Series 406 - Pacific History Records Room collection

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Pacific History Records Room collection


  • 1792 - 1982 (Creation)

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227 items

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Name of creator

(1948 -)

Biographical history

The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies was established in 1948 as the Research School of Pacific Studies, changing its name in 1994. It is Australia’s pre-eminent centre for research and postgraduate training in the Asia-Pacific region, with one of the largest concentrations of expertise in the world. Priority areas for research are Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Research is multidisciplinary and is focused on anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, human geography, international relations, linguistics, political science, resource management and strategic defence studies. In 1947 New Zealander Raymond Firth, an anthropologist who had published widely on the Pacific and Southeast Asian region, was invited by the Interim University Council to act as the Academic Advisor for Pacific Studies with the hope that he would take on the job as Foundation Professor. Firth’s initial plans for the School of Pacific Studies were that it would have an emphasis on human studies and be concerned mainly with the Pacific Island territories for which Australia was responsible. In contrast to this, proposals put forward by Sir Frederick Eggleston to the Academic Advisory Committee, before Firth’s appointment, called for a school that was to also have an Asian focus and concentrate on political problems in the Pacific. In 1949 Firth resigned from the Academic Advisory Committee, deciding not to make the move permanently to Australia from England, giving Eggleston the opportunity to substitute a broader scope for the School including India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. In mid-1949 Firth was persuaded to resume his role as Academic Advisor and made the initial appointments of chairs to Siegfried Frederick Nadel (Anthropology and Sociology), Walter Russell Crocker (International Relations), James Davidson (Pacific History), and Oskar Spate (Geography) and the appointments of Readers W.E.H. Stanner (Comparative Social Institutions) and C.P. Fitzgerald (Far Eastern History). Further departments were added: Economics (1960), Linguistics (1968), Prehistory (1969), and the New Guinea Research Unit (1961). The Geography Department reformed as two departments in 1968: Biogeography and Geomorphology, and Human Geography. Its name was changed to the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies in 1994, to reflect the balance of research activity in the School which had shifted significantly from the Pacific towards Asia.

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Scope and content

Printed material and copies of historical publications on the South Pacific, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoan Islands, Philippine Islands; copies of correspondence, photocopies of ship logs, maps, thesis material, administrative papers relating to the management of the Department of Pacific and South East Asian records room, and sound reel tapes of interviews relating to the Rorovana Land Crisis, Bougainville Island, 1969.


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Open access

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Entered from deposit description on 26 March 2013




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