• The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


David Trigger works on the different meanings attributed to land and nature across diverse sectors of society and in different countries. His research encompasses academic studies of how land and sense of place inform the cultural identities of citizens with diverse ancestries. His research is mostly focused on Australian society. In Australian Aboriginal Studies, Professor Trigger has carried out more than 35 years of anthropological study on Indigenous systems of land tenure, including applied research on resource development negotiations and native title claims. In collaboration with colleagues he has in recent years sought understanding of the overlaps and divergences of senses of place among those with Euro-Australian, Asian and Aboriginal ancestries. This work includes projects focused on a comparison of pro-development, environmentalist and Aboriginal perspectives on land and nature. Of particular interest are the issues of ‘nativeness’ and ‘invasiveness’ as understood in both nature and society, with implications for issues of land, cultural identity and environmental management.

Research interests

Professor Trigger's interests encompass the relationship between land and cultural identity. His applied research focuses on negotiations over the legacy of colonialism in Australian society.


Professor Trigger is a leading scholar in applied anthropological research on Indigenous land negotiations in Australian society. His impact is made directly through participation as an expert witness and researcher in native title claims, heritage matters and agreement making between Aboriginal groups and other land users. This work involves collaborations with legal practitioners and other professionals in the area of economic development and environmental management. Indirectly the impact of his work is through publishing the results of research and teaching students. He has a large number of research higher degree scholars for whom he provides supervision.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986

External positions

Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland

Research expertise keywords

  • Social Sciences Cross-Cultural Studies
  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Migration
  • Land Use Planning/Policy


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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