Skip navigation
The Australian National University


The Australian Centre for Indigenous History conducts collaborative and individual research projects on Australian, comparative and trans-national Indigenous history.

We aim to create a stimulating and supportive environment for our Doctoral students, who have come from a variety of disciplines to research exciting new areas of Indigenous history.  

We host the A ranked journal, Aboriginal History, which is now co-edited by two of our staff, and we also teach an undergraduate course on Indigenous Australian history.

With the assistance of generous sponsors, we offer a scholarship for fieldwork in Indigenous history.


First estabished in 2003, our first Research Fellows were Dr Gordon Briscoe and Ms Frances Peters-Little.

They both made an enormous contribution and were very energetic historical researchers and mentors.

Gordon's autobiography appeared in 2010. It is entitled: Racial folly : a twentieth-century Aboriginal family and is available from ANU E-Press.

A film about Gordon has been produced by Wonderland Productions and is screening on NITV:

Kulka - The Life and Times of Gordon Briscoe will
go to air on NITV on Tuesday 16th November at 8:30pm.

Frances Peters-Little is an accomplished author and film-maker. She made two films during her term at ACIH, organised a seminar program and a Conference and published numerous articles. She is currently completing her Doctorate at ANU through the School of Humanities. It explores the biography of her father, the acclaimed singer and performer, Jimmy Little. 

She has co-edited the latest Aboriginal history monograph, to be launched by Ian Thorpe.

PASSIONATE HISTORIES : Myth, Memory And Indigenous Australia
Edited by Frances Peters-Little, Ann Curthoys and John Docker

This book examines the emotional engagements of both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people with Indigenous history. The contributors are a mix of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous scholars, who in different ways examine how the past lives on in the present, as myth, memory, and history. Each chapter throws fresh light on
an aspect of history-making by or about Indigenous people, such as the extent of massacres on the frontier, the myth of Aboriginal male idleness, the controversy over Flynn of the Inland, the meaning of the Referendum of 1967, and the policy and practice of Indigenous child removal.

Frances Peters-Little is an Indigenous author and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her recent films include Our Community and Vote Yes for Aborigines. Her Master’s thesis, a study of the history of Aboriginal documentary film, was entitled The Return of the Noble Savage by Popular Demand. She is currently writing a biography of the singer-entertainer, Jimmy Little.

Ann Curthoys, an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney, writes about Australian history and historical theory and method. Her books include: (with Ann McGrath), How to Write History that People want to Read; (with Ann Genovese and Alexander Reilly), Rights and Redemption: History, Law and Indigenous people; and Freedom Ride: A Freedomrider Remembers.

John Docker is an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney who writes about a wide range of topics in cultural theory and history. His books include The Nervous Nineties; Postmodernism and Popular Culture; 1492: The Poetics of Diaspora; The Origins of Violence; and (with Ann Curthoys), Is History Fiction?

Updated: 15 November 2010/ Responsible Officer:  Centre Director / Page Contact:  Web Publisher