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

    6009 Perth


  • 469 Citations
  • 13 h-Index
1980 …2018
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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.

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

External positions

Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland


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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where David Trigger is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

anthropology Social Sciences
expert Social Sciences
Law Social Sciences
politics Social Sciences
animal Social Sciences
cultural change Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
university teacher Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1980 2018

3 Citations (Scopus)

Aboriginal cultural awareness training for mine employees: Good intentions, complicated outcomes

Parmenter, J. & Trigger, D., 1 Apr 2018, In : Extractive Industries and Society. 5, 2, p. 363-370 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

iron ore

Ethnographic collections, Indigenous narratives, and post-colonial rights in Australia

Martin, R. & Trigger, D., 2018, The social work of narratives: human rights and the cultural imaginary. Griffiths, G. & Mead, P. (eds.). Stuttgart, Germany, p. 103-120 18 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)

Chinese history, indigenous identity and mixed ancestry in Australia’s Gulf Country

Trigger, D. & Martin, R., 1 Jan 2016, Mixed Race Identities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. McGavin, K. & Fozdar, F. (eds.). 1 ed. New York: Taylor & Francis, p. 36-48 13 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


Conservation, commodification and Indigenous heritage in Queensland

Martin, R., Sneddon, A. & Trigger, D., 2016, The right to protect sites: Indigenous heritage management in the era of native title. McGrath, P. F. (ed.). Canberra, ACT, Australia, p. 137-158 22 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Cultural domains and the theory of customary environmentalism in Indigenous Australia

de Rijke, K., Martin, R. & Trigger, D., 2016, ENGAGING INDIGENOUS ECONOMY: DEBATING DIVERSE APPROACHES. Sanders, W. (ed.). The Australian National University, p. 43-53 11 p. (Research Monograph of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Projects 1997 2006

Activities 2014 2014

  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Speech presented at the Carpentaria Land Council 30 year anniversary event, Burketown, Northwest Queensland, 28 September 2014

David Trigger (Participant)
28 Sep 2014

Activity: Conferences and workshopsParticipation in workshop, seminar, course