Lyndall Ryan

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Lyndall Ryan

Born1943 (age 78–79)
AwardsJohn Barrett Award for Australian Studies (2013)
Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2018)
Member of the Order of Australia (2019)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Sydney (BA, DipEd)
Macquarie University (PhD)
ThesisAborigines in Tasmania, 1800–1974 and their problems with the Europeans (1975)
InfluencesManning Clark
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Newcastle (1998–)
Flinders University (1984–97)
Griffith University (1977–83)
Main interestsIndigenous Australian history
Australian colonial relations
Notable worksThe Aboriginal Tasmanians (1981)

Lyndall Ryan, AM, FAHA (born 1943) is an Australian academic and historian. She has held positions in Australian Studies and Women's Studies at Griffith University and Flinders University and was Foundation Professor of Australian Studies and Head of School of Humanities at the University of Newcastle from 1998 to 2005. She is currently Conjoint Professor in the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle.

Academic career[edit]

Ryan completed a PhD at Macquarie University in 1975, her thesis was titled "Aborigines in Tasmania, 1800–1974 and their problems with the Europeans".

Ryan's book The Aboriginal Tasmanians, first published in 1981, presented a critical interpretation of the early history of relations between Tasmanian Aborigines and white settlers in Tasmania. A second edition was published by Allen & Unwin in 1996, in which she brought the story of the Tasmanian Aborigines in the 20th century up to date. Her work was later attacked by Keith Windschuttle based upon what he saw as discrepancies between Ryan's claims and her supporting evidence, thus drawing her into the "history wars".[1] Ryan contested Windschuttle's claims in an essay entitled 'Who is the fabricator?' in Robert Manne's Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle Fabrication of Aboriginal History published in 2003 and further addressed them in her book, Tasmanian Aborigines: A History Since 1803, published in 2012.

Colonial frontier massacres project[edit]

In 2017, Ryan and her team at the University of Newcastle released stage one of an on-line map showing more than 150 massacre sites in Eastern Australia.[2] Within 6 months the site had received more than sixty thousand visitors and has received wide coverage in Australia and also internationally.[3] The on-line tool records details and approximate locations of massacres and provides sources of corroborating evidence. The map is an important step in acknowledging the extensive violence used against indigenous people in Australia's history.[4]

As of 3 March 2019, the project had recorded at least 270 frontier massacres over a period of 140 years starting in 1794, considered "a state-sanctioned and organised attempt to eradicate Aboriginal people" by the writers of a Guardian special report which draws on the research and map.[5][6]


Ryan was awarded the 2018 Annual History Citation by the History Council of NSW for "her research and teaching in women's and Indigenous history, and her service to the profession in contributing to the development of Australian Studies and Women's Studies". She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in November 2018,[7] and appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Australia Day Honours in recognition of her "significant service to higher education, particularly to Indigenous history and women's studies."[8]



  • — (1981). The Aboriginal Tasmanians. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-1903-7.
    • — (1995). The Aboriginal Tasmanians (2nd ed.). St. Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-965-3.
  • —; Magarey, Susan (1990). A Bibliography of Australian Women's History. Parkville, Victoria: Australian Historical Association. ISBN 0958751358.
  • —; Sheridan, Susan; Baird, Barbara; Borrett, Kate (2001). Who Was That Woman?: The Australian Women's Weekly in the Postwar Years. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 0-86840-618-X.
  • — (2012). Tasmanian Aborigines: A History Since 1803. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74237-068-2.

Edited books[edit]

  • —; Dwyer, Philip, eds. (2012). Theatres of Violence: Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity throughout History. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-299-3.
  • —; Lydon, Jane, eds. (2018). Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-74223-575-2.


  • —; Ripper, Margie; Buttfield, Barbara (1994). We Women Decide: Women's Experiences of Seeking Abortion in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, 1985–1992. Bedford Park, South Australia: Women's Studies Unit, Flinders University.


  1. ^ "Inventing massacre stories – Quadrant Online".
  2. ^ "Centre For 21st Century Humanities". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  3. ^ Dovey, Ceridwen (7 December 2017). "The Mapping of Massacres". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Mapping the massacres of Australia's colonial frontier". 5 July 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Colonial frontier massacres in Central and Eastern Australia, 1788-1930: Introduction". University of Newcastle (Australia). Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. ^ Allam, Lorena; Evershed, Nick. "The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Welcoming our 28 newly elected Fellows - Australian Academy of the Humanities". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia (M–Z)" (PDF). Australia Day 2019 Honours List. Office of the Governor-General of Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.

External links[edit]