This year, Professor Ann McGrath has been awarded the John Douglas Kerr Medal of Distinction for her contribution to Queensland history, and for the depth and breadth of her research and scholarship.
Professor McGrath has, through her teaching, research, publications and involvement with the historical community and profession, advanced the study of Queensland and Australian history. She has successfully incorporated Queensland history into both Australian and global historical studies, and has been an example to a generation of historians. Her work on transnational and empire history have provided useful and connected contexts to the history of this state and the nation.
Ann has researched and written on a large range of topics, including economic history, race relations, religious history, regional studies as well as gender and sexuality studies. Her first book, Born in the Cattle, published in 1987 and republished in 2012, is regarded as a seminal text. This tells the story of Aboriginal involvement in the northern cattle industry, and was the first major academic historical publication that reviewed Indigenous perspectives in depth for both men and women on pastoral stations. Her complex and nuanced analysis of work and family relations in the cattle industry was further extended inAboriginal Workers, published in 1995. Other important works include How to Write History That People Want to Read (2009) and Message from Mungo (2014), a documentary film.
Her varied social histories and studies of historiography – whether solely or collaboratively undertaken – are also highly significant in providing some of the leading examples of this genre. Further examples of her widely-recognised achievements include her dedication to collaborative scholarship, her practical involvement in producing reference sources for wider use, and the connection between her formal positions with government authorities and the practical application of the pursuit of history. A long list of articles and chapters, submissions to inquiries and book reviews are also integral components of her lengthy publication record.
In conclusion, Professor Ann McGrath is truly a most deserving recipient of the 2016 John Douglas Kerr Medal of Distinction. PHA Qld congratulates her on this well deserved accolade.