Just Brilliance - Professor Lyndall Ryan (AM, FAHA)

Professor Lyndall RyanProfessor Lyndall Ryan is a leading academic on Aboriginal, Australian and Feminist history, a Foundation Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Newcastle (UON) and of the Study of Violence Centre within the Faculty of Education and Arts.

Her illustrious career spans 50 years and includes election to the Australian Academy of Humanities and membership of the ARC College of Experts. Earlier this year, Lyndall was awarded an AM for services to Australian historical research.

Professor Ryan is well-known for evaluating and advancing her discipline, and for her commitment to identifying ‘new forms of evidence about the past’. Both are encapsulated in the ARC funded project ‘Colonial frontier massacres 1788-1930’ in which Australian frontier massacres are documented via an interactive digital map.

Now in partnership between UON’s Colonial Frontier Massacre Map and The Guardian Australia, the map specifies sites when and where the massacres occurred and specifies the sources of evidence. The interactive map and Lyndall’s narrative about the need for it have sparked interest worldwide. Upon its release the map quickly went viral.

Professor Lyndall Ryan with the Colonial Frontier Massacre Map

As Professor Ryan tells it, she found herself at a point as a historian where she felt “it was up to me” (Newcastle Writers Festival) to push forward on the issue of massacres of Aboriginal people. Lyndall was determined to exercise all her efforts to provide a method that would be acknowledged as excellent, could not be ignored and that would directly address the often hidden or dismissed stories of massacre.

The project is ongoing and recently won the NSW Premier’s Award for digital history and a Walkley Award for reporting on Indigenous Affairs.

In just about every way possible Professor Ryan’s work and career speak directly to the University’s values of Equity, Excellence and Engagement. Her impeccable scholarship and fearsome intellect have opened up new possibilities for understanding and detailing events that are critical for truth telling to address and acknowledge the trauma and racism faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Video: Shining a light on our dark history with the Massacres Map

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.