All ANU theses digitised – the 1950s

19 August 2019

ANU Library has recently finished digitising our entire collection of ANU theses, and making them available online through the Open Research repository. This will see research once largely hidden from view being exposed to people from all over the world.

To celebrate, we are taking a look at a selection of theses that you can now access online.

Let's look at some early ANU theses from the 1950s!


Title                 Church and state in Australia: the background and implications of separation

Author             Susan Liesching was the first female graduate from ANU in 1954.


Title                 The changing social structure of the Wanindiljaugwa

Author             Peter Worsley was a social anthropologist turned sociologist, who is noted for introducing the term “third world” into English, as a means of describing developing nations.


Title                 The theory and application of stochastic processes

Author             Edward Hannan was a distinguished Australian statistician credited as co-discoverer of the Hannan-Quinn information criterion. At ANU, Edward was a Fellow in Statistics from 1954-1958 and Professor of Statistics between 1959-1986. Following his retirement, the ANU appointed him an Emeritus Professor.

Title                 Some problems in the theory and applications of Markov chains

Author            Joseph Gani was a Senior Fellow in Statistics at ANU from 1961-1964, a Professor in statistics in a number of overseas universities and Chief of the CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics. Joe and his lifelong friend Ted Hannan (see above) became the first PhD students in statistics at ANU – both completing their theses under supervisor of Pat Moran.


Title                 Forgery of archaic Chinese bronze inscriptions : a preliminary investigation of the extent of forgery amongst inscribed bronze ritual vessels of the Western Chou period

Author             Noel Barnard was the first graduate in Chinese history at ANU. He was a world authority in the field of early Chinese history and archaeology, in particular metallurgy. His focus was on the interpretation of inscriptions, especially those found on the bronze vessels of the Zhou dynasty.  

Title                 The ethos and influence of the Australian pastoral worker

Author             Russel Ward was an Australian historian, best known for his examination of the development of the ‘Australian character’ in his influential and controversial book The Australian Legend, which was in part written in his thesis at ANU.


Title                 The Kuma : a study of tradition, freedom and conformity among a New Guinea people

Author             Marie Reay was a leader in the anthropology profession, and was instrumental in expanding the fields of Australian anthropology, including the study of women and race relations. While studying her PhD, Reay became the first female anthropologist to go into the Kuma region of New Guinea.

Each year the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia & the Pacific offers a prize known as the Marie Reay Prize. This assists students in the Anthropology Program with the costs of conducting ethnographic fieldwork during their PhD research. The Marie Reay Teaching Centre opened in Kambri this year.


Title                 A study of a mixed-blood aboriginal minority in the pastoral west of New South Wales

Author             Jeremy Beckett carried out long term field research on Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.  Dr Beckett wrote a number of books about Indigenous history, including The Two Rainbow Serpents Travelling. He was called as an expert witness at the Supreme Court hearings in the Mabo case.

Title                 Scintillation counter studies of photophoton reactions

Author             Trevor Ophel was an Emiