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Personal profile


Alison is a leading researcher in Australian Indigenous history in the twentieth century, with a focus on rights discourses, race, colonialism and humanitarianism. She has a BA (Hons class 1) and Diploma of Museum Studies from the University of Sydney and a PhD from UNSW. Her monograph, Just Relations. The Story of Mary Bennett's Crusade For Aboriginal Rights was published by UWA Publishing in 2015. It was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's History prize in Australian History in 2016. Her new book, Breaking the Silence. Aboriginal Defenders and the Settler State, 1905-1939 was published by Melbourn University Publishing in 2019. Prior to becoming an academic she was a curator at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney with the NSW Historic Houses Trust.

Research interests

My key research interests are in the broad fields of twentieth century Australian and Indigenous history. I have a special interest in histories of humanitarianism and human rights with a focus on Indigenous rights and policy, race, citizenship, feminism and colonialism.

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colonial age Social Sciences
humanitarian intervention Social Sciences
Law Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences
civilization Social Sciences
spouse Social Sciences
citizenship Social Sciences

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Projects 2007 2017

Research Outputs 1995 2019

Breaking the silence: Aboriginal defenders and the settler state, 1905-1939

Holland, A., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Melbourne University Press. 352 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Social Question
History Books

'Does the British flag mean nothing to us?': British democratic traditions and Aboriginal rights claims in interwar Australia

Holland, A., 2019, In : Australian Historical Studies. 50, 3, p. 321-338 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Teaching and learning Indigenous history in comparative and transnational frame: lessons from the coalface

Holland, A., Hayward-Anderson, C., Mayes, J. & Sanders, D., 2 Jan 2018, In : History Australia. 15, 1, p. 151-172 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Comparative Research
Structural Change
Australian History

Aboriginal affairs: humanitarian intervention then and now: dis/connections and possibilities

Holland, A., Dec 2017, In : Australian Journal of Politics and History. 63, 4, p. 524-539 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

humanitarian intervention
political conflict

A Scottish inheritance? Mary Bennett, the Aboriginal cause and the legacies of the past

Holland, A., 2016, In : Journal of the Sydney Society for Scottish History. 16, p. 85-110 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review