Indigenous Australian Dictionary of Biography
Redressing the imbalance of representation in the Australian Dictionary of Biography
The Australian Dictionary of Biography, or ADB, is the largest national repository of people who represent Australian history and culture. It tells the stories of more than 13,000 Australians who have passed away so we can remember them in the future. The ADB is more than 50 years old and is read more than 70 million times every year.
Sadly, there are not as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s stories in the ADB as we would like. This project seeks to add the stories of approximately 200 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the dictionary to redress the imbalance and make the ADB more reflective of Australian history.
The ADB is free to read online.
Recognising Indigenous contributions in biography dictionary
The Australian Dictionary of Biography is considered the go-to reference place for the life and achievements of prominent Australians.Read more
Decolonising the dictionary: reclaiming Australian history
An upgrade of the Australian Dictionary of Biography is long overdue – it’s time to include the many women and Indigenous leaders time forgotRead more
New project to increase ADB biographies
UWA is leading a new project that aims to produce 190 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entries in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.Read more
Indigenous lives, the ‘cult of forgetfulness’ and the ADB
In 1968 the esteemed Australian anthropologist Bill Stanner coined the term “the great Australian silence” to describe a “cult of forgetfulness” that had seen Aboriginal people virtually ignored in the writing of Australian history.Read more
Collaborators and funding
We need your help
Is there someone who did important work for your people and you think everyone should know their story? Is there someone in your community who lived a long time ago and who you still remember and talk about today? Is there someone real deadly you want to tell us about?
If you are keen to share their story, tell us their name and a bit more about them on this nomination form.
We’re looking for nominations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be included in the ADB, and writers to help us compile these 200 biographies. If you are interested in nominating someone please send in a nomination form whether you’re a community member or an experienced researcher, or get in touch with us.