and the evolution of religion

    15th February, 2021

    Deputy Director Laura Rademaker recently published [this article]( in Journal of Colonialism and Colonial history. In ‘Eaglehawk and Crow: Aboriginal knowledges, imperial networks and the evolution of religion,’ she unravels scholarly and religious imperial networks to understand the interdependency between religious ideas, ethnography and processes of colonisation. She argues that knowledge of Indigenous people produced by colonial ethnographers functioned to reassure Protestants around the empire of the primacy of their faith in an imagined deep history of the evolution of religion. Colonised and especially Australian Aboriginal people, therefore, were central to shaping imperial understandings of religion. Indigenous knowledges, accessed through religious institutions and networks around the empire, provided the ethnographic data through which biblical scholars and anthropologists in imperial metropoles devised new theories of what religion is. Such ideas, in turn, recirculated to religious networks as the intellectual underpinnings of emerging programs of assimilation for Indigenous people.
  • How historically accurate is the film High Ground? The violence it depicts is uncomfortably close to the truth

    10th February, 2021

    Laura Rademaker, the Research Centre's Deputy Director, has joined with Dr Sally K May and Senior Traditional Elder Julie Narndal Gumurdul, to consider the historical accuracy of the film 'High Ground'. They conclude that 'High Ground ... is a highly dramatised piece of art. But, as the filmmakers have said, it’s closer to uncomfortable historical truths than we might expect. By showcasing such stories, the film will hopefully encourage broader reflection on Australia’s violent history, and its enduring legacies.' Read the full article [on The Conversation](
  • Charlotte Feakins wins at AAA 2020 Conference

    1st February, 2021

    Charlotte Feakins, one of the Research Centre’s Affiliated Students, was awarded the Australian Archaeological Association Conference 2020 Best Student Paper prize and the winner of the Maureen Byrne Award for Best Postgraduate Thesis at the Australian Society for Historical Archaeology Awards 2020. The AAA conference paper was titled “The Ethics of Visibility in Kakadu National Park: Tourism, Archaeology and Colonial Debris” and was co-authored with Prof Tracy Ireland of University of Canberra. It was based on Charlotte’s award winning PhD thesis, “Behind the Legend: A Historical Archaeology of the Buffalo Shooting Industry 1875-1958”, which she is now hoping to publish as a book. Charlotte is GML Senior Heritage Consultant and Team leader. Research Director Ann McGrath served as a member of Charlotte’s supervisory panel, together with Prof Tracy Ireland, Dr Sally Brockwell, and Dr Robert Levitus. Charlotte thanked them all for their support and encouragement over the years.
  • Boomerangs out of the past

    27th January, 2021

    Research Centre Collaborating Scholars Duncan Wright and Dave Johnson have been doing amazing work. [Read all about their discovery]( of six boomerangs of great academic, community, and cultural significance.
  • Monumental discovery narratives and deep history

    4th January, 2021

    The Research Centre Director, Ann McGrath, has written a new article on deep history. [Published in the latest edition of the Humanities Australia Journal](, it contrasts the destruction of the Indigenous heritage site of Juukan Gorge with the police protection awarded the statue of James Cook in Hyde Park. She argues that the nationalist narratives of discovery obstruct a clear view of the deep past. In order to advance the study of deep time, she argues that the history discipline requires reconceptualization and the development of new tools. She concludes that “to prevent discovery’s monumental features continuing to block the view of deep time, historians need to appreciate indigenous interpretations of the deep past, and work with Indigenous leaders to ensure future histories of nation align with Indigenous sovereignty and inform reparative justice. To do so, the discipline’s parameters must be open to radical change”.
  • Aboriginal Workers: a 1995 special issue of Labour History revisited in 2020

    16th December, 2020

    The 1995 Aboriginal Workers Special Issue of Labour History edited by Ann McGrath, Kay Saunders, and Jackie Huggins was recently relaunched, with a new introduction, and a blog interview from Liverpool University Press (LUP) which you can [read at their website](
  • Reviewing Song Spirals

    14th December, 2020

    The Deep History team have been inspired by the recent publication Song Spirals: Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country through Songlines, written by the Gay’wu Group of Women, and were pleased to see it win the non-fiction category in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The ANU’s Stories Reading Group hosted a lively discussion about the book and Ann McGrath and Julie Rickwood each wrote reviews of the book, now published on-line and which you can read here: Ann McGrath's review: []( Julie Rickwood's review: []( Ann suggested that it is “a poetic exploration of Indigenous women’s ontologies” while Julie stated that it is “a unique invitation into Aboriginal women’s traditional cultural practices”. Both were captivated by Song Spirals and highly recommend it.
  • The role of sound in the creation of place and identities

    1st December, 2020

    My interdisciplinary practice-based PhD is primarily concerned with sound’s role in the creation of place and identities, and I explore some of these themes within the context of a silent expeditionary film shot in North Western Australia in the 1920s. In 2019 I spent time field recording in the Kimberley region where my attention was taken by the ancient landscape and how something of it might be captured in sound. In sound acquisition we have numerous tools at our disposal. For example, geophones can be used to capture the seismic activity of the earth, contact microphones capture structure-borne sound and hydrophones can capture underwater sound. I find the acoustic properties of spaces particularly evocative, and so a high-quality condenser microphone that renders airborne sound is what I chose to deploy. ![Old Broome Jetty Site (Groyne Area)](/uploads/Broome_Rob_Hardcastle.jpg) ###### Old Broome Jetty Site (Groyne Area). Photograph by Rob Hardcastle. I was struck by what I heard when lowering the microphone into cavities in rock formations. The resulting recordings gave me an immediate sense of a connection to something ancient, something relatively unchanged - a sonic bridge to a different time. The resonant nature of sound lends itself to this bridging with the past, and when combined with country this can become particularly evocative, as Ruth Gilbert of the Wiradjuri people observes, “I feel most connected to my country when I stand still and listen. I can hear the voices of my people, my ancestors.” ![Coulomb Point](/uploads/Coulomb_Point_Rob_Hardcastle.jpg) ###### Coulomb Point. Photograph by Rob Hardcastle. In addition to the more creative experiments above, it would be interesting to capture the acoustics of geographical spaces that we understand to be relatively unchanged since the first humans passed through them. Caves would be an obvious candidate, particularly as we often have evidence of a past human presence in the form of cave art, remains and artefacts, but also open plains where the topography, flora and fauna might have seen little change in over 40,000 years. Resulting recordings might eventually serve as acoustic artefacts for a landscape changing through human intervention, such as those imposed by climate change [or the destruction of significant sites like Juukan Gorge]( One purpose of ANU’s Research Centre for Deep History is to “formulate imaginative ways of conceptualising the past”. With this in mind, I would like to return to the region with more time, and perhaps as part of an interdisciplinary team to explore some of these concepts further.
  • Oceanic histories: how seas shaped Australia's past

    9th November, 2020

    How do oceans make histories? Or how do we make histories from oceans? These were questions posed in a recent [webinar]( hosted by the ANU Research Centre for Deep History in conjunction with the Centre for Environmental History, convened by Laura Rademaker and Ruth Morgan. How, participants were asked, have seas shaped Australia’s deep history? We were provided with two engagingly different answers by Lynette Russell and Patrick Nunn, each speaking from a distinctly interdisciplinary position. These are, perhaps, ontological questions, calling positionalities into question. Damon Salesa has observed that the vast Pacific Ocean, as a named, known, and narrativised place, has its origin in European mapping. To identify this origin is not, of course, to suggest that Islanders were unaware of the ocean, but rather to take seriously the proposition that they experienced maritime places differently to those concerned with mapping empires and globes. The Pacific Ocean, once it was named and experienced as such, rubbed up against but did not dislodge those enduring ‘[native seas](’. More recently, Islanders have re-possessed and Indigenised the Pacific itself. It has become, in Epeli Hau’ofa’s phrase, a ‘[sea of islands](’, connecting the Pacific with ‘native seas’ in what we might understand as a decolonising move. Places of history—whether oceans, seas, islands, super-continents, or nations—are emergent in ways that depend on where we approach them from. Speaking at the webinar, Lynette Russell reminded us of Chief Brody’s quip, in Jaws (1975), that ‘it’s only an island if you look at it from the water’. For Russell, questions of knowledge and perspective are central. How, she asked, is the ocean seen from the land, and vice versa? Insisting on understanding land and sea in relation, on what Alison Bashford has elsewhere termed [terraqueous histories](, the ocean emerges as a space of unceasing churn, bringing human and more-than-human beings together and apart in new configurations. It can be a space through which people move and a place where they dwell; oceans can be homes, whether temporarily or permanently. An ocean, then, makes new encounters possible, becoming a flowing site of meetings across cultures and languages that generate new ways of being and belonging at and across the seas. These stories of encounter introduce possibilities of change by, in part, bringing together history and culture while holding onto what makes peoples distinct. These are moving histories, carried along by historical currents that break on shorelines. Greg Dening had tried, in his distinctively transdisciplinary fashion, to write history ‘[from both sides of the beach](’. The beach was, in his imagination, a threshold over which people met in what were often mutually transformative encounters. As Russell told us, thinking the moving beach as the historical threshold of Australia, as the space from and on which Aboriginal people have met outsiders, helps us to re-frame a deep history of Australia as one not of isolation but of encounter. She provided us with a glimpse of her exciting new Laureate Project, [Global Encounters & First Nations Peoples](, which in part will explore some of the ways a history of encounter might centre Indigenous experiences and knowledge of others. The ocean itself is an object of knowledge, and Patrick Nunn took us through some of his research on Indigenous memories of the sea that have been, he argues, passed on through millennia. Surveying the Australian coastline, Nunn identified 27 distinct groups of drowning stories, each of which speaks of water encroaching from the sea, covering the land and never receding. These, he told us using a method familiar to readers of his popular 2018 work [The Edge of Memory](, can be described as Indigenous Australian memories of post-glacial sea-level rise. In 1939 or 1940, a Yaraldi man named Karloan told anthropologist Ronald Berndt a story of Ngurunderi, a ‘[creative hero](’ of ancestral times. Nunn drew our attention to one part of Berndt’s re-telling of Karloan’s story, in which Ngurunderi pursued his two wives until finding them walking from Tjirbuk (Blowhole Creek) to what is now Kangaroo Island. When they reached what is now the centre of the Backstairs Passage, Ngurunderi called the waters to fall upon them. The rushing waters both drove them further south and transformed them into Meralang (The Pages islands), and remained in place, separating Kangaroo Island from the mainland. This part of the story, Nunn argues, is a container for the memory of rising sea levels some 10,080 to 10,950 years ago. This is one way, as Ruth Morgan put it in her response, of thinking though connection and change over time. And it prompts reconsiderations of how we have and how we might continue to relate to Indigenous historical knowledge, whether of the seas or otherwise. Is that knowledge a resource for answering questions posed elsewhere, by reference to other epistemologies? Or, as Russell suggested, is this the moment to turn to that knowledge in order to ask new questions, from new perspectives?
  • Inscriptions of Nature: a new book by Pratik Chakrabarti

