Jimmy Little singing at the launch of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History.
The Australian Centre for Indigenous History was officially launched on 28 March 2003 by then Senator Aden Ridgeway. Speakers also included then Vice Chancellor Ian Chubb, then head of the Research School for Social Sciences Professor Ian McAllister, then head of the History Program Professor Desley Deacon, then Director of the National Museum of Australia Dawn Casey, and then Chair of the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Professor Mick Dodson. Dr Gordon Briscoe, one of the two inaugural Research Fellows, introduced singer Jimmy Little. His rendition of his own song ‘Yorta Yorta man’ was accompanied by stories about the history of his family and his people. It was an appropriate choice, as Aden Ridgeway had referred to the alarming words of J. Olney’s Yorta Yorta judgement – that the ‘tide of history’ had allegedly washed away native title rights.
Professor Ann McGrath was the founding Director of the ACIH in 2003, stepping down in 2019 to create the Research Centre for Deep History, also situated within the ANU School of History. Following this, Lawrence Bamblett and Maria Nugent became Co-Directors of the ACIH.
Raise the profile of the study of Indigenous history through internationally competitive scholarship
Establish projects of national significance and scope
Increase diversity and breadth of Indigenous history
Promote trans-national scope, links and collaborations
Promote ethical scholarship
Encourage and support innovative historical approaches
Encourage training and opportunities for Indigenous scholars
Provide quality program for post-graduate students
Support and encourage community history links and provide historical advice relevant to public policy