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‘Decolonisation’ project underway for Australian Dictionary of Biography

The Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) has embarked on a project to reassess and revise the contents of its earliest volumes and include entries for ‘missing’ women and Indigenous leaders, reports the Guardian.

The project has been dubbed a ‘decolonisation’ process by Frank Bongiorno, professor of history at the Australian National University, which produces the ADB.

‘Inevitably when you’ve been running for 60 years, and your life spans a revolution in how Australians understand their identity, their history and their place in the world, the earliest work will sometimes be out of date, and especially so in relation to the Indigenous experience of dispossession and violence,’ said Bongiorno. For example, the ADB includes entries for Lachlan Macquarie and John Batman that describe their interactions with Indigenous Australians in a positive tone.

Bongiorno said updating the early colonial entries was ‘a multimillion dollar task involving thousands of hours of research, writing, fact-checking and editing’. Three staff have been allocated to the project.


Category: Library news