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The Australian National University

Professor Ann McGrath

Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History


Australian Centre of Indigenous History
School of History

Research School of Social Sciences

ANU 0200

ACT Australia

Ph  61  (0)2 61254850

fax  61 (0)2 61253969



Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Queensland, 1976.

Doctor of Philosophy LaTrobe University, 1984.


Biography and interests

My main interests are gender, colonialism, film and the history of Indigenous relations in Australia and North America. I am interested in presenting scholarly history in a range of genres. Exhibitions curated include one on Women and Childbirth during the Federation era and one on International Outlaws as national heroes. I produced the film 'A Frontier Conversation' (Wonderland Productions, Ronin distributors, 2006) and have worked as an advisor on various television and film projects. My consultancy and outreach work has included co-ordinating the history project of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, working as an expert witness in the Gunner & Cubillo case and in various Northern Territory land claims.  I was accepted as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to history, especially Indigenous history. My work has also been recognized by the award of the Inaugural W.K. Hancock prize, the Human Rights Award for non-fiction, the John Barrett Prize, the Archibald Hannah Junior Fellowship at the Beinecke Library, Yale.  


Current research projects


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

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


Other projects

History of Intermarriage on Australian and North American Frontiers 

The Irish and Aboriginal Diaspora 

The History of Archaeology, Lake Mungo and Lake Gregory


Selected publications

'How to Write History People Want to Read', Ann McGrath and Ann Curthoys, UNSW, 2009.

'Born in the Cattle: Aborigines in Cattle Country', Ann McGrath and Ann Curthoys, Allen & Unwin, 1987.

'Creating a Nation', Ann McGrath, Pat Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake and Marian Quartly,1994. 


Edited volumes

'Contested Ground: Aborigines under the British Crown', Ann McGrath, Allen & Unwin, 1995.

'Aboriginal Workers', Ann McGrath, Kay Saunders and Jackie Huggins, Labour History, 1995.

'Proof and Truth: the Humanist as Expert', Ann McGrath and Iain McCalman, Australian Academy of Humanities, 2003.

'Exchanging Histories', Ann McGrath, Frances Peters-Little and Ingereth MacFarlane, Aboriginal History, 2007.

List of publications

Short CV

Updated: 22 October 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher