Dr Fred Cahir (David)
Position: Associate Professor in Aboriginal History
Study area: Aboriginal History, Humanities and Social Sciences
Location: Mt Helen Campus, H Building, Room 216
Phone: 5327 9771
- Doctor of Philosophy - University of Ballarat - 2007
- Master of Arts - University of Ballarat - 2001
- Diploma TESOL - University of Ballarat - 2001
- Preliminary Master of Arts - University of Ballarat - 1994
- Graduate Diploma of Education - University of Ballarat - 1993
- Bachelor of Arts – Deakin University - 1992
- 2021 Vice-Chancellor Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
- 2021 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
- 2020 Award for Excellence in Graduate Research Supervision
- 2013 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citation
- 2012 University of Ballarat Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Citation Award
Associate Professor (Dr) Fred Cahir is an award-winning teacher and prolific researcher. In the past decade he has authored a large body of scholarly publications including: 3 books, 4 edited books, 25 book chapters and 26 journal articles. His awards recognising his teaching excellence include:
Similarly, Fred’s research excellence has been recognised by winning many awards and citations including the Australian Historical Association & Australian National University Award for his PhD Thesis 'Black Gold: the role of Aboriginal people on the Gold Fields of Victoria, 1850-1870'. His subsequent book Black Gold has 100,000 downloads and consistently sits in the Australian National University E-Press top ten ‘most downloaded academic monographs’.
In the past decade over 10 of his books, journal articles, digital gallery and films have been shortlisted in peak film and history/heritage organisations awards including Victorian Premiers History Awards, the Museums and Galleries National Award for http://windsky.com.au/seeing-the-land-from-an-aboriginal-canoe/ and the 2014 NSW Premier's History Awards’ for The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills
Fred was a co-Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkages project on this topic with the Royal Society Victoria.
Three of Fred’s recent (2018-2022) books have also received wide critical acclaim.
Fred has recently accepted an invitation as a partner researcher with Victorian Traditional Owners who are developing a Victorian Cultural Fire Strategy to enable the reintroduction of Cultural Fire to the Victorian landscape in partnership with the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (FVTOC).
His (2021-2) research project ‘Aboriginal Heroes of Fire, Flood and Food’ funded by Telematics Trust has produced the first comprehensive digital map and website of Aboriginal heroism in Victoria https://www.aboriginalheroesmatter.org.au/ .
Fred is a member (by appointment) of AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies), the peak body for Australian Indigenous research. He is recognised nationally and internationally as an expert in the Aboriginal Studies Field of Research (FoR) evidenced by his longstanding and ongoing role as a detailed assessor for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Australian Awards for University Teaching Committee (AAUT). He has also received Fellowships from the Australian Prime Ministers Centre and the University of Queensland.
His collaborative research projects focusing on Aboriginal Knowledge are at the forefront of this emerging field of research. Prominent examples of this are his appointments to the Academic Panels tasked with advancing global recognition of Budj Bim Aboriginal Landscape as a World Heritage site (2019) and Australia’s Central Victorian Goldfields nomination to the World Heritage List (2021). Fred’s research is also highly regarded by many GLAMR (Galleries, Libraries & Museum Record keeping) sector organisations and natural resource agencies. He is a founding member of the Koala History and Sustainability Research Cluster (KHSRC) and a research team member of the Future Regions Research Centre (FRRC) https://federation.edu.au/research/research-centres/frrc
Current PhD and MA students:
(PhD) Putupula: A history of Australian Rules football at the Ernabella Mission 1937-1974 - Principal Supervisor
(PhD) Listening, learning, and lending support for emerging Aboriginal social enterprise opportunities in natural and cultural resource management in western Victoria: a critical ethnography - Principal Supervisor
(PhD) Multiple histories of peoples’ perception of, and engagement with paths, places and water in Central Australia’s arid zone - Associate Supervisor
(PhD) Caroline Parker: a Wailwan woman - Principal Supervisor
(MA) I Want to Know: Reclaiming Family Aboriginal History - Principal Supervisor
(PhD) Seasonal Visitors or Sophisticated Land Managers? Aboriginal People in the Northern Mallee - Associate Supervisor
(PhD) Contrasting Colonial Collectors: An examination of 19th Century Collectors of Victorian Indigenous Artefacts, Antiquarianism and Tourism – Associate Supervisor
(MA) Acculturation and Settlement Experiences Among CALD Migrant Women to Australia – Associate Supervisor
(PhD) The conservation and management of sandy beach ecosystems: exploring the divergence between policy, science and socio-cultural expectations for use and stewardship – Associate Supervisor
(PhD) A Qualitative Study of Australian Indigenous Perceptions of Success – Principal Supervisor
(MA) Unfinished Business! The myth that the settler government has lawful transnational jurisprudence sovereign authority – Principal Supervisor
Completed PhD and MA research projects:
(MA) ‘The cultural interactions of Aborigines with Whales, Whalers and Whaling in southwest Victoria 1828-1850’
(PhD) ‘Your stories, my stories, our stories: power knowledge relations and Koorie perspectives in discourses of Australian history education’
(PhD) ‘Mining a rich lode: The making of the Springdallah Deep Lead Goldfield communities’
(PhD) ‘Becoming "Brave and Gallant": Decolonising the myths of Burke and Wills’
(PhD) ‘Fear, resistance and reverence. European colonists’ observations of Aboriginal fire use in Victoria’.
(MA) ‘The life and times of Dr Hermann Beckler (1828-1914) : An Australian - Bavarian Odyssey’
(MA) ‘Pandemic influenza at Oodnadatta, 1919: Aspects of treatment and care in a multiracial community’
(PhD) ‘A Good Sheep Run. Letters from New South Wales in Scottish newspapers’
Colonial Aboriginal History; Aboriginal Bio-Cultural Knowledge; Aboriginal Knowledge;Shared History
Peer reviewed publications
(2021) My Country all gone. The White men have stolen it”: The Invasion of Wadawurrung Country 1800-1870. Ballarat Heritage Studies, Ballarat.
(2016) The Children of the Port Phillip Protectorate: An Anthology of their Reminiscences and Contributions to Aboriginal Studies, Australian Scholarly Press: Melbourne.
(2012), Black Gold: A History of the Role of Aboriginal People on the Goldfields of Victoria, 1850-1870. Aboriginal History Press, Australian National University: Canberra.
(2004). Tanderrum : 'freedom of the bush'. The Djadjawarrung presence on the goldfields of Central Victoria. Friends of Mount Alexander Diggings: Castlemaine.
(2019) ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’: The Australian War Graves Workers 1918-1922. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, U.K.
(2018) Aboriginal Bio-Cultural Knowledge in SE Australia, CSIRO Books: Melbourne.
(2015) Scots under the Southern Cross, Ballarat Heritage Press: Ballarat.
(2013), Burke and Wills: The Aboriginal Story, CSIRO: Melbourne.
Peer reviewed Journal articles and book chapters
*Denotes Quartile Ranking 1 or 2
2022 - 2021
* ‘The Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in Nineteenth-century Queensland: A Reconsideration of the Archival Record’. Anthrozoös: Journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology. DOI: 10.1080/08927936.2021.1963544
* ‘Aboriginal Fire Management in Colonial Victoria’. Aboriginal History.
* ‘Aboriginal use of fire as a weapon in colonial Victoria – a preliminary analysis’. Australian Historical Studies
* Koalas – Agents for Change: A case study from regional Victoria’. Journal of Sustainability Education http://www.susted.com/wordpress/general-issue-february-2022-part-one-workings-of-transformation/
* (In press) ‘Kurrburra the Boonwurrung Wirrirrap and Bard’ Australien Studies Journal | Zeitschrift für Australienstudien
(Submitted, awaiting review) ‘Applying landscape-level principles to koala management in Australia: a comparative analysis’
(Submitted, awaiting review) ‘Not invisible, not silent, and not nameless. Dja Dja Wurrung participation in the central Victoria (Australia) Goldfields stories of the 19th century’
Book Chapters (2021- 2022)
(In press) ‘Chinese and Aboriginal relations in colonial Victoria’. ANU press.
2020 - 2019
* ‘Volcanism in Aboriginal Australian oral traditions: Ethnographic evidence from the Newer Volcanics Province’. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 403.
* The tourism spectacle of fire making at Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, Victoria, Australia Journal of Heritage Tourism, 15(3), 249–266.
* ‘Uncovering Hidden Histories: Evaluating pre-service teachers' (PST) understanding of local Indigenous perspectives in history via digital storytelling at Australia's Sovereign Hill' Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education.
