Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Australian Dictionary of Biography
Australian Dictionary of Biography.jpg
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Subject Biographies of notable Australians
Genre Encyclopedia
Published Carlton, Victoria
Publisher Melbourne University Press
Publication date
1966–2012
Media typeHard copy
ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7
Website adb.anu.edu.au

The Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB or AuDB) is a national co-operative enterprise founded and maintained by the Australian National University (ANU) to produce authoritative biographical articles on eminent people in Australia's history. Initially published in a series of twelve hard-copy volumes between 1966 and 2005, the dictionary has been published online since 2006.

Australian National University university in Canberra, Australia

The Australian National University (ANU) is a national research university located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Its main campus in Acton encompasses seven teaching and research colleges, in addition to several national academies and institutes.

Contents

The ADB project has been operating since 1957. Staff are located at the National Centre of Biography in the History Department of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Since its inception, 4,000 authors have contributed to the ADB and its published volumes contain 9,800 scholarly articles on 12,000 individuals. [1] 210 of these are of Indigenous Australians, which has been explained by Bill Stanner's "cult of forgetfulness" theory around the contributions of Indigenous Australians to Australian society. [2]

Similar titles

The ADB project should not be confused with the much smaller and older Dictionary of Australian Biography by Percival Serle, first published in 1949, nor with the German Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (published 1875–1912) which may also be referred to as ADB in English sources. [3]

The Dictionary of Australian Biography, published in 1949, is a reference work by Percival Serle containing information on notable people associated with Australian history. With approximately a thousand entries, the book took more than twenty years to complete. Published by Angus and Robertson, the dictionary was compiled as two volumes, Volume 1: A-K; and Volume 2: L-Z.

Percival Serle Australian writer

Percival Serle was an Australian biographer and bibliographer.

<i>Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie</i> biographical reference work

Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie is one of the most important and most comprehensive biographical reference works in the German language.

Hardcopy volumes

To date, the ADB has produced eighteen hard copy volumes of biographical articles on important and representative figures in Australian history, published by Melbourne University Press. In addition to publishing these works, the ADB makes its primary research material available to the academic community and the public.

Volume(s)Years publishedSubjects covered
1 and 21966–67Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1788–1850
3 to 61969–76Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1851–1890
7 to 121979–90Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1891–1939
13 to 161993–2002Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1940–1980
17 and 182007–2012Covered those Australians who died between 1981 and 1990
Supplement2005Dealt with those Australians not covered by the original volumes
Index1991Index for Volumes 1 to 12

Online publication

On 6 July 2006, the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online was launched by Michael Jeffery, Governor-General of Australia, and received a Manning Clark National Cultural Award in December 2006. [4] The website is a joint production of the ADB and the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, University of Melbourne (Austehc).

Michael Jeffery Australian governor-general and army officer

Major General Philip Michael Jeffery is a retired senior Australian Army officer who was the 24th Governor-General of Australia, serving from 2003 to 2008, and the 30th Governor of Western Australia, serving from 1993 to 2000.

Governor-General of Australia representative of the monarch of Australia

The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative of the Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is shared equally with the 15 other Commonwealth realms, and resides in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out constitutional duties within the Commonwealth of Australia. The governor-general has formal presidency over the Federal Executive Council and is commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force. The functions of the governor-general include appointing ministers, judges, and ambassadors; giving royal assent to legislation passed by parliament; issuing writs for election; and bestowing Australian honours.

The Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre (Austehc) is housed at the University of Melbourne and is a leading centre for the preservation, promotion and development of the heritage of Australian science, technology and medicine. It has been particularly active in publishing resources online and has been responsible for the development of a wide range of innovative biographical projects, such as the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online and Bright Sparcs, an online biographical register of more than 4,000 people involved in the development of science, technology and medicine in Australia, including references to their archival materials and bibliographic resources.

Criticism

In 2018, Clinton Fernandes wrote that ADB is conspicuously silent on the slaveholder or slave profiting pasts of a number of influential figures in the development of Australia, including George Fife Angas, Isaac Currie, Archibald Paull Burt, Charles Edward Bright, Alexander Kenneth Mackenzie, Robert Allwood, Lachlan Macquarie, Donald Charles Cameron, John Buhot, John Belisario, Alfred Langhorne, John Samuel August, and Godfrey Downes Carter. [5] [6] However, the Legacies database from which Fernandes obtains this information is ambiguous as to George Fife Angas's connection with slavery. It states that he did not lodge the claims himself but collected the compensatory amount for unknown reasons. [7]

Clinton Fernandes is a professor of international and political studies at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia, part of the Australian Defence Force Academy. His work is primarily concerned with Australia’s national security, in particular intelligence matters and Australia's relations with its Southeast Asian neighbours.

George Fife Angas Australian politician

George Fife Angas was an English businessman and banker who, from England, played a significant part in the formation and establishment of the Colony of South Australia. He established the South Australian Company and was its founding chairman of the board of directors. In later life he migrated to the colony and served as a member of the first South Australian Legislative Council.

Charles Edward Bright was an English businessman in colonial Victoria.

The entries were written in the 1960s and await to be updated.

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References

  1. "About Us". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University.
  2. Allbrook, Malcolm. "Indigenous lives, the 'cult of forgetfulness' and the Australian Dictionary of Biography". The Conversation. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  3. "Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie +ADB - Google Search". Google.
  4. "Launch of Online Edition of the ADB".
  5. Fernandes, C. Island Off the Coast of Asia: Instruments of statecraft in Australian foreign policy (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2018), 13-15.
  6. Paul Daley, "Colonial Australia's foundation is stained with the profits of British slavery," The Guardian, 21 September 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/21/colonial-australias-foundation-is-stained-with-the-profits-of-british-slavery.
  7. "Summary of Individual - Legacies of British Slave-ownership". www.ucl.ac.uk.