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The Australian National University

Dr Maria Nugent

Research Fellow

Rm 2109, Coombs Building
Fellows Rd, Australian National University
Phone: 6125 2445


MA, Sydney
Grad Dip (Adult Education) UTS

Biographical statement

I am a Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History. Before coming to ANU, I held fellowships at the State Library of New South Wales, Monash University, and the National Museum of Australia. I also have professional experience as a public historian, including with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Australian Heritage Commission. My research focuses on Aboriginal people’s historical narratives and remembrance under colonial conditions; landscape and spatial approaches in history and heritage; Aboriginal women’s craft production; and cross-cultural relations and encounters in Australian exploration and settlement.

Research interests

My research, writing and teaching areas are in the fields of Australian Aboriginal History, public history, history, memory and oral history, and cross-cultural history.

Selected publications


Captain Cook Was Here (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Shortlisted for the Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction in Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Botany Bay: Where Histories Meet (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 2005).
Winner Allan Martin Award for early career historian
Awarded NSW Premier’s History Prize for Community and Regional History
Shortlisted for Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for first book of history
Shortlisted for Australian Historical Association’s W. K. Hancock Award for first book of history

With Denis Byrne, Mapping Attachment: A Spatial Approach to Aboriginal Post-contact Heritage, (Sydney: NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, 2004).

Journal Special Issues

With Shino Konishi, ‘Baz Luhrmann’s Australia’, Special issue of Studies in Australasian Cinema (SAC), 4:3, 2010.

Book chapters and journal articles

‘“An echo of that other cry”: Re-enacting Captain Cook’s first landing as conciliation narrative’, Conciliation Narratives in Settler Societies, Kate Darian-Smith and Penelope Edmonds (eds), (London: Routledge, 2014 forthcoming).

‘Tracing lineages: The working of remembering, mourning and honouring in Romaine Moreton’s The Farm’, Studies in Australasian Cinema, 7:2-3, 2013, (special issue: ‘Decolonizing settler-colonial and Pacific scenes, edited by Felicity Collins and Jane Landman), pp. 179-188.

With Shino Konishi, ‘Newcomers: 1600-1800’, Cambridge History of Australia Volume I, Alison Bashford and Stuart MacIntyre (eds), (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

‘Sites of segregation/sites of memory: Remembrance and ‘race’ in Australia’, Memory Studies, 6:3, July 2013, (special issue: ‘Memory Studies in Australia’, edited by Susannah Radstone and Rosanne Kennedy), pp. 299-309.

‘Displaying the decorative: An exhibition history of Aboriginal women’s shellwork’, reCollections: A Journal of Museums and Collections, 7:2, October 2012.

‘“The queen gave us the land”: Aboriginal people, Queen Victoria and historical remembrance’, History Australia, 9:2, 2012, pp. 182-200.

‘An economy of shells: A brief history of La Perouse Aboriginal women’s shellwork and its markets 1880-2010’, Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II, Natasha Fijn et al (eds), (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2012).

‘“Every right to be there”: Cinema spaces and racial politics in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia’, Australian Humanities Review, issue 51, November 2011, pp. 5-23.

‘“You really only made it because you needed the money”: Aboriginal women and shellwork production, 1870s to 1970s”, Labour History, vol. 101, November 2011, pp. 71-89.

‘From landing place to meeting place: The heritage of cross-cultural encounters on the beach’, Something Rich and Strange, Susan Hosking, Rick Hosking et al (eds), (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2009).

‘“To try to form some connection with the natives”: Encounters between Captain Cook and Indigenous people at Botany Bay in 1770’, History Compass, 6:2, 2008, pp. 469-487.

‘Mapping memories: Oral history for Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia’, Oral History and Public Memories, Paula Hamilton and Linda Shopes (eds), (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008).

‘The encounter between Captain Cook and Indigenous people at Botany Bay in 1770 reconsidered’, Strangers on the Shore: Early Coastal Contacts with Australia, Peter Veth, Peter Sutton and Margo Neale (eds), (Canberra: NMA Press, 2008).

‘Historical encounters: Aboriginal testimony and colonial forms of commemoration’, Aboriginal History, vol. 30, 2006, pp. 32-46.

‘Botany Bay: Voyagers, Aborigines and history’, Journal of Australian Studies, no. 76, 2003, pp. 27-34.

‘Aboriginal family history: Some reflections’, Australian Cultural History, no. 22, 2003, pp. 143-154.

‘Leprosy and the management of race, sexuality and nation in tropical Australia’, Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies, Alison Bashford and Claire Hooker (eds) (London: Routledge, 2001) (authored with Alison Bashford).

Other publications

‘Aboriginal people and their children, 1913’, Glorious Days: Australia 1913, Michelle Hetherington (ed.), (Canberra: NMA Press, 2013)

‘Emma Timbery: Shellworker’, Dictionary of Australian Artists Online (

‘Oral traditions’, Companion to Women’s Historical Writing, Mary Spongberg, Barbara Caine and Ann Curthoys (eds), (London: Palgrave, 2005) (reissued in paperback 2009)

‘Timbery, Emma (c. 1842-1916)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2005)

‘La Perouse’, Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale (eds), (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2000)

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