* The Aboriginal Adjustment Movement in Colonial Victoria’. Journal of Religious History, Vol. 43, no. 4.
The Historic Importance of the Koala in Aboriginal Society in New South Wales (Australia): An Exploration of the Archival Record’. ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations and First Peoples' Cultures. Volume 3, no.2. pp.172-191.
Parish maps as a source of evidence of Aboriginal land use in the Mallee back country’ Provenance – Journal of the Public records Office of Victoria. Issue 18
‘Kurrburra the Boonwurrung Wirrirrap and Bard (1797-1849) – a man of high degree’ Australian Journal of Biography and History, ANU Press. No. 4
Book Chapters (2020 - 2019)
‘“Their Last Resting Place”: Foundations of Graves Work’. In Cahir, F. et al. ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’: The Australian War Graves Workers 1918-1922. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, U.K. pp.1-9.
‘The Australian War Graves Effort (1919-1922)’. In Cahir, F. et al. ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’, pp.11-35.
‘“He took pleasure in doing his duty”: Staff Sgt. Frank Cahir DSM, MM’. In Cahir, F. et al. ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’, pp. 55-73.
‘“Dark in Complexion”: The Indigenous War Graves Workers’. In Cahir, F. et al. ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’, pp. 75-93.
‘Their Legacy’. In Cahir, F. et al. ‘Devoted labour for the lost, the unknown but not forgotten dead’, pp.129-143
‘Exchange on the maritime frontier of southern Australia’. In Gillian Dooley (ed.) The First Wave: exploring early coastal contact history in Australia. Adelaide: Wakefield Press, pp.174-192
‘Understanding maritime explorers as ngamadjidj’ In Gillian Dooley (ed.) The First Wave: exploring early coastal contact history in Australia, pp. 23-37.
‘Aboriginal corroborees on the Victorian Goldfields’. In Wickham et al. Pay Dirt, Hidden Gold, Ballarat: Ballarat Heritage Press.
2018 - 2014
* Aboriginal people’s associations with koalas in Victoria’. Anthrozoös: Journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 433-441.
* ‘All that appears possible now is to mitigate as much as possible the trials of their closing years.’ Alfred Deakin’s connections with Aboriginal Affairs’, Australian Journal of Politics and History. Vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 1-17
* Winda Lingo Parugoneit1 or Why Set the Bush [On] Fire? Fire and Victorian Aboriginal People on the Colonial Frontier. Australian Historical Studies, 47(2), 225–240.
* ‘The centrality of Aboriginal cultural workshops and experiential learning in a pre-service teacher education course" Higher Education Research & Development, 35,5, pp. 1-14.
* The Historic Importance of the Dingo in Aboriginal Society in Victoria, Anthrozoos. 26 (2)185-199.
* ‘What’s in a Name?: Exploring the Implications of Eurocentric (Re)naming Practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nomenclature in Australian Education Practices’, The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, pp. 1–10.
C.J La Trobe and the Wadawurrung, 1839-1853’ LaTrobeana. vol 17 (1) pp. 5-16.
‘Landscape, koalas and people: A historical account of koala populations and their environment in South Gippsland’ Australian Zoologist. Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 518-536
‘Rethinking the Origins of the Australian Legend – the Aboriginal Origins’ AGORA. Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 4-12.
'The remarkable disappearance of Messrs Gellibrand and Hesse'. Victorian Historical Journal, Vol. 87, No. 2, pp. 278-297.
''John and Jackey': An exploration of Aboriginal and Chinese people's associations on the Victorian goldfields' Journal of Australasian Mining History. Vol. 13, pp. 23-41.
'Aboriginal and Maori interactions in Victoria Australia, 1830-1900: A preliminary analysis'. New Zealand Journal of History.48, (1) 109-126.
'Finding Indigenous History in the RHSV Collections' Victorian Historical Journal 85,1-18.
Book Chapters (2018-2014)
‘Aboriginal Fire in southeast Australia’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists perspectives. CSIRO Press, Melbourne. pp.115-130.
‘Aboriginal Canoes in southeast Australia’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists perspectives. pp. 133-150.
‘An introduction’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists Perspective. pp. xv-xxiv.
‘Aboriginal housing in southeast Australia ’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists perspectives. pp. 151-172
‘Aboriginal clothing in southeast Australia’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists perspectives. pp. 173-188.
