Woman Haebich, Anna Elizabeth (1949 - )

18 December 1949
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Anna Haebich is a leader in the history profession, who has contributed to Aboriginal history and policy. She has also also worked as a curator, artist and art historian. She is known for her multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to her research.

Anna Elizabeth Haebich was born on 18 December 1949 in Toowoomba Queensland. Her parents are Bert Haebich and Ruth Gordon. She was educated at Wollongong High School and. In 1972 Haebich was awarded her BA (Hons) in Anthropology, from the University of Western Australia and went on in 1985 to complete a PhD at Murdoch University. She also completed studies in Fine Arts, graduating with a BA (Fine Arts) from the School of Art, Curtin University in 1994, and was the top graduating student in both Painting and Visual Culture.

Haebich has worked extensively with Indigenous communities and in Indigenous studies: initially as an Academic Research Officer, South West Aboriginal Studies Project, Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, Mount Lawley College of Advanced Education and then Lecturer, Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, Mount Lawley College of Advanced Education (1976-1978); Training Coordinator (Aboriginal), Community Services, Western Australia (1979-1980); Senior Research Officer, National Aboriginal Conference, Western Australia (1983-1984); Coordinator, Kimberly Language Resource Centre, Broome (1985-1986); Lecturer, Intercultural Studies, Edith Cowan University (1987-1989); part-time Researcher at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra (1988); Lecturer, Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University (1991-1992); Curator of History, Museum of Western Australia, Perth (1999-2000); Consultant on Stolen Generations, Katta Djinoong First Peoples of Western Australia Gallery, WA Museum (1997); Louis Johnson Memorial Trust Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Culture and Communication, Murdoch University and Aboriginal Education Program, University of New South Wales (1996-1999); Lecturer, School of Australian and Comparative Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Griffith University (1994-1995); Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Griffith University (2002); Adjunct Professor, Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University (ASP) (2009); Research Intensive Professor, Griffith University (2008-2011); and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Griffith University (2011-). In April 2011 Haebich took up an appointment as Senior Research Fellow, School of Design and Art, Curtin University. Since 2012, Haebich has been John Curtin Distinguished Professor at Curtin University. Her current research project is 'Sustaining Indigenous Cultures and Wellbeing Through the Performing Arts' which will produce the first comprehensive study of Indigenous performance in Western Australia with new insights into Indigenous creative agency within the settler nation.

Haebich has held a number of fellowships. Her collaborative research projects and initiatives include: Project Coordinator and Researcher On the Bunya Trail, Queensland Studies Centre, Griffith University and Global Arts Link, Ipswich City Council (2001-2002); Project Coordinator and Researcher, Germans of South East Queensland, Griffith University and Global Arts Link, Ipswich City Council (2001-2002); and Consultant Editor Bringing Them Home Project Oral History Project, National Library, Canberra (2001/2002); Consultant Goldfields Land and Sea Council (2001-2002); Fred Alexander Fellow, University of Western Australia (2002); QEII Australia Research Council Fellow (2002-2007); Foundation Director, Centre for Public Culture and Ideas, Griffith University (2003-2007); UNESCO Orbicom Chair, Griffith University (2004-2007); Convenor, Creative for Life, Griffith University Special Research Initiative (2007); Historian-in Residence State Library of Queensland (mid-2008 to mid-2009);Visiting Fellow Notre Dame, Fremantle (2009); Visiting Herschfeld- Mack Professor, Free University, Berlin (April-July 2011); and Fellowship in Scholars and Artists in Residence Program at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra (2012).

In 2003 Haebich was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for Services to Australian Society and Literature. She was elected. In 2006 Haebich was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2007 when she was also appointed as an Honorary Associate of the Queensland Museum. In 2010 she became a Member of the Council for the Australian Academy for the Humanities and was elected Vice President in 2011. She is also an ARC expert of international standing and was member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Research Advisory Committee (2010) and is a Member, Executive Committee of Australian DAAD Alumni Committee - Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst.

Haebich has published widely on Indigenous history and Australia's discriminatory policies and practices. For Their Own Good: Aborigines and Government in the South West of Western Australia 1900 to 1904 (1992) is a seminal work on the impact of Australia's discriminatory policies and laws. The book won the 1989 Western Australian Premier's Literature Award for Non-Fiction. Her publication Broken Circles Fragmenting Indigenous Families 1800-2000 (2000) is the first and most comprehensive national history of Australia's Stolen Generations. Broken Circles is the outcome of a close collaboration with Aboriginal people and wide-ranging historical and field research. Haebich received the NSW Premier's Book of the Year, Gleebooks Prize, NSW Premier's Literary Awards and the Stanner Award, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for Broken Circles, which was also short-listed for annual literary award by Courier Mail, Age, Human Rights Commission (Honourable Mention), Queensland Premiers Award, WA Premiers Literature Award, NSW Premier's History Award and Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. Spinning the Dream Assimilation in Australia is a meticulously researched assessment of the implications of assimilation for Australia's Indigenous and ethnic minorities and for immigration and refugee policy, was short-listed for the New South Wales Premiers Literary Award in 2008. Haebich and Doreen Mellor edited Many Voices Reflections on Experiences of Indigenous Child Separation (book with audio recordings), for the National Library of Australia (2002). Her most recent book Murdering Stepmothers the Execution of Martha Rendell (2010) is a ground-breaking fictional interpretation of a controversial murder case for which Haebich received the Margaret Medcalf award for excellence in research and referencing in using the state archives collection in 2011.

Haebich's husband, Darryl Kickett, is a Nyungar man, and she is part of his extended family from the South-West of Western Australia. She has three stepdaughters and one stepson, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Published Resources

Book Sections

  • 'Anna Elizabeth Haebich', in Who’s Who in Australia, Crown Content, Melbourne, Victoria, 1927-. Details

Online Resources

See also