John Kinder

Emeritus Professor, MA PhD Well., FAHA, Order of the Star of Italy

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

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile

Previous positions

Victoria University of Wellington: Lecturer in Italian, 1980-1982
James Cook University of North Queensland: Lecturer in Italian, 1983-1985
Flinders University of South Australia: Lecturer in Italian, 1986-1987
University of Western Australia: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor in Italian, 1988-2019
University of Western Australia: Director, Faculty of Arts Multimedia Centre, 1996-1999

Current projects

I am at present completing the biography of Raffaele Martelli (1811-1880), the first Italian migrant to become a British subject in Western Australia (1860). After a successful career as a seminary professor in his native Ancona, Father Martelli participated in the First War of Italian Independence (1848). He subsequently found himself in an intolerable social and personal situation, from which he emerged through the decision to become a missionary. He arrived in Western Australia in 1853 and worked here, without ever returning to Italy, until his death in 1880. A major source of information is the large collection of letters conserved in the archive of New Norcia. Half of these are written in Italian or French (and I have published a translation of them), the other half are in English.

I am also working on a new project to document the experience of European missionaries in Australia, through study of their own private writings. This project will collect and analyse documents in English, French, German, Italian, Latin and Spanish. A key focus is the lived experience of the encounter between Indigenous people and European missionaries. The project includes collaborators from the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand and Italy. It will create a Digital Missionary Archive and to explore the automated transcription of manuscript documents.


John Kinder is Emeritus Professor of Italian Studies. His PhD was a study of bilingual conversation among Italian migrants in New Zealand and his early research work focussed on recent Italian migration to Australia and New Zealand. He then published a grammar of the Italian language and a multimedia history of the Italian language. He is now studying the presence of Italian as a language of communication in Australia before the mass migration of the 1950s.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Corresponding Fellow of the Accademia della Crusca, and a Grand Ufficiale of the Order of the Star of Italy.

Roles and responsibilities

Head of Section, European Languages and Cultures, Australian Academy of Humanities (2016-2018)

Member of the Italian Ambassador’s National Language Advisory Group, Canberra (2015-present)

Management Committee, Language and Culture Network of Australian Universities (2014-present)

Deputy-Chair, Management Committee, Australasian Centre for Italian Studies (2010-present)

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research expertise keywords

  • Italian Language
  • Australian Languages
  • Communication Networks
  • Italian linguistics
  • Italian language and dialects
  • Italian language in Western Australia from 1850 to present


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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