    6th November, 2020

    One of the Research Centre’s Collaborating scholars, Pratik Chakrabarti, has published a new book, Inscriptions of Nature: Geology and the Naturalization of Antiquity. A culmination of a research project funded by Leverhulme Trust (UK) entitled An Antique Land; Geology, Philology and the Making of the Indian Subcontinent, 1830-1920, the book seeks to fill an important gap in the scholarship of deep time. It presents a new political history of deep time as a product of European colonialism. It shows that deep history represents a deep Western engagement with nature, which in essence is an intensive, and in some respects absolute, knowledge of nature. This approach provided Western epistemology with deep access to people’s lives, their genealogies and their natural resources. Pratik notes that there are robust traditions of deep history in the Global South, with eclectic engagements with aboriginality, myths and deep time. These have, however, remained outside mainstream histories of geology and geohistory, which continue to focus on European or ‘northern’ intellectual traditions. This book engages with these two scholarships to write a layered and integrated ‘New Deep History’. There are two book launch events, on 4 and 11 December, both at 4pm UK time (which is a challenge for Australian readers). Full details are available via Eventbrite: - [4th December event]( - [11th December event](
  • Archaeology and history on Groote Eylandt

    19th October, 2020

    Research Centre for Deep History visiting fellow Professor Annie Clarke presented her seminar on the Groote Eylandt Archaeology Repatriation Project to the School of History on 14 October. Having conducted extensive archaeological research in partnership with Anindilyakwa community-members in the 1990s, Annie returned in 2018 to repatriate archaeological material as well photographs of the research where she met me. I was also returning historical materials and publications related to Groote Eylandt at this time. The archaeological material is now housed on Groote Eylandt. During this latest visit, Annie employed community co-researchers to continue work on the repatriated samples which had not yet been fully analysed. This work is an example of ‘slow’ practice in archaeology. It has become an intergenerational project with daughters of the old man who had conducted research in the 1990s now employed to continue the research. Archaeological analysis was conducted on Country rather than on university campuses such that the community’s participation in and ownership of the research could continue. There are unanticipated cultural benefits of conducting research in this way. Archaeological findings function as mnemonic devices to generate conversations about culture. For example, findings of a diverse range of shell species became a prompt for broader discussions about Indigenous lifeways, cultural changes and knowledge revitalisation. Visiting important rock-art sites with community members enabled people to share old stories of Macassan visits. Likewise, the photographs of family conducting archaeological research in the 1990s became exceptionally valuable. They prompted discussions around memory, history and culture and became an unexpected archive of this more recent history. Annie’s research practice reveals the riches of slow, community-based research. It presents a challenge to academic practice which might often be focused on fast and tangible outputs and outcomes. An intergenerational and community-based practice, on the other hand, offers exciting and often unexpected cultural benefits to communities as they use research in ways most suited to them. ![camping_places](/uploads/camping_places.png) ###### Taking family members back to old peoples’ camping places. Photo by Annie Clarke 2019.
  • Reclaiming Turtles All the Way Down

    2nd September, 2020

    Collaborating Scholar, Dr Leah Lui-Chivizhe wants to let Deep History people know about an exciting project. Since April Leah has been working with Dr Lisa Onaga, from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), on the Reclaiming Turtles All the Way Down (TAWD) Project. Over zoom meetings, Leah and Lisa have been developing the infrastructure for what is becoming a virtual collaborative project with up to a dozen scholars based in the UK, India, North America and the Pacific. Many are historians of science and they are all working with or interested in animal cosmologies and indigenous science knowledges in relation to turtles and tortoises. So far, their geographic focus draws in First Nations and Native America, India, Micronesia, Japan, Singapore, Southern Africa and Torres Strait/coastal PNG. They’re particularly keen to build links with Indigenous scholars within Australia and also SE Asia. If you have synergies with the TAWD Project, or if you might be interested in linking with the TAWD Project, contact Leah.
  • Appointment of Deputy Director

    19th August, 2020

    Dr Laura Rademaker, a Postdoctoral scholar at the Research Centre for Deep History, has been appointed as the Centre’s inaugural Deputy Director. Director Ann McGrath said, “I am delighted that Laura will be taking up this new position and I look forward to working with her to further develop our new Research Centre.” School of History Head, Professor Frank Bongiorno noted that “Laura’s appointment as Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Deep History recognises the continuing excellence of her contributions as a historian to various aspects of Deep History and Indigenous History. She will play a major role in helping Professor Ann McGrath and all members of the research group to guide the Centre through the challenging times faced by researchers and universities generally.” Laura’s contributions to the Research Centre are well recognized, including most recently the W.K. Hancock Prize for her first book. Laura commented: “I’m looking forward to building more collaborations and expanding our interdisciplinary conversations”.
  • Research Centre Team Sweeps Up Awards

    6th July, 2020

    Some of the stellar Research Centre team members were the stars of the Australian Historical Association’s AGM last Thursday evening. Laura Rademaker took out two awards! The W.K. Hancock Prize, which recognises and encourages an Australian scholar who has published a first book in any field of history in 2018 or 2019, was presented to Laura for her publication Found in Translation: Many Meanings on a North Australian Mission. Laura’s PhD thesis of the same title had previously been awarded the Serle Award, given biennially to the best postgraduate thesis in Australian History. The judges found the publication: “…a rich and evocative account of language and cross-cultural relations on the archipelago of Groote Eylandt following the establishment of the Angurugu evangelical mission in the 1940s. Coming relatively late in a settler society where missions were highly dependent on government, this one straddled the official policies of assimilation and self-determination. Rademaker’s perceptive and nuanced reading suggests that missionaries and the Ainindilyakwa-speaking people each used language to evade or engage with each other in a series of selective ‘mistranslations’… Carefully plotted, assured and constantly engaging, this book opens important new perspectives on the entangled history of cross cultural relations.” There were thirty-nine entries submitted in consideration for this year’s W.K Hancock Prize. The judges noted the overall high standard of the entries submitted and thanked all the entrants for taking the time to submit their work. Ben Silverstein was one of only five shortlisted. The judges commended his publication Governing Natives: Indirect rule and settler colonialism in Australia’s North, as “an ambitious and important book which challenges conventional understandings of how Australia’s Aboriginal population was governed”. The judges noted it was “assured and sophisticated in its reading.” Their concluding comment was that it illuminated the significance and ongoing legacy of indirect rule for settler Australia. Laura also won the Ann Curthoys Prize, with Mike Jones receiving a high commendation. The Prize recognises the best unpublished article-length work by an Early Career Researcher in any one or combination of the fields in which Ann Curthoys has published. Laura’s A history of Deep Time: Indigenous knowledges and deep pasts in settler-colonial presents was assessed as “elegantly written and providing a timely reminder of the complications inherent in reading stories across cultures. Overall, the essay offers a subtle and insightful exploration of the many ways in which settler Australians have engaged with Aboriginal ‘Dreaming’ stories.” The Temple of History: historians and the sacralisation of archival work by Mike, likewise received a glowing review by the judges. They noted that: “In this bold and ambitious essay, Mike Jones undertakes a fine-grained analysis of historians’ use of sacred language in their descriptions of archives and archival research … Demystifying and explaining the work of historians and archivists, he contends, will help rebuild public trust and respect for historical expertise in the ‘post-truth’ era." The Temple of History, they conclude, “is a beautifully written and provocative work of cultural history.” Mike was also a joint winner with Alexandra Dellios of the Allan Martin Award. A research fellowship to assist early career historians further their research in Australian history, the judges praised the interdisciplinary reach of Mike’s project Culture, common law, and science: representing deep human history in Australian museums, and the way it engaged with the GLAM sector. The project will examine the way Australian Museums represent deep human history in their galleries and exhibitions. The judges concluded that “Mike Jones’ highly regarded work on archival thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration, and his engagement with a major ARC funded research project offers a firm foundation for this searching and significant scholarship”. Finally, Bethany Phillips-Peddlesden, was greatly appreciated for her commitment to AHA as its outgoing Executive Officer. Bethany joined the team late last year to work on the development of resources for the data base. What a dream time! Explore their blogs, articles and other publications on our website and through social media.
  • About time

    24th June, 2020

    On 6 March 2020, Dr Mike Jones (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) attended [GLAMSLAM 2020] (, hosted by the [Australian Centre for Public History]( at the University of Technology, Sydney. Now in its third year, GLAMSLAM brings together people working in or with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM). Mike’s short presentation, About Time, prompted the GLAM sector to think about the different ways we mark and understand time, and to consider the scope and scale of history, particularly in Australia. He has now updated that presentation based on recent events, adapting his slides and notes to produce a graphic blog post which is [available here] (
  • Emma Kowal talks about the history of biospecimen collection among the aboriginal peoples of Australia

    11th June, 2020

    In this podcast, “Why scientists collected the blood of Indigenous Peoples”, Emma talks with Michael F. Robinson, Professor of History, University of Hartford, about the history of biospecimen collection among the aboriginal peoples of Australia. Emma is the co-author, together with Joanna Radin, of [“Indigenous Biospecimen Collections and the Cryopolitics of Frozen Life,”]( published in the Journal of Sociology. Michael’s podcast series, [Time to Eat the Dogs](, explores the intersection of science, history, and exploration. Podcast: [“Why scientists collected the blood of Indigenous Peoples”]( Emma Kowal is a member of the Research Centre for Deep History’s Advisory Committee. She is Professor of Anthropology at the Alfred Deakin Institute and Convener of the Science and Society Network at Deakin University. Much of her work is at the intersection of science and technology studies, postcolonial studies and indigenous studies, important considerations for the Research Centre.
  • Tom Murray's documentary in Sydney Film Festival

    3rd June, 2020

    Collaborating Scholar, Tom Murray’s The Skin of Others is one of the outstanding films of the [Sydney Film Festival]( About colonial relations with First Australians, The Skin of Others is told through the biographies of two remarkable men: Douglas Grant (c.1885 - 1951) and Balang TE Lewis, and also features Archie Roach. The Skin of Others is a feature-length extension of an [ABC audio production]( and a [2018 short film](, an exchange between Douglas Grant and Henry Lawson. A link [to the film is here]( Enjoy your listening and viewing of these, and don’t forget to book a ticket for the full feature. Guardian reviewer, Luke Buckmaster, noted The Skin of Others included the final film appearance of the late Balang T Lewis (otherwise known as Tom E Lewis), [who died in 2018]( It is an exploration of the life of Douglas Grant, an Indigenous Australian activist and veteran whose jam-packed life includes fighting in the first world war on the frontline in France, where he was captured by Germans. The Germans, Buckmaster continued, were “very curious about Douglas” due to “his dark complexion, history as an Aboriginal man educated in a white society, and even his ability to put on a Scottish accent,” according to a biography published on the Australian War Memorial website.
  • Deep History Reading Group 2020

    29th April, 2020

    The Research Centre’s Deep History Reading Group recommenced via Zoom meetups on 17 April. The Reading Group is chaired by PhD scholar, Josh Newham, and began last year. Previously it was a gathering of ANU scholars interested in Deep History. The current pandemic has prompted an expansion of the group beyond the ANU, including Collaborating Scholars from interstate. In this fourth meeting since the initiative began, Josh provided a chapter from Steve Webb’s Corridors to Extinction and the Australian Megafauna titled ‘Australia: From Dreamtime to Desert’. In his invitation, Josh said that he found the chapter to be a particularly engaging and enjoyable romp through 4.5 billion years of history and one that somewhat blurred the lines between Big and Deep histories, Environmental History, Archaeology, Palaeontology, Anthropology, Geology and Geography. The abstract described the chapter as “an overview of the 4.5 billion year evolutionary history and biological development of Australia as a continent. There is particular emphasis on documenting the salient palaeontological discoveries which have occurred in Australia. That includes some of the earliest examples of evolutionary change among the planet’s biota. This chapter also charts Australia’s continental evolution parallel to these events and its development as the driest inhabited continent in the world. Ice Ages and deserts have their introduction here as an indication of what there is to come in later chapters.” Josh commented that he thought that the abstract didn’t do the chapter justice as it was a wide ranging and erudite read. Our lively conversation included Josh and Julie from the Centre, Collaborating Scholars Greta Hawes and Linda Barwick, as well as Julie Hotchin from the School of History. The group commented on the chapter’s expansive coverage, its elegant, crisp and individual style, clear narrative thread connecting the deep past to the present, and on the ways in which the author’s approach centred the landscape as an active character in the narrative. That said, the chapter certainly received some critique: its lively style was read as both annoying and charming, or both at the same time. Some readers noted a tendency towards a moralistic tone, and most critically, much evidence was not referenced. Rather, Webb simply acknowledged the scholars from whom he had drawn the evidence. Unfortunately too, the opening of the chapter, which makes reference to Australian Indigenous ontologies and ‘Dreamtime’ was never engaged with again. This salutary reference to Aboriginal culture in the chapter felt somewhat cursory as no Aboriginal perspectives were included in what turned out to be a very scientific narrative of glacial maxims, paleogeography and Darwinian evolution. As these issues and the larger debate around megafaunal extinction feed into ongoing debates around colonisation, genocide, climate change and the anthropocene, the lack of Indigenous perspectives on the deep history of the Australian continent in the chapter was a missed opportunity that may have enhanced it. The reading group will reconvene mid-May with a new reading by Dennis Byrne entitled ‘Deep Nation: Australia’s Acquisition of an Indigenous Past’. If you are interested in participating please contact [](
  • Visiting Scholar Bruce Buchan’s latest publication

    23rd April, 2020

    Associate Professor Bruce Buchan, the Research Centre’s recent visitor, has been [published in Arena]( A captivating examination of the notion of time in the Anthropocene, Bruce eloquently captures humanity’s relationship with time: “We humans have always understood ourselves as creatures in time—carriers of meaning from the past, and imaginers of futures pieced together, as a palimpsest, from memories, legacies and echoes. Wrapping us around like a trailing shroud, time tangles about our feet. We humans only ever stumble forwards. Time is our constant companion. Its beat demarcates our shared mortality. It is time that venerates received wisdom. It is time that lacerates us with inherited suffering. Time feeds our future fears as it kindles our cherished dreams.” He later describes how time reveals itself in the present: “Time in the Anthropocene is weird. It seems warped, buckled and bent out of shape. The future we forebodingly forecast only yesterday is overborne by even worse predictions today. It is as if the passage of time has been creased and folded back upon itself, tugging the present through and beyond the future, making futures past; it bends our anticipations back into the immediate present and reveals them as decades-long-dead possibilities. In the Anthropocene, projections of the future have no purchase in the present.” The major question Bruce explores is “What must humanity be or become when we are out of time?” and the journey he takes the reader on to answer that is engaging and compelling. [Enjoy the read](
  • Research Centre Activities: Before and during COVID-19

    8th April, 2020

    Visiting Scholars: Professor Annie Clarke arrived for the first half of her visit in early February. During her visit, Annie mentored Research Centre team members and attended the team retreat, including leading a workshop on history and archaeology. Annie provided lively contributions throughout the three days of the retreat. All things going well, Annie will be returning for her second visit in October. Associate Professor Bruce Buchan was a Visiting Scholar in March. During his brief visit, Bruce presented ‘Failed or Unfinished? On The Fragments of Colonial History in Scotland’s Enlightenment’ at the School of History Seminar. The seminar and follow-up conversations were rivetting. Bruce will be back when circumstances allow. Both visitors were supported by the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) Visiting Scholars Program. **Annual Retreat** The Centre and Laureate program’s Annual Retreat was held at the National Library of Australia from Tuesday 18 until Thursday 20 February. We had a full three day program with a different focus each day: 1. Themes, interdisciplinarity and collaborations. 2. Review of progress and meeting project deliverables. 3. The future, planning of the next three years. Collaborating Scholars Shirleene Robinson, Mary Anne Jebb, Maria Nugent, Annie Clarke and Duncan Wright joined the team for a morning tea on the Tuesday, followed by a discussion of transdisciplinary opportunities for collaboration. Highlights: - National library experts Shirleene Robinson and Mark Piva ran an oral history training workshop. - RSSS Visitor Annie Clarke led a workshop on archaeology and deep history. - The review of the project’s outcomes for 2019 showed that we had achieved significant milestones. - Mike Jones led a workshop on digital humanities and digital history which was followed after lunch by a discussion on data training and the project’s data management plan. - Tabs Fakier gave us an introductory tour of the Centre website and the team discussed branding and social media. On the final day, we undertook planning for the next three years of the Centre and Laureate program, with many debates and discussions on theoretical and methodological considerations interwoven throughout. It was a very productive retreat which highlighted the high quality work being undertaken and planned by all members of the team. **Re. Website** The Centre will soon launch its website. Its release will be announced on [Twitter]( and [Facebook]( in the near future. Look out for that. **The World Today** As with colleagues in Australia and around the world, the Centre has had to adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the circumstances of working in a virtual environment. We have had to postpone many key activities – lectures, collaborative workshops, conference presentations, field trips and much else. We are all working from home, and are readjusting our schedule for a much changed research environment. The team is continuing with projects, activities and initiatives as much as possible, and moving to online environments. We will keep you posted about some new initiatives soon. And we do hope you can join us.
  • Aspiring future leader Naomi Appleby visit

    12th February, 2020

    Naomi Appleby, a project coordination officer in the Future Acts and Heritage Unit at Nyamba Buru Yawuru in Broome, visited us for two weeks in November–December last year. Naomi is a Yawuru and Karajarri woman, and is an emerging curator with a keen interest in the history of Yawuru country in and around Broome. As well as experiencing life on the ANU campus, Ben Silverstein, Postdoctoral Researcher with the ARC Laureate Project, worked with Naomi to explore some of the important holdings held in collections around Canberra. Naomi and Ben were lucky enough to work with outstanding curators, librarians, and other staff in collections who helped them to access some of the valuable materials that spoke to Yawuru history. They spent an afternoon watching films of Broome, another afternoon exploring the maps and oral history collections at the National Library, and had a couple of visits to AIATSIS to listen to historical recordings of Yawuru language and song. The experience of working collaboratively to research Yawuru history and heritage was memorable for all. Naomi was also able to meet with staff across the university, including Anne Martin at the Tjabal Centre, researchers working with the ANU Grand Challenges Scheme on Indigenous Health and Wellbeing, and, of course, with staff and postgraduates at the School of History. The RDHP team was delighted to host her visit, and we look forward to future collaborations!
  • Accolades to Professor Julian Thomas, Advisory Committee Member, Dr Henning Trüper, Collaborating Scholar, and Professor Annie Clarke, forthcoming Visitor

    15th January, 2020

    Major grants have been awarded to two outstanding scholars associated with Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Program/Research Centre for Deep History. Professor Julian Thomas, a member of the Centre’s Advisory Committee, received ARC funding to establish and lead the Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. Based at RMIT, this major new research centre will investigate how rapidly emerging decision-making technologies can be used safely and ethically. It brings together national and international experts from the humanities, and the social and technological sciences. Professor Thomas said the global research project would help ensure machine learning and decision-making technologies were used responsibly, ethically and inclusively. Noting that automated systems are changing our everyday life, he added, “We urgently need a much deeper understanding of the potential risks of the new technologies, and the best strategies for mitigating these risks”. Dr Henning Trüper has been awarded a European Research Council Consolidator Grant, which provides funding for Henning and four postdoctoral research positions to undertake the project “Archipelagic Imperatives: Shipwreck and Lifesaving in European Societies since 1800”. Henning joined the Laureate team as a visitor early in 2019, leading a workshop on Claude Levi-Strauss and mentoring team members. The Archipelagic Imperatives project is using the historical painting by Danish realist painter, Michael Ancher, as its website image (see below). In other good news, Annie Clarke, from Sydney University, was promoted to Professor. Annie is shortly joining the Program/Centre as a visitor. Annie is a leading figure both in Australia and internationally in the broad fields of community and contact archaeology, ethnographic collections research and critical heritage studies. Her research profile and interests both connects and adds to the research being undertaken by Ann McGrath and her team. Annie’s record of cross-disciplinary research and public engagement connects directly to the initiatives of the Laureate Program. Her current re-engagement with community-based archaeological research on Groote Eylandt intersects specifically with the research of Laura Rademaker, a post-doctoral fellow with the Program/Centre. We extend congratulations to Julian, Henning and Annie on these outstanding achievements.
  • CABAH Annual Symposium

    20th November, 2019

    From 4–8 November 2019, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) held its 3rd Annual Symposium at Monash University. Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Mike Jones attended on behalf of the Research Centre for Deep History. CABAH is a large, multidisciplinary program of work which aims “to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia.” Each year project investigators, associates, early-career researchers, postgraduate students, and professional staff from institutions around the country come together to share their work. Projects span the continent and surrounding regions, with flagship initiatives located in the Northern Gateway to Australia/Sahul, the Top End, the north-eastern Coral Sea, and the South East. Themes include people, climate, landscape, wildlife, time, and models, all with community partnerships and collaboration at the forefront. There were many interesting sessions throughout the week, starting with an opening workshop titled You Have Excavated It—Now What? which provided tips and techniques for lifting and conserving objects during fieldwork, led by Holly Jones-Amin and Dr Matthew McDowell. CABAH Director, Distinguished Professor Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts, opened the second day with an overview of the centre’s mission, goals, and progress to date. A series of presentations, ‘pico’ talks, and posters followed on a range of topics. To sample just a few, we heard about migration and the modelling of routes through South East Asia; rock art in Australia’s north; the use of drones and photogrammetry to explore fish traps in the Gulf of Carpentaria; Queensland’s Holocene Indigenous fisheries; explorations of the deep history of Bass Strait; research into fire and vegetation change around Gariwerd; the interaction between people, climate, and water scarcity in relation to megafauna extinction; pollen research; dating techniques; and new research into people’s use of Cloggs Cave in eastern Victoria. Along with the Research Centre for Deep History, CABAH shows the growing interest in expanding our understanding of the deep past of Australia and its peoples. Thank you to Professor Lynette Russell and the CABAH team for allowing us to attend a fascinating week filled with new insights and connections. To find out more about CABAH, visit:
  • Swedish Research Council grant for Bruce Buchan, RDHP/RCDH's next visitor

    13th November, 2019

    The Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Program/Research Centre for Deep History team is very excited about the visit by Bruce Buchan, an intellectual historian, from Griffith University early next year. Bruce’s visit to the School of History was enabled by the generosity of the visiting fellowship scheme at the Research School of Social Sciences. Bruce and colleague, Linda Andersson Burnett, from Linnaeus University, have recently been awarded funding by the Swedish Research Council to undertaken a new four year project “Collecting Mankind: Prehistory, Race and Instructions for ‘Scientific Travellers’, circa 1750-1850”. This research project will be the first investigation of the emergence of the concept of race from a hitherto neglected transnational history of instructed scientific travel, collection, and museum displays of peoples deemed “prehistoric”. The project will explain why and how the amorphous Enlightenment concept of race hardened into categories of racial hierarchy at the same time as the notion of prehistory also began to take hold in European scientific thought before 1850. As Bruce commented on receiving news of the grant, “The timing could not be better”, given next year’s 250th commemoration of James Cook’s colonial legacy in the Pacific. He noted that overnight the British Government has been called the largest receiver of stolen goods in the world and that calls for apologies, reparations and compensation for slavery and colonial atrocities were mounting. The RDHP/RCDH team congratulate Bruce and Linda on this outstanding achievement and look forward to Bruce’s forthcoming visit.
  • The Research Centre for Deep History launched!

    30th October, 2019

    Over 80 people gathered in the The Lotus Hall to participate in the launch of the Research Centre for Deep History. In a warm Welcome to Country, Auntie Matilda House spoke about the value of Indigenous and women’s history. Auntie Matilda also spoke about the important shift in the scale of Australian history that the Research Centre would drive. She could see how it would support younger generations, including her three great grandsons, to know, learn and respect country and the depth of Indigenous history and knowledge. Vice Chancellor Professor Brian P. Schmidt officially launched the Research Centre, noting its national benefits and the way in which it would shape modern history as well as the histories of the deep human past. “The story of humanity is a shared story”, he noted, “and our narratives and deep histories reflect that”. Presentations followed by Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, and Professor Frank Bongiorno, Acting Director of the Research School of Social Sciences, and Head of the School of History. A statement from Professor Jaky Troy, the Chair of the Advisory Board, was read by one of the Research Centre’s team, Dr Laura Rademaker. Professor Troy applauded the Research Centre, because it would give “Indigenous people worldwide the opportunity to share knowledge, share histories that are documented in our minds, our landscapes, our music, our languages”. Finally, Professor Asmi Wood, Acting Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, spoke about continuing Indigenous sovereignty. “This always was and always will be Aboriginal land. History can inform those who have come later to be truthful and acknowledge what was here when European colonisers took these lands based on legal fictions”. A major initiative emerging from the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Program: Global Networks, Future Opportunities, the establishment of the Research Centre for Deep History was driven by the passion of its Director, Professor Ann McGrath. Professor McGrath had always wanted to push history beyond the constraints of conventional post-1770 accounts of Australia’s human history. The emerging field of “deep history” offers the opportunity to reframe the past through engagement with western and Indigenous science and storytelling for up to 65,000 years of settlement. The Research Centre will allow different kinds of historical imagination to operate, which in turn will benefit historians and the academy, including a plan to create an interactive digital ancient memory atlas. The launch had an outstanding show in the media. The news was covered across media platforms including two national newspapers, a national radio program, a NSW/ACT state-wide radio program, local television, and online. Here are some of them: WIN News, Canberra Times, The Australian, ANU News, and CASS News.
  • Good news for Collaborating Scholar, Tom Murray

    21st October, 2019

    Tom Murray, one of RDHP’s Collaborating Scholars, was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship last week. His project aims to change our understanding of Australian pre-colonial isolation by demonstrating Indigenous Australia's connection to South-East Asian cultural and trading networks. This project, re-enacting and documenting profound and centuries-old relationships between Indigenous Australia and Indonesia, will produce a series of films that will demonstrate this trading connection as a cultural route of World Heritage Status akin to other major trading routes such as the ‘Silk Road’. The project will record a collaborative, cross-cultural, documentary history of Australia’s very first international trading relationship, and produce insights into regional history with significant implications for understanding our present. Tom excels at presenting his research across different media. He is an academic and media producer based in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Much of his work has been in collaboration with Australian Indigenous communities. Tom’s documentaries have been selected for the world’s most prestigious film festivals. These works have won awards including the NSW Premier’s History Award and the Australian Directors Guild Award for best feature documentary. The RDHP Team congratulate Tom on this outstanding achievement and look forward to continuing our ongoing collaborations through the newly launched Research Centre for Deep History.
  • Research ethics with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians seminar: A review by Mike Jones

    8th October, 2019

    On Tuesday, 17 September 2019, together with RDHP Team members Ben Silverstein and Julie Rickwood, I attended a seminar focused on Research Ethics with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, co-hosted by the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, and the ANU Research Services Division. The seminar focused on the importance of reciprocity and the building of trust—ideas which should form the basis of all research, not only with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The first speaker was Professor Dennis Foley from the University of Canberra. Foley opened with some key questions: why do people want to research Aboriginal Australia; and what right do white people have to do this research? He continued with a brief tour of useful theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches, including grounded theory, critical theory, critical social theory, Lester-Irabinna Rigney’s ideas on Indigenist research, and the Indigenous standpoint model discussed by Aileen Moreton-Robinson and Martin Nakata, and by Foley in his own work. Of particular interest was the model he presented showing relationships between the physical, human, and sacred worlds and the ideas of Japanangka West, placed in the context of the ocean, land, sky, and stone, water, wind and forest. Though necessarily cautionary, Foley also encouraged both Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers to continue to engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He concluded with a call for work that is useful and relevant. The second presenter was Professor Michael Martin, Chair of ANU’s Human Research Ethics Committee. Martin covered a number of common issues and questions, including reminders that: there is no ‘low risk’ research in this space (though that doesn’t necessarily mean research is ‘high risk’); Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be involved as partners in the full research process, from design to outputs; and, there are many complexities involved in areas such as consultation, research agreements, use of cultural knowledge, and intellectual property which require careful consideration. Martin provided a number of useful references and links, from national requirements published by the ARC and NHMRC, to AIATSIS Guidelines (which have been under review and will be updated shortly) and Bevlyne Sithole’s ARPNet Dilly Bag. Throughout the presentations, and the questions and discussion which followed, there was a focus on Indigenous involvement—as leaders of and partners in research, not just as subjects or participants—providing evidence of a continuing and welcome shift in the perspectives and practices of research. Importantly, the RDHP Team has the benefit of its Advisory Committee, experienced researchers who offer the sage advice necessary to be at the forefront of this shift.
  • Good news for RDHP Advisory Committee Chair and Deputy Chair

    18th September, 2019

    Last week was all good news and congratulations on the RDHP Program. RDHP Advisory Committee Chair, Professor Jakelin Troy, was named one of the Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’. Jaky was recognised for her work on developing the Aboriginal Languages K-10 Syllabus for the Board of Studies NSW, including serving as lead writer of the Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Island Languages. Later this month, Jaky will be speaking at The University of Sydney’s Uluru Statement from the Heart event, Recognition and Renewal, being held at the Old Rum Store, Chippendale on Thursday 26 September. Professor Lynette Russell, Deputy Chair, was awarded both an ARC Laureate Fellowship and the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship. The project will examine 1,000 years of dynamic encounters between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and voyagers from the sea. Together with her role as Deputy Director of CABAH, Lynette’s new project will bring new insights into Australia’s deep history and be of great value to RDHP’s project. In late July, the Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting when Jaky and Lynette were appointed to their roles. The morning session focused on establishment arrangements and reporting on the program’s progress from RDHP’s director, Professor Ann McGrath, and postdoctoral researchers Laura Rademaker, Ben Silverstein and Mike Jones. The afternoon engaged all in a conversation on future directions, with guidance and advice from the committee who provided many thoughtful and valuable ideas. Overall, this first meeting of the Advisory Committee proved very fruitful, establishing a firm foundation for the governance and guidance of the RDHP Program and the Research Centre in the future.
  • RDHP’s Neil Brougham reviews Sacred Histories Symposium

    28th August, 2019

    The Sacred Histories Symposium, held on Friday 23 August, was co-hosted between the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past ARC Laureate Program (ANU) and the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University; co-convened by Dr Laura Rademaker (ANU) and Associate Professor Clare Monagle (Macquarie). The symposium set as its ambitious aim “to highlight the importance of recognising experiences that subjects experience or know as ‘sacred’ in the historical record”, and in particular to experiment with “dangerous” or “radically cross-cultural histories” in which the sacred might illuminate the “histories of different peoples and places”. Ultimately, the symposium would not deliver its aim – for it rarely attempted a definition of the sacred, nor its embodiment in practice, and said little that was cogent about the history of (forms of) the sacred as such – but it did deliver something equally provoking and important: how contestations over the sacred – be it sacred ground, sacred buildings, sacred trees, sacred people or gods etc. – was a schematic of colonial encounters and a propaedeutic for historical discourse. In this context, what the symposium actually materialised was not a deeper understanding of the sacred, but rather how the power-relations inherent in competing views of the sacred are manifested in time – and primarily within colonial time – and, importantly, begged the question of the “sacred” right to theorize about “the other” from the position of oneself. It is important to note that Len Collard and Laura Rademaker were unable to attend; their late (unexpected) withdrawals no doubt had an impact on the proceedings. But despite not bringing the sacred any closer to comprehension as such (i.e. as a felt or explicitly defined aspect of experience), the symposium presented nuanced and intelligent papers on the contestations of the sacred in time; and the forthright question-and-answer sessions left none in doubt that sacred sensitivities had been breached! The keynote speaker, Donovan Schaefer, delivered a sermon on the “schisis” (schism) of religion and secularism in late 17th century based on the construction of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, to excise rowdy disputations from the sombre surrounds of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin – a schisis whose foundation was one predominantly of affect: of a variation in emotions pertaining to the sacred, and a desire to keep them separate. The theme of (schism of) sacred affect would permeate the symposium: Notre Dame’s burning and the multi-million dollar pledges for its immediate reconstruction was compared to the (slated) destruction of the Djab Wurrung trees near Ararat for the construction of a highway, which has gone almost unnoticed (Clare Monagle); the stability of Nyungar virtues in deep time, demonstrated to descend from sacred Nyungar knowledge (Aileen Walsh), formed a stark contrast to the capitalist juggernaut which has destroyed the planet’s ecosystem in mere centuries; while the “encounter of laws” – that of Aboriginal law derived from country and monotheistic law inherent to Christianity – produced a torrid colonial frontier experience of contested sacrality (Joanna Cruickshank), one whose reconciliation Katherine Massam considered possible - at least at a local level - through collaborative liturgical expression of the memory of the death and rebirth of Jesus and the palliative of syncretic religion. The symposium closed with a lively presentation by Shannon Foster, whose presentation title – the “Rematriation of her story” – pointed directly to the schism it intended to address: the inequity of gender relations, a fight for the female voice which became, ultimately, a fight for the substantive earth (Mother Earth). This was followed by a showing of the short film Devil’s country (Juanita Ruys). The film opened with a white, British ultra-marathon-runner admitting he was perennially afraid of the Australian bush, and closed with a barrage of questions and comments from the symposium audience – particularly its non-Caucasian members – about appropriate engagement with Indigenous people in the production of documentary items (be they writing, video, sound, art, etc.) containing their voices and, by implication, their view of the sacred. That schism would be the predominant theme in a symposium supposedly about the sacred is curious, but not unexpected: be it based on emotions (affect) or concepts, the experience and expression of the sacred comes out differently for different people and different cultures – which is what gives the sacred its historical trajectory (and, perhaps, its actual sacrality). Syncretism notwithstanding it is hard to fold the forms of the sacred into one another, and it is hard to fold them together into a conception of the sacred in general, or into a history without antinomies. This leaves one wondering whether reconciliation between factions of the sacred is, in fact, possible at all, or if the history of the sacred will not turn necessarily into histories of power relations. This would be too defeatist (and too Marxist?), however, and is not what the symposium intended. Ultimately, new conceptions of history are required (probably ones that deal with the constitutive aspects of the sacred in experience itself) that escape the regress into a descriptive of power dynamics. In this sense the symposium restated, but did not entirely, meet its aim; but it did demonstrate the attempt was fraught with danger and well worthy of attempt. But above all one was left with the feeling that many people do care, and actively engage, in the right of others to have their own form of the sacred, and that such forms ought to (and can?) exist contemporaneously. True, we do not yet know how to reconcile in the substantive sense our views of the sacred – in policy, gender relations, decisions over sacred objects and places, in the academic literature and the writing of histories, etc., the ground will remain contested – but that a mixed audience could come together, listen to expertly presented seminars on the histories of the sacred, and pose forthright and highly pertinent questions and objections, is critical. To this end, Laura Rademaker and Claire Monagle are to be commended for conceiving of a novel approach toward history and the sacred, packaging it into a public symposium full of high quality and interpenetrating presentations, and delivering a vibrant and engaging program.
  • Book Launch in search of the Never Never

    14th August, 2019

    On Wednesday, 7 August, many gathered at the Northern Territory Library to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplished historian, Mickey Dewar through the publication of RDHP’s Ann McGrath edited collection In Search of the Never Never: Mickey Dewar: Champion of History Across Many Genres. The well attended event included several of Mickey Dewar’s family members. Joining Ann at the gathering were RDHP Advisory Committee Deputy Chair, Professor Lynette Russell, and Emeritus Professor David Carment who crafted very fitting speeches in honour of Mickey’s work and the publication. Lynette Russell, who officially launched the book, noted the excellence of Mickey Dewar’s book on Northern Territory literature, predicting that in its republished Ebook form, it would be widely read by numerous interested students, scholars and members of the public around the world and have the impact that it deserved. As described in the publication, Mickey Dewar made a profound contribution to the history of the Northern Territory, which she performed across many genres. She produced high-quality, memorable and multi-sensory histories, including the Cyclone Tracy exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and the reinterpretation of Fannie Bay Gaol. Informed by a great love of books, her passion for history was infectious
  • Sarah Yu visits RDHP Program

    5th August, 2019

    Sarah Yu, Special Projects Officer with Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd and one of RDHP’s Collaborating Scholars, visited during late July. As an anthropologist, Sarah has worked on several native title claims and produced several Indigenous Protected Areas plans, including the award-winning Yawuru Cultural Management Plan. Sarah has also curated a number of exhibitions, including the award-winning Lustre: Pearling & Australia. Sarah spent time during her visit consulting with RDHP team members and staff in the School of History, and working on her doctoral project on pearling heritage in the Kimberley. The team enjoyed a presentation from Sarah on her engaging thesis, Window to the Soul: pearlshell, pearling and saltwater country. Transcultural perspectives of pearling and its heritage in the Dampierland region, north-western Australia. RDHP look forward to her returning visit later in the year.
  • Laura Rademaker Shortlisted for New South Wales Premier’s History Award

    1st August, 2019

    Laura Rademaker, postdoctoral member of the RDHP program, has been shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s History Award for her book Found in translation: Many meanings on a north Australian mission’, published in April 2018. These are the comments from the Judges: “Found in Translation explores the Anindilyakwa people’s interactions with Christian missionaries on Groote Eylandt in the mid-1900s. Laura Rademaker demonstrates how members of the Church Missionary Society sought to change these north Australian people’s beliefs by teaching them English and translating the Bible into their language – and changed themselves in the process. While demonstrating the missionaries’ impact, Rademaker also shows how the Anindilyakwa exploited their movement between languages, using creative interpretations and mis-translations to assert agency. Functioning both as a metaphor and a focus for concrete historical investigation, Rademaker’s interest in translation proves an inspired choice. While delving into the specifics of intercultural contact on Groote Eylandt, this generous interdisciplinary work thoughtfully illuminates wider themes. Readers will learn about the history of missions, mid-century assimilation policy, the phenomenon of settler colonialism and an Indigenous people’s efforts to negotiate its impact – all while appreciating Rademaker’s dazzling use of oral history and glowing prose.” Laura’s publication is in competition with two other publications: Taking Liberty: Indigenous Rights and Settler Self-Government in Colonial Australia, 1830-1890 by Ann Curthoys and Jessie Mitchell and The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History by Meredith Lake. The New South Wales Premier Award is a highly competitive, nationally recognised award. The winning publication will be announced on 30 August, with the author receiving $15,000.
  • Congratulations Naomi Appleby!

    23rd July, 2019

    The RDHP team wishes to congratulate Naomi Appleby on her well-deserved selection as one of the National Museum of Australia’s 2019 Encounter Fellows and to wish her all the best as she commences this program. Naomi Appleby is the first of our ANU Laureate Program’s (RDHP’s) Aspiring Future Leaders. Naomi is a Karajarri Yawuru woman working as the Project Coordination Officer for Future Acts & Heritage and Land & Sea at Nyamba Buru Yawuru in Broome, Western Australia. In February this year, Naomi participated in the National Library of Australia’s Oral History Training workshop at Nyamba Buru Yawuru, in a collaboration with RDHP, the Yawuru Deep History Project. She interviewed her mother Dianne, a key Indigenous knowledge holder who has been championing language training. Naomi will be undertaking further training and mentoring as part of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Program, with her first mentoring visit to take place in December.
  • RDHP team member Josh Newham awarded – twice!