‘Concluding perspectives’ in Cahir, et al. Aboriginal Bio-cultural Knowledge in Southeast Australia: Colonists perspectives. pp.281-284.
‘Marngrook – The Indigenous Game’ In T Hogan (ed.) Reading the Game: a History of Australian Rules Football. Walla Walla Press: Sydney. pp. 113-124
‘The Mystery of the Moranghurk Sculptures’. In David Waldron (ed), Forgotten and Dark Folklore. Australian Scholarly Press. pp. 143-150.
'We had a good many visits from them': Aboriginal/Scottish shared performance spaces on the Victorian frontier'. In Cahir, et al. Scots under the Southern Cross: Scottish perspectives of Australia, Ballarat Heritage Services: Ballarat.
'The Songlines of the Scots in Australia'. In Cahir, et al. Scots under the Southern Cross.
'Why did squatters in colonial Victoria use Indigenous place names for their sheep stations?' in Clark et al. Indigenous and Minority Place Names, 221-234, ANU E-Press.
'John Green, manager of Coranderrk Aboriginal station and General Inspector - but also a ngamadjidj and a pied piper of Aboriginal children?’. In Brett et al. Story Weaving: Colonial Contexts and Post-colonial Theology. Palgrave Macmillan: Sydney.
2013 - 2009
* 'An edifying spectacle': A history of 'tourist corroborees' in Victoria, Australia, 1835-1870’. Tourism Management, ,vol 31, no. 3. Pp. 412-420.
'Murnong, much more than a food', Artefact: Journal of the Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria. (35), 23-33.
‘Seeing the land from an Aboriginal canoe.' Signals, Vol. 100, pp. 18-22.
‘Understanding 'Ngamadjidj' Journal of Australian Colonial History. Vol. 13, pp. 105-124.
Are you off to the Diggings? Aboriginal guiding on the goldfields. LaTrobe, 85, 22-35.
‘The case of Peter Mungett’. Provenance Vol. 8, p.15-34.
Book Chapters (2013 - 2009)
"We have received news from the blacks" in Clark, I. & Cahir, F. (eds.) Burke and Wills: The Aboriginal Story, CSIRO: Melbourne. pp.261-278
"Devil been walk about tonight - not devil belonging to blackfellow, but white man devil'" - An examination of Aboriginal oral traditions of colonial explorers' in Clark & Cahir, F. (eds.) Burke and Wills: The Aboriginal Story. pp.149-168.
'The Aboriginal Legacy of the Burke and Wills Expedition Story’. In Clark & Cahir, F. (eds.) Burke and Wills: The Aboriginal Story. pp. 1-14.
"I suppose we will have to live like the Aborigines for a time". In Clark & Cahir, F. (eds.) Burke and Wills: The Aboriginal Story, pp.301-305.
2008 - 2003
* 'The comfort of strangers' Hospitality and Tourism Management vol.15, no. 1, pp. 2-7.
* ‘Aboriginal people, gold, tourism’ Tourism, Culture & Communication. 4, 3. 123-136
‘The Attraction of Gold Mining in Victoria for Aboriginal People. Journal of Australasian Mining History. Vol. 6, pp. 46-69.
‘Why should they pay money to the Queen?’ Australian Colonial History 10, 1. 115-128.
Dallong Possum skin rugs A study of intercultural trade in Victoria’ Provenance 4, 5.1-14
‘Tales in a name: discovering inter-cultural relations through place names’. Victorian Historical Journal. 76 (2), pp. 199-210.
Book Chapters (2008 - 2003)
‘Finders not keepers : Aboriginal people on the goldfields of Victoria’. In A. Mayne (ed.) Eureka. Perth, Australia Network Books, pp 143-152.
External Research Grants/ Consultancy
2022 - 2012
‘Dja Dja Wurrungs Goldfield History’ The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
‘Bringing the Avenue of Honour to Life: the Lucas Girls and World War One Soldiers’ Victoria Remembers Grant Program, Victorian Premiers Office
Aboriginal Heroes of Fire, Flood and Food. 2020 Telematics Trust.
‘The role of Aboriginal Knowledge in the defence of Australia during World War Two’ Australian Army History Unit Grant
‘Ordinary people in Extraordinary Circumstances: The Australian War Graves Workers and the Red Cross Enquiry Volunteers’. Victoria Remembers Major Grant Program.
‘Gunbower Forest Sediment Cores for Ecological and Cultural Change’ North Central Catchment Management Authority & Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners.
‘Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Gariwerd' Parks Victoria Grampians & Gariwerds Traditional Owners (TOs) represented by Barengi Gadjin, Martang and Eastern Maar.
‘Aboriginal Ecological Knowledge - Gunaikurnai Information Hub. Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation. CeRDI.
‘The Burke and Wills Scientific Expedition 1860-1: The Aboriginal Story’ ARC Linkage with Royal Society of Victoria.
‘Customary use of fire, fighting fire and fighting with fire in S-E Australia, North East Catchment Management Authority’
‘Pest Animal Management within the Mallee Region, specifically in relation to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Sites - Literature Review’ , Mallee Catchment Management Authority.
‘Literature Review of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge for Gunditj Mirring and Glenelg Hopkins CMA’ Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority & Parks Victoria.
‘‘Fire on River Red Gum Communities – Literature Review. Report by the Centre for Environmental Management’, University of Ballarat for Parks Victoria & Yorta Yorta.
Non-traditional research outputs
2022 - 2012
"The Missing online exhibition" https://victoriancollections.net.au/stories/the-missing
Aboriginal Heroes of Fire, Flood and Food https://www.aboriginalheroesmatter.org.au/
‘The Missing, the Red Cross Information Bureau and Australian War Graves Workers’ [Documentary Film] Wind & Sky Productions
‘Facing Up: A Sound Installation commenting on prime ministerial statements relating to the status and well-being of Australia’s Indigenous population from federation to the present day’, Creative Arts Australia [Victoria] & Biennale of Australian Art.
‘The Indigenous People’ in P. Freund (ed.) In Occupation: Pastoral settlement in the Wimmera. Art Gallery of Ballarat, pp.10-13.
Seeing the land from an Aboriginal Canoe’ Culture Victoria Website. Wind & Sky Productions, State Library of Victoria, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Public Record Office Victoria, Museum Victoria and Sovereign Hill Museums Association
‘Hidden Histories – The Wadawurrung People’ Digital Tour. Sovereign Hill Museum
‘Aboriginal People of the Victorian Goldfields’ – Digital Tour for Telematics / Sovereign Hill Museums Association prepared for Sovereign Hill Museums Association.
Victorian Premiers History Awards [Short Listed]. ‘Kurrburra the Boonwurrung Wirrirrap and Bard (1797-1849) – a man of high degree
Victorian Premiers History Awards [Short Listed] Digital Storytelling Award ‘Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances: “The Missing”’
Global Short Film Awards 2022. Honourable Mention. 'The Missing' Wind and Sky.
Spotlight Documentary Film Awards 2021 Silver Award 'The Missing' Wind and Sky
Ogeechee International History Film Festival. ‘The Missing’ Wind and Sky
Best Documentary History 2020 ATOM Awards, ‘The Missing’ Wind and Sky
Finalist, Best Cultural Diversity, Setting Sun Short Film Festival, ‘Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe’. Wind and Sky.
Finalist, Best Documentary Metro, Setting Sun Short Film Festival, ‘Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe’ Wind and Sky.
Victorian Premiers Community History Awards for Local History Project [Commendation] The Children of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate.
Club Melbourne Fellowship [Finalist]
Victorian History Awards [Commendation]. ‘Fire and Victorian Aboriginal people on the Colonial Frontier’
MAGNA Museums and Galleries National Awards [High Commendation] ‘Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe’ Documentary produced by Wind & Sky Productions.
Victorian History Awards [Commendation] 'Murnong, much more than a food'.
NSW Premier's History Awards [short listed] (Australian History Prize category) for 'The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills: Forgotten Narratives'.
Victorian History Awards [Commendation] History Publication Award for Black Gold Aboriginal people on the Goldfields of Victoria, 1850-1870.
Victorian History Awards 'The Historic Importance of the Dingo in Aboriginal Society in Victoria (Australia): A Reconsideration of the Archival Record'.
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
- Detailed Assessor for Office of Learning and Teaching
- Detailed Assessor for Australian Research Council
- Editorial Board member of Provenance: Journal of the Public Records Office of Victoria
- Eureka Centre Community Advisory (& History Advisory) Committee
- Victorian Historical Society
- Australian Historical Society