Monash University celebrates the launch of Global Encounters and First Nations Peoples: 1000 Years of Australian History

Vice Chancellor and Dean of Arts attending launchLast night, Vice Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner VC joined academic and global luminaries to launch the ARC Laureate Fellowship project, Global Encounters and First Nations Peoples: 1000 Years of Australian History, led by Professor Lynette Russell AM, Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Heritage. Professor Russell received one of just 17 Laureate Fellowships bestowed across Australia in 2019.

Bringing together an interdisciplinary, multilingual team, Global Encounters and First Nations People: 1000 years of Australian History explores encounters between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and voyagers from the sea over the period of a millennium.

By synthesizing historical, archaeological, anthropological and linguistic sources from Australian and European collections, the project will reconstruct Australia’s role in global exploration, recast Australia’s history, and inform debates over Australia’s national identity and the urgent need for reconciliation with our First Peoples.

The Global Encounters research embodies Monash University’s focus on research excellence, and how this excellence strengthens our relations between neighbouring nations as well as reshaping Australia’s history and national identity,’ said Professor Gardner AC.

Professor Gardner AC was joined in celebrations by Monash’s Professor Sharon Pickering, Dean of Arts, Professor Jacinta Elston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), Laureate Professor Lynette Russell AM, and Ibu Muniroh Rahim, Acting Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia (Victoria and Tasmania).

‘Lynette is a tireless advocate for Indigenous social justice,’ said Professor Pickering. ‘Her frequently collaborative and interdisciplinary research focuses on developing an anthropological approach to the story of the past, challenging not only what we know but how we know it.’

This Global Encounters project will radically shift Australia’s historical awareness by concentrating on the dynamic history of encounter between First Nations peoples and ‘outsiders’ over the millennium,’ said Professor Jacinta Elston.

Acting Consul General Ibu Muniroh Rahim spoke to the value of the project in amplifying global understandings of the historic connections between Australia’s First Nations peoples and their neighbours.

We need to strengthen Australia-Indonesia relations not only as the two closest neighbouring countries, but also the two countries with the longest historical relationship, which were started by our ancestors as early as the 18th century, or even earlier. We welcome research projects that will strengthen cooperation between the two countries.’

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Global Encounters and First Nations Peoples: 1000 Years of Australian History