    17th July, 2019

    Josh Newham, a PhD student in the ANU School of History’s Rediscovering the Deep Human Past (RDHP) Laureate Program received two awards for his 2018 Honours Thesis at La Trobe University last week. Josh received both the Richard Broome Indigenous History Prize, awarded to the highest mark for an Honours thesis on an Indigenous theme from any region of the world; and the Allan Martin Prize, awarded for the best interdisciplinary Honours thesis from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Josh’s Honours thesis was entitled ‘An Enduring Blindness: Colonial Myopia and Indigenous Agency in the Burragorang Valley’ and combined a traditional historical essay structure exploring early contact histories with interspersed chapters of creative writing to evoke a sense of place, connection, loss and shared history in the region. The Burragorang Valley, now Lake Burragorang is an area of enduring interest today as the NSW state government is considering raising the Warragamba Dam wall, further inundating 1,000 hectares of World Heritage listed wilderness and drowning hundreds of significant Aboriginal sites, beyond those lost previously when the Warragamba Dam was initially completed in 1960 to ensure the city of Sydney’s ongoing water needs were met. Josh hopes to continue to engage with and challenge the enduring legacies of Australia’s colonial past through his research into the deep history of Aboriginal occupation of South Eastern New South Wales, including the Burragorang and the Canberra region, with the RDHP team at ANU.
  • 'Sacred Histories' Symposium

    25th June, 2019

    ANU’s History Dr Laura Rademaker will be co-convening the Sacred Histories Symposium with Clare Monagle (Macquarie University). The Symposium will examine the use of sacred ideas as a means of legitimacy conduct throughout history and will be held on Friday, 23 August from 2pm in the Menzies library. Speakers will include: Donovan Schaefer (Keynote), Laura Rademaker, Clare Monagle, Aileen Walsh, Katharine Massam, Joanna Cruickshank, Louise D’Arcens, Juanita Feros Ruys and Sally Treloyn. You can find more information about the event [here]( If you have any questions please contact [Laura]( directly.
  • Laura Rademaker Shortlisted for Award

    19th June, 2019

    The RDHP team is delighted that Postdoctoral Fellow, Laura Rademaker’s publication, Found in Translation: Many meanings on a North Australian Mission, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Book Award. The shortlisted books for 2019 are: • Found in Translation: Many meanings on a North Australian Mission by Laura Rademaker • Northern Dreams: The Politics of Northern Development in Australia by Lyndon Megarrity • Teaching "proper" drinking? Clubs and pubs in Indigenous Australia by Maggie Brady You can read more about this year’s submissions and the shortlist via The winner will be announced at the Award ceremony on Tuesday 2 July, 12pm – 1pm at the Northern Territory Library.
  • Film screening: ‘Occupation: Native’

    11th June, 2019

    ANU recently marked National Reconciliation Week with a number of events. As part of this celebration, on 29 May the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Reconciliation Committee hosted a well-attended special screening of the film ‘[Occupation: Native](’, directed by Anmatyerr filmmaker Trisha Morton-Thomas. The screening was introduced by Ben Silverstein, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the RDHP project. He spoke about his work on colonial and Indigenous histories, including research on the deep history of Indigenous peoples, which resonated with the National Reconciliation Week 2019 theme of ‘Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage’. ‘Occupation: Native’ provides new understandings of Australian history, from an Aboriginal point of view. The film inspires pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as the oldest living continuing cultures on the planet, and supports audiences to acknowledge the strength they have demonstrated in the face of colonial injustices.
  • Decolonizing Oral Histories: Reframing and restorying the past in Aboriginal Australia

    7th June, 2019

    On Tuesday 16 April, Wesleyan University’s Indigenous Studies Research Network hosted its annual symposium, with the theme ‘Decolonizing Oral Histories: A Symposium on Reframing and Restorying the Past in Aboriginal Australia’. This year, the two speakers were RDHP advisory committee member Lorina Barker, of the University of New England, and RDHP Postdoctoral Fellow Ben Silverstein. At this well attended event, Ben delivered a paper titled ‘Eventful Histories: Narrating the Deep Past in Broome, Western Australia’, which approached the deep past by turning to think with and through Yawuru historical narration. The paper considered some of the ways this past might be populated and eventful in ways that condense meaning, reflecting on the implications of working with a past that is in intimate relation with people today.
  • The Devil's Country screening

    4th June, 2019

    [Devil's Country Trailer]( from [Digital Media Unit]( on Vimeo. The Devil's Country will be screened at the Sacred Histories symposium on Friday, 23 August 2019.
  • Professor Ann McGrath appointed the W K Hancock Professor of History

    29th May, 2019

    Congratulations to Professor Ann McGrath who has been named the W K Hancock Professor of History at the ANU School of History College of Arts and Social Sciences. Professor McGrath is the Director of the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Program, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Academy of Humanities and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2017, recognising her significant contribution to Indigenous history and education as academic and researcher. Her 2015 book 'Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia' received the NSW Premiers History Prize. As the next W.K. Hancock Professor of History, Professor McGrath will hold the title for a period of 5 years.
  • RDHP Team Members join celebration of a local deep history stone axe quarry

    29th May, 2019

    RDHP Team members Josh Newham and Julie Rickwood attended a ceremony to celebrate the gazettal of the Millpost Stone Axe Quarry as an Aboriginal Place with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage on Tuesday 21 May. Located between Queanbeyan and Bungendore, Millpost is a family run farm whose owners, Judith Turley and David Watson, were recently made aware that their property was also once the site of an Aboriginal quarry. Evidence on site suggests that local indigenous people harvested the abundant metadolerite from an exposed hilltop on the property for thousands of years, working the stone into axe blanks before grinding the edges sharp on sandstone outcrops found in the creek system below. Elders and members of the Ngunnawal community were in attendance, as well as members of the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), local landholders, and staff and students from the ANU community, including members of the School of Archaeology. The event began with a Welcome to Country, which was followed by talks from Ngambri and Ngunnawal Elders Matilda House and Wally Bell, OEH archaeologist Dave Johnston, and Mill Post owners Judith Turley and David Watson, all focussing on the collaborative nature of the project to have the site gazetted, and the importance of the site and the history it represented for local communities. The gathered crowd then ascended the hill to view the quarry site and see its significance in the local landscape, with further guidance from Dave Johnston. They then descended for a celebratory afternoon tea. Further collaborative study into the site will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team from the ANU collaborating with traditional custodians and landowners.
  • RDHP’s activities and initiatives highlighted in latest CASS RAP Newsletter

    28th May, 2019

    **Indigenous Training Program** While doing fieldwork in Broome in February 2019 members of the RDHP Team held the first Indigenous Training Workshop at [Nyamba Buru Yaruwu]( With the support of the [National Library of Australia](, the Senior Curator of Oral History and Indigenous Programs, Shirleene Robinson, led workshops and hands-on exercises in quality oral history recording. **Indigenous Mentoring Program** Naomi Appleby is a Karajarri Yawuru woman working as the Project Coordination Officer for Future Acts & Heritage and Land & Sea at Nyamba Buru Yawuru. Naomi also participated in the NLA Oral History Training workshop and will undertake further training and mentoring, including at the ANU, in the future. **Harvard Opportunity for PhD Scholar** In April, Aileen Marwung Walsh, joined other members of the RDHP Team, Professor Ann McGrath, Dr Ben Silverstein and Dr Laura Rademaker, at two scholarly events held at Harvard University. Aileen attended the ‘Postcolonial Tensions’ workshop, convened by Gabriela Soto Laveaga and Warwick Anderson held on 12-13 April. On 15 April she attended ‘Deep Historicities: Indigenous Knowledges and the Science of Deep Time’ co-convened by RDHP Team members Laura Rademaker and Ben Silverstein, and Daniel Lord Smail of the Harvard History Department. Her presentation, drawn from her paper, “Time in Deep Time: When does historical evidence become deep human history?”, received a warm response, especially from discussant Dan Smail. Aileen said of the trip, “I’ve been to many conferences and seminars over the years, but the interdisciplinarity and especially the high number of Indigenous academic participants made these seminars the best I have had the pleasure to take part in.”
  • Aileen Walsh: Another scholarship, another conference

    13th May, 2019

    RDHP PhD student [Aileen Marwung Walsh]( has received a full scholarship for the [Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research]( at the University of Melbourne. The residential commences in July 2019 and Aileen looks forward to meeting fellow Indigenous postgraduates and discussing the problems that abound in Indigenous research contexts. Aileen was also recently accepted to deliver a paper at the [Encounters & Exchanges conference in New Zealand](, with accommodation bursaries. This will be another opportunity for Aileen to meet other Indigenous people working within the interface of Indigenous and European sciences. Below is her abstract. *An Indigenous Science of Virtues*: The role of virtues language for the healthy maintenance of country has not before been considered. Research on ‘caring for country’ abounds, but the practical and necessary application of virtues is missing. I argue, it is virtues towards country that have enabled Aboriginal cultures to maintain and sustain a healthy relationship with country and thus nurture a country that flourished for over 50, 000 years, until colonisation. Using ethnographic and descriptive materials of Aboriginal people from Daisy Bates and other colonisers, my research links the role of virtues with the work of Bill Gammage’s The Biggest Estate on Earth and Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu. The study of virtues is generally relegated to the disciplines of philosophy and religion, yet, as the discipline of psychology has discovered, virtues are necessary for human physical and emotional well-being. Virtues are the means by which humans stay safe. Europeans stopped applying virtues to country a long time ago and consequently, the uglier emotions of greed and fear have flourished leading to the ruination of the planet. A consideration of virtues language in relation to country needs to be considered in a systematic, perhaps scientific way because virtues need to be balanced. It is the balance of virtues between humans and country and between humans individually and culturally. In other news, Growing up Aboriginal in Australia continues to sell nationwide. The book contains childhood stories of family, country and belong. Aileen is one of the contributors and you can purchase the book at [Black Ink. Books]( or [Amazon (#1 Best Seller in Essays)]( Aileen’s chapter answers the question of what is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? The anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, showcases many diverse voices, experiences and stories in order to answer that question. This ground breaking collection will enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today. Contributors include: Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many, many more.
  • New members appointed to the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Team

    9th May, 2019

    The Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Program (RDHP) Team is now complete with the recent appointment of [Dr Mike Jones]( as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Mike will be starting with us on 1 July. Earlier in the year, Josh Newham and Neil Brougham were awarded special RDHP Laureate PhD scholarships. Both have already been involved in team meetings and doctoral training workshops, while also undertaking preliminary research for their PhD theses. We’d like to introduce them. **Mike Jones** is an historian, archivist, and collections consultant. In December 2018 he completed his History PhD at the University of Melbourne's School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. His thesis, Documenting artefacts and archives in the relational museum, is an interdisciplinary exploration of the interconnectedness of archives and museum collections, and the recent history of how collections-based knowledge (particularly related to anthropological and ethnographic collections) is conceptualised, captured, and managed by large collecting institutions. Prior to joining ANU Mike spent more than a decade at the eScholarship Research Centre, working on and leading community-focused projects related to the history of science, archival description, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and data, digital humanities, and digital public history. During this time he has been actively involved in archival, museum, and digital humanities communities, and has published and presented widely in Australia and internationally. On his appointment, Mike said “I am thrilled to be joining the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Program, and look forward to working with a great team. I’m particularly interested in working with communities to explore how digital technologies can be used to capture and represent complex historical narratives, expanding and deepening the scale and scope of Australian history in innovative, exciting ways.” **Josh Newham** is an historian, poet, artist and educator with a background in community work and outdoor education. A recent Honours graduate of La Trobe University in Melbourne, his thesis was an interdisciplinary analysis of the contact narratives of early exploration in the Southern Blue Mountains. This research in turn provided various hints of pre-1788 connections between Aboriginal cultures across the South East of New South Wales; from the Burragorang Valley in the Blue Mountains to the Monaro Plains and Snowy Mountains in the South, and from the Great Dividing Range in the West to the Pacific Coast. Mapping the various pathways of these connections has become the goal of Josh’s doctoral thesis and he is in the process of building networks and relationships with Aboriginal organisations, community and family historians and landholders across these regions. Prior to joining ANU Josh travelled and lived in various areas of Australia’s East coast, including several years spent in the ACT. His undergraduate and Honours years at La Trobe University combined research in History, Creative Writing, Literature Studies and a Diploma of Languages (Spanish). He is particularly interested in writing histories and narratives of place, and is excited to explore new and creative methodologies for the writing of Deep History. “As an historian, the RDHP Laureate Program is a dream come true for me. There is nowhere else I would prefer to be, and no other work I would prefer to be doing. The Program, and Deep History as a practice more generally, provides the opportunity to engage respectfully with Aboriginal cultures, their knowledge and their ongoing history of connection to place in the land we call Australia. I’m honoured and excited to have the opportunity to do so”, Josh added. **Neil Brougham** is another of the RDHP Laureate Program’s PhD scholars. Prior to commencing in the RDHP Laureate Program, Neil worked as a liaison officer with the Northern Land Council, working with the Aboriginal community of Kakadu National Park. Prior to this Neil was a Park Ranger for six years; first in various locations across South Australia, then a three-year stint as Chief Ranger of Millstream-Chichester National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Neil also did other miscellaneous things: working as an English teacher in South Korea and studying ethnobotany in South America, among others. Neil has a strong interest in mythology as it appears in its many forms globally, but in particular in Australia. His doctoral thesis builds on from his recently completed Honours thesis (Flinders University), looking at the way in which Aboriginal mythology can be utilised as primary data for historical reconstruction. Specifically, Neil’s thesis will focus on the mythological canon of Pilbara Aboriginal nations and the manner in which this canon records and expresses the spiritual, social, environmental, and political development of this region over time. On his appointment, Neil said “I am very excited to join the RDHP Program and begin articulating ideas that have preoccupied my thinking now for several years”.
  • White grief, happy friendship: Jane Goodale and emotional anthropological research

    17th February, 2019

    Abstract: 'In the 1950s, anthropologist Jane Goodale had bright hopes for her informant Happy Cook, an Aboriginal girl from the Tiwi Islands in North Australia, who she considered constrained by paternalistic government policies. Goodale was devastated witnessing Cook’s suffering over following decades. Looking at Goodale’s feelings of friendship turned to grief over the second half of the twentieth century, this article reveals a crisis of self-understanding among researchers in late twentieth-century Australia. This grief, originally private for Goodale, became increasingly public and performed in white anthropologists’ discourse as they wrote on Aboriginal communities’ experience. Goodale later concluded that this supposedly new era was, in many ways, similar to what had come before, a conclusion that brought on a grief shared by many of her generation. Her experience reveals how ethnographers’ subjective dilemmas and their performances of anti-racism through friendship shifted as they entered what they hoped to be a post-colonial context.' [Download the free PDF at Taylor and Francis Online](
  • Laura Rademaker's new quest to awaken sleeping Indigenous languages

    11th February, 2019

    ANU School of History's Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Laura Rademaker has been featured in the latest edition of Canberra's *City News*. Dr Rademaker discusses the influence a trip to Chile had on her as an undergraduate student and her new quest to awaken sleeping Indigenous languages. You can read the article here: []( Dr Rademaker also recently released a new book, *Found in Translation: Many Meanings on a North Australian Mission* which was published by the University of Hawaii Press.
  • The elimination of Aboriginal languages and the legacy of colonisation

    21st January, 2019

    '2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. But the state of Australia's Indigenous languages is not good. Of the 250 or so languages spoken here when colonisation began, less than half are still spoken. Only 13 could be considered "strong" ― that is, they are still being spoken by children. Throughout history, languages have always risen to prominence or faded away as people groups move and grow. Some might ask, then, why worry about the relative strength or even the passing of Indigenous languages?' Read [the full article at](
  • Why do so few Aussies speak an Australian language?

    18th January, 2019

    'Linguistically speaking, Australia is special. With around 250 languages spoken when Australia was first colonised, Australia was one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world. But few people speak our Indigenous languages. As of 2016, only 10% of Australia’s Indigenous population spoke an Indigenous language at home. Most Indigenous languages are now “asleep”, waiting to be woken up by language revivalists. Australian languages did not simply fade away; they were actively silenced by governments, schools and missions.' Read [the full article on The Conversation](
  • ARC research on the deep human past inspires a musical response

    18th December, 2018

    "In 2018, ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow, Professor Ann McGrath, a historian at The Australian National University (ANU), was contacted by the New York-based composer, Dr Andreia Pinto Correia, to initiate a creative collaboration that would unite their two worlds, and celebrate the ancient landscapes of Australia with a new musical composition. The idea of a creative collaboration was sparked in 2014, when Dr Correia and Professor McGrath met and shared ideas during their month-long residencies at the Rockefeller Centre, Bellagio—a foundation that serves to bring scholars and artists together for creative exchanges that aim towards human advancement—situated on the shores of the idyllic Lake Como, in northern Italy. In her compositions, Dr Correia draws upon her Portuguese heritage, deep knowledge of its folk traditions and historic places, and her insights into European literature, intellectual traditions and languages. Dr Correia has composed unique pieces for leading orchestras, ensembles and solo artists internationally, including a symphony performed at the Tanglewood Music Centre, major pieces for the Boston Symphony orchestra and other orchestras around the world." Read [the full article on the ARC website](
  • Aileen Marwung Walsh in The Conversation - Friday essay: back to Moore River and finding family

    18th December, 2018

    Exercept from Aileen Marwung Walsh, Laureate PhD student's piece titled *Friday essay: back to Moore River and finding family*: "Untangling the web that is the history of the stolen generations is a very satisfying process. In October, I went to the Centenary Memorial gathering at Mogumber, on the site of the Moore River Native Settlement, about 130 km north of Perth. The memorial was a commemoration of a tragedy that is part of the history of apartheid in Australia. The Moore River Native Settlement is a large part of many Aboriginal people’s family histories, all over Western Australia. People were sent there from the Kimberley and the Pilbara, from the Western Desert and the south west. Doris Pilkington’s book [Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence]( is the most well known story of Moore River but there are thousands of others, including that of my grandparents. The settlement was established in 1918 as a solution to the Aboriginal problem, as perceived by colonists. There were too many Aboriginal people “wandering about” WA, usually on reserves near ration depots where they received flour and blankets. The colonists did not want to see them. Plus A.O. Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, had a plan to breed out the black of the Aborigines so they would not be Aboriginal anymore. The full bloods would die out and the half castes would blend in. Neville laid out clearly how he would do this in his book [Australia’s Coloured Minority](" View the [full article published in The Conversation]( and [republished on SBS NITV](
  • Researchers join at ANU to explore ways of viewing the past

    12th December, 2018

    Speakers from around Australia and the world have recently come together at ANU for the Deep Human Past’s Inaugural International Symposium. The symposium was convened by Professor Ann McGrath and Dr Laura Rademaker from ANU School of History, and ANU alumna Professor Jaky Troy, Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at University of Sydney. Professor McGrath and Dr Rademaker are part of the ARC Laureate Program for the Deep Human Past at ANU, an ambitious project aiming to change the way we understand pre-colonial history of Australia and beyond. Bringing together talents from across a variety of disciplines including history, linguistics, the arts, anthropology and philosophy as well as experienced Indigenous practitioners, the symposium explored the various ways history is conceived and recorded. The symposium was opened by Professor Richard Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience), and Tyronne Bell, who offered the Welcome to Country. Professor Jacky Troy delivered a keynote, offering a personal perspective on Indigenous exploration of place and time. Dr Catherine Frieman from ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology delivered a presentation on the temporality of archaeological narratives, while Dr Rademaker touched on themes in her new book Found in Translation looking at Aboriginal and missionary conventions. The symposium also heralded a unique collaboration between the research schools of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, with leading international composer Andreia Pinto Correia appointed a joint visitor. Based in the ANU School of Music, where she shared her professional insights with students, Andreia composed an original flute piece entitled Pleistocene Landscapes in honour of Professor McGrath’s work. The piece interpreted the changing sands of time with a particular emphasis on the Lake Mungo region. Inspired by a place Andreia had then seen only in the film Message from Mungo proved a creative challenge for the experienced composer. But embracing the challenges, she produced a unique piece, making creative use of extended technique on the flute, to produce sounds and rhythms evocative of wind, and the movement of the grains of sand, to evoke a place of deep history and a long civilization. In its stunning world premiere, Pleistocene landscapes was performed on alto-flute by Canberra musician Kiri Sollis, of the Griffyn Ensemble.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow position available

    3rd December, 2018

    The Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) at ANU provides a dynamic research environment; it undertakes research and education across several disciplines to the highest international levels. The School of History is seeking a highly capable and self-motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on the 2017 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship for research on ‘Rediscovering the Deep Human Past: Global Networks, Future Opportunities’. This project will launch an innovative research initiative, The Deep History Research Centre, an Australian-based international consortium in partnership with Harvard and Cambridge centres, which will make a significant impact on global scholarship. The appointee will be located in the School of History within RSSS. The full description, requirements, and application can be found [on the original position listing](
  • Workshop on Indigenous Histories

    1st November, 2018

    Developing new methodologies for researching and recounting histories that reckon with the long duration of Indigenous life on, in, and of this land is at the heart of the ARC Laureate Project *Rediscovering the Deep Human Past*. The field of Indigenous histories has long been at the forefront of disciplinary shifts and challenges, both through embracing diverse archives and appreciating them from and in relation to Indigenous perspectives, of overturning older understandings of history. These practices have produced rich possibilities for historical transformation. From commitments to decolonisation, to practicing history in the field, to engaging seriously with Indigenous knowledges, the field has been characterised by multidisciplinary research practice which, at its best, engages creatively without appropriating unquestionable authority over Indigenous pasts. We facilitated the first Kathleen Fitzpatrick Workshop of the ARC Laureate Program, at University House at the ANU on 26 September, to provide an opportunity to think about and work on some of these new methodologies in Indigenous histories. We brought together some established researchers with about twenty promising early career scholars who are doing innovative work in Indigenous histories; some working with a long duration, some with unconventional sources, some with unexpected connections and places. After welcomes and introductions from Professor Ann McGrath and Dr Ben Silverstein, we discussed methodological possibilities, as well problems and blockages, in new research being carried out across the field. Ann McGrath introduced the problem of carrying out research into deep time history, inviting the delegates to be part of the journey into new research methods that were collaborative, risky, transdisciplinary, and multivocal, and which seek urgently to widen the scale and scope of Australian history. Dr Laurie Bamblett led a discussion on methods of questioning and learning in Aboriginal communities, considering ways of approaching people ethically and responsibly, and of carrying out research that was faithful to their expectations and understandings. Dr Maria Nugent turned our attention from the process of gathering stories to that of working with them, engaging the difficult responsibilities of the historian in engaging with archives and oral histories. And finally, Professor Jaky Troy discussed the ways of working with archives in projects of language revival and resurgence, along with Mujahid Torwali who spoke on his work revitalising the Torwali language of Pakistan. In the concluding discussion we returned to the problems of searching for, and our responsibility to, truth. This was a question that had recurred throughout the day, along with the matter of how historians might engage with the varied histories and history-making practices of Aboriginal people that often challenge the way the disciplines have represented the Australian past. These questions remain unresolved, providing us with much to consider and work on over the life of the Laureate project. We’re looking forward to further collaborations with the many talented researchers who attended the day.
  • New book ‘Found in Translation’ launched at ANU

    18th October, 2018

    ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, and University Council Member Mr Peter Yu, have launched *Found in Translation*, the new book from historian Dr Laura Rademaker. Dr Rademaker, a researcher in the ANU School of History and part of the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Project, explores in the book language and cultural interactions between Christian missions and Indigenous Australians. Her book focuses on the experiences of the Aboriginal community of Groote Eylandt, from the establishment of the Angurugu Mission in 1943. Through innovative research and remarkable engagement with local communities, she has produced an account of cultures persevering and cultures colliding. Speaking at the launch Mr Yu, a Yawuru Man from Broome in the Kimberley with over 35 years of experience in Indigenous development and advocacy, described the book as “mandatory reading.” Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt praised the book for exemplifying the Australian National University’s deep commitment to Indigenous issues and community engagement. Dr Rademaker has more recently been working on the Deep Human Past project, a new initiative in the ANU School of History aiming to explore Aboriginal narratives, and bringing new and deeper understanding to Australia’s pre-1788 history. She is also conducting research for a future book looking at Aboriginal experiences in the Tiwi Islands. Dr Rademaker studied History at ANU, completed her Bachelor of Philosophy with 1st Class Honours and the University Medal for History. She subsequently completed her PhD at ANU, and was awarded the 2014 J.G. Crawford Medal for her Thesis ‘Language and Translation.’ Found in Translation is available now and is published by [University of Hawaii Press](
  • Deep Human History Laureate PhD Scholarship

    17th October, 2018

    The School of History in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences offers two scholarships known as the Deep Human History Laureate PhD Scholarship, to support students while they undertake a PhD in Indigenous Australian history at the Australian National University. The scholarships are associated with the Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Program. This research project explores Aboriginal narratives in order to develop a deeper understanding of Australia's pre-1788 history. In order to achieve our research aims, our project methodology will involve holding community workshops, repatriating important stories, and undertaking individual oral history interviews with participants. Postgraduate students will concentrate on a particular regional Focus Area and will address the recuperation of knowledge from linguistic and museum collections and undertake reconnection and repatriation with custodians in connected landscapes. Focus Area research and Symposium development will be matched to the particular areas of expertise, interest and networks of the recruit. Futher information is [available on the application page](
  • Time immemorial? Dates, history and the deep human past

    3rd October, 2018

    The concept of time immemorial has poetic resonance, but it also has legal and historical import, dating back to Blackstone's commentaries on the Laws of England in the eighteenth century. This lecture discusses its uses by the Cherokee in the United States in the 1830s and in more recent Australian cases. Although Australia's Indigenous past has often been referred to as 'timeless', new archaeological research is delivering a series of hard dates, as well as evidence of inventions and dynamism. [Hear it on SoundCloud](
  • ANU History Scholar Awarded Nugget Coombs Scholarship

    17th September, 2018

    ANU School of History PhD student Aileen Marwung Walsh has been awarded a Nugget Coombs Scholarship. The Nugget Coombs Indigenous Australian Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate and graduate Australian Indigenous students, to support fieldwork and research. Aileen came to ANU in 2018 after receiving one of three new Deep Human History Laureate PhD Scholarships. Her work forms part of the [Deep Human History project](, an effort to transform the scale and scope of history, and to analyse Australia’s epic Indigenous narratives alongside new scientific evidence, to create a new and expansive understanding of the history of Greater Australia and Sahul. “The deep human time project is pushing the historiographical boundaries by using evidence that is not text based. The rules governing the types of evidence that historians can use to support historical narratives has been text based since the inception of Western history,” Aileen says of the project’s aims. “The importance of the discipline of history to realise its potential as a discipline that can include everything, including knowledge from other humanities and science disciplines means that there is a possibility of generating a larger and greater world view that makes the world more comprehensible and should not be underestimated by the discipline. Knowledge for its own sake is inadequate. Knowledge creation or generation to understand reality, especially to understand how we got here, is I suggest an important purpose of life. With the Nugget Coombs Scholarship, Aileen will conduct fieldwork in Spinifex country, examining the rules around transmitting knowledge. “Aboriginal people have been able to maintain knowledge that has been proven to be correct and true for up to 7000 years in some places. That means that knowledge has been passed down and through many more thousands of generations of Aboriginal people without written texts.” Examination of such knowledge and its longevity, challenges historical notions of Indigenous knowledge of the past as mere mythology. New research has highlighted the accuracy of stories dating back thousands of years. “The relationship between Aboriginal people and place is thus very long in the minds of Aboriginal people and very strong because it is still remembered. Connection to country then is not just some mystical feeling or association, but a very strong genealogical relationship physically and philosophically.”
  • International Federation for Research in Women's History 2018

    8th August, 2018

    Dr Laura Rademaker represents Australia in Vancouver, Canada at the International Federation for Research in Women's History AGM 2018 conference with 'Dormitory Girls - Indigenous girlhood and sexuality in cross-crultural translation' under Translating Agency: Gender, Sexuality, and Domesticity in Global Missionary Projects. [Further information is available](
  • Language Acts and Worldmaking grant awarded to Project

    31st July, 2018

    The Deepening Histories Laureate Centre has been awarded a grant from the Languages Acts and Worldmaking project based at Kings College, London, for our upcoming symposium 'Understanding the Deep Past across Languages and Culture' on 27-28 September. The grant is an international grant and is funded by the AHRC Open World Research initiative. More information can be found on their website - [](
  • Launch of ‘Rediscovering the Deep Human Past’

    6th April, 2018

    **Rediscovering the Deep Human Past Laureate Launched** Prof Ann McGrath’s new Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate programme was launched by Prof Raelene Francis, Dean of CASS, on 13th March. This project seeks to transform the scale and scope of history, incorporating Australian Indigenous epics about the ‘deep’ past with data from across the academic disciplines to tell a big picture history of Greater Australia. Matilda House opened proceedings, welcoming Prof McGrath, her team and guests to her country and urging scholars to continue working with Aboriginal communities to understand Australia’s history. Vice Chancellor, Brian Schmidt, introduced Prof Francis and spoke of ANU’s commitment to Aboriginal history and reconciliation and the value of ‘deep’ history for pressing concerns of today. Prof Francis outlined Prof McGraths’s important contributions to Aboriginal history and how this project will push Australian history into new areas. She also welcomed and introduced the postdoctoral scholars working on the project, Dr Ben Silverstein and Dr Laura Rademaker.