Vale Lyndall Ryan

The AHA regretfully records the passing of Emeritus Professor Lyndall Ryan AM FAHA. Lyndall’s scholarship over several decades has transformed understandings of Australian history, beginning with her ground-breaking PhD thesis entitled ‘Aborigines in Tasmania, 1800-1974’ (1975), which was subsequently published as The Aboriginal Tasmanians (1981). Her role in advancing the field of Aboriginal History made her a target in the History Wars of the 1990s and 2000s, in response to which she and her colleagues at the University of Newcastle developed the acclaimed online ‘Massacre Map’ (‘Colonial Frontier Massacres, Australia, 1788 to 1930’) to help Australians understand the truth about the violence in their country’s colonial past. It has also attracted international notice. More generally, Lyndall was a leader in the field of the history of violence, and co-edited publications such as Theatres of Violence (with Philip Dwyer, 2012), Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre (with Jane Lydon, 2018) and Aftermaths: Colonialism, Violence and Memory in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (with Angela Wanhalla and Camille Nurka, 2023). She was also a towering figure in the development of Australian women’s history, evident in her work on abortion, women’s magazines, and her Bibliography of Australian Women’s History (with Susan Magarey, 1990) produced for the AHA. Few in our profession have had a greater impact on the way Australians understand their collective past and Lyndall was a recipient of one of the AHA’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2022. The AHA extends its deepest sympathies to Lyndall’s family, friends and colleagues at this time.

Read Ann Curthoys’ tribute to Lyndall in The Guardian