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The View from Here – Monash researcher interrogates how Australia’s story has been told and what the future holds

Monash University 2 mins read

As Australia reflects on the outcome of the Voice to Parliament referendum and what it means for the country’s future, Monash University’s Lynette Russell AM will deliver a public lecture examining the changing nature of how we tell Australia’s story. 


In her inaugural lecture, The View from Here - Thinking about Australia and its Future, Professor Russell – one of Australia’s foremost historians – will discuss the changes in how Australian history has been conceived, studied and taught over the past 40 years including the impact of the rise of Indigenous studies and histories. 


Professor Russell said regardless of the outcome of the Voice referendum, it will provide an opportunity to reflect on our history and how we can work with Australia’s oldest cultural custodians to move forward with reconciliation and healing.


“Australian history doesn't always get a good rap. Until recently textbooks told the story of Captain Cook’s ‘discovery’ and the events that followed. There was a clear division between Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories. Australian history was celebrated, heroic, and very, very white,” Professor Russell said. 


“Over the past two decades, with astonishing speed, things have changed. As a society, we have matured in how we think of our history, rejecting the notion that Capital H history began in 1770 and includes more than 65,000 years of Aboriginal history.”


Professor Russell will ask what changes we might predict in the next decades as the landscape of Australian historical studies evolves. And how we can tell the stories of Australian history with Indigenous people and Indigenous historians. 


“In order to tell the truly epic story of Australia’s history we need multiple perspectives and voices. Fundamentally we need Indigenous people and Indigenous historians. We are fortunate to have elders across the nation who have stories to share. If we can listen, we can incorporate their perspectives into our national story and together write, celebrate, and study the extraordinary history of an extraordinary continent.”


Professor Lynette Russell AM is an internationally recognised anthropological historian and a renowned leader within the Monash academic community. She is an ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate and in 2023 was awarded a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor.


Professor Russell’s inaugural lecture will take place on Wednesday 18 October from 5:30pm-8:00pm at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Street. The lecture will be an invite only event and will be recorded. 



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