Jane Lydon

Professor, MA PhD ANU

  • The University of Western Australia (M204), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Personal profile


Jane Lydon’s research centres upon Australia’s colonial past and its legacies in the present. She is interested in the ways that popular and especially visual culture has shaped ideas and debates about race, identity and culture that persist today. In particular, she is concerned with the history of Australia’s engagement with anti-slavery, humanitarianism, and ultimately human rights. Her work has contributed to decolonizing heritage and academic practice, with a strong impact on debates regarding colonialism and Australian legacies of imperialism and slavery. Her analysis of issues such as Australian citizenship through visual culture has enabled communication with a very wide audience.

New and Noteworthy

‘Search for descendants of Aboriginal people who settled in Indonesia at least 150 years ago’, Erin Parke, ABC News, Sat 11 Feb 2023. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-11/mystery-community-of-aboriginal-and-indonesian-families/101901188?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=link&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_source=abc_news_web

Indonesian version: https://www.abc.net.au/indonesian/2023-02-13/bukti-jika-warga-pribumi-australia-pernah-ke-indonesia/101965990

Finalist, 2022, for Anti-slavery and Australia: No Slavery in a Free Land? in the 2022 Paul E. Lovejoy Prize ‘for excellence and originality in a major work on any theme related to global slavery’. 

Teaching overview

Coordinator : 

• Looking for Australia (HIST2015)

• Who do we think we are? Doing Family History (HIST2021)

• From Slavery to Settler Colonialism: Labour, Land and Profit (HIST4102)



Cultural history of human rights, humanitarianism and empire

Australian Legacies of British Slavery

Australian colonial visual cultures

Heritage: the colonial past in the present


(CI) 'Western Australian Legacies of British Slavery' (with Martens, J., Arthur, P., Laidlaw, Z., Hall, C., McClelland, K. & Lester, A.) (ARC DP200100094 2020-2022)

(CI) 'Envisaging Citizenship: Australian Histories and Global Connections' (with A. Nettelbeck, M.Miles and F.Anderson) (ARC DP200100088 2020-2022)

(Associate Partner) ‘Digital Heritage in Cultural Conflicts’, JPICultural Heritage, Digital Heritage, Led by Prof Gil Pasternak, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, UK.(€550,000, 2018-2021)

Roles and responsibilities

• Berndt Research Foundation Committee (2022-)

• History Advisory Panel, Museum of Chinese Australia (2021-2023)

• Committee, Australian Historical Association 

• Editorial Board, Labour History (2021-)

• Advisory Board, Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies. Postgraduate-run. (2016-)

• Editorial Board, History of Photography (2016-2021)

• Editorial Board, Australasian Historical Archaeology

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Australian History
  • Photography
  • Emotions
  • Visual Culture
  • Humanitarianism
  • Human Rights


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