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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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 Dictionary of Biography
Australian Dictionary of Biography.jpg
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
SubjectBiographies of notable Australians
GenreEncyclopedia
PublishedCarlton, Victoria
PublisherMelbourne University Press
Publication date
1966–2012
Media typeHard copy
ISBN978-0-522-84459-7
Websiteadb.anu.edu.au

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]

Contents

Similar titlesEdit

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]

Hardcopy volumesEdit

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 published Subjects covered
1 and 2 1966–67 Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1788–1850
3 to 6 1969–76 Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1851–1890
7 to 12 1979–90 Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1891–1939
13 to 16 1993–2002 Covered those Australians who lived in the period 1940–1980
17 and 18 2007–2012 Covered those Australians who died between 1981 and 1990
Supplement 2005 Dealt with those Australians not covered by the original volumes
Index 1991 Index for Volumes 1 to 12

Online publicationEdit

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).

CriticismEdit

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]

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

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/-2109028293

External linksEdit