History of the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre

Monash University’s interest in Aboriginal issues began in its establishment years. The following is a brief summary of that history.

  • 1964 The Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs was established in the Department of Politics in the Faculty of Business and Politics by Dr Colin Tatz.
  • 1967 The Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs moved to the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in the Faculty of Arts.
  • 1970 Dr Elizabeth Eggleston directed the work of the Centre on a half-time basis from the Faculty of Law. The Centre undertook research in law, health and race relations until her death in 1976.
  • 1977 Appointment of a full-time Indigenous Director, Professor Colin Bourke, and relocation to the Faculty of Education.
  • 1978 Accreditation of a new second year Aboriginal Studies unit in the Bachelor of Arts.
  • 1979 The teaching of a Master of Education unit in the Faculty of Education and name change to the Aboriginal Research Centre.
  • 1979 The Elizabeth Eggleston Memorial Aboriginal Resource Centre was opened.
  • 1981 The Aboriginal Research Centre Advisory Committee agreed to pursue the development of a bridging program for Aboriginal students who were not academically ready for university studies.
  • 1981 Dr Eve Fesl appointed Director of Aboriginal Research Centre.
  • 1984–92 The Monash Orientation Scheme for Aborigines (MOSA) commenced with Isaac Brown / Irruluma Guralwin Enumbura as full-time Director and an advisory committee creating two distinct Aboriginal program elements: MOSA and the Aboriginal Research Centre.
  • 1988 MOSA and the Aboriginal Research Centre move into dedicated space in the Gallery building.
  • 1989 In response to the Bicentenary, the research centre’s name was formally changed to the Koorie Research Centre (KRC).
  • 1991 Mr John Austin appointed Director of MOSA.
  • 1991 The merger with the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education brought a third Aboriginal element to Monash namely, the Gippsland Koorie Studies Centre (GKSC).
  • 1992 Helen Curzon-Siggers appointed Director of MOSA.
  • 1995 Sharon Firebrace appointed Director of Koorie Research Centre.
  • 1998 Council approved a chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University.
  • 1999 Professor Eleanor Bourke appointed Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies with dual responsibility as Director, Monash Aboriginal programs.
  • 2001 Professor Lynette Russell (BA hons La Trobe, PhD Melbourne) appointed Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies and Director, Monash Aboriginal programs.
  • 2011 CAIS becomes Monash Indigenous Centre (MIC)

Past directors

Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs/Aboriginal Research Centre

1964–1970 Dr Colin Tatz
1971–1976 Dr Elizabeth Eggleston
1976–1981 Prof. Colin Bourke, MBE

Koorie Research Centre

1981–1993 Dr Eve Fesl
1994–1995 Prof. Lachlan Chipman
1995–1996 Ms Sharon Firebrace
1997–1998 Ms Helen Curzon-Siggers


1984–1991 Assoc. Professor Isaac Brown,
1991–1992 Mr John Austin
1992 Dr Eve Fesl
1992–1998 Ms Helen Curzon-Siggers

Koorie Studies, Gippsland

1991–1999 Ms Marlene Drysdale

Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies

1999–2001 Professor Eleanor Bourke
2001-2011 Professor Lynette Russell

Monash Indigenous Centre

2011 – Professor Lynette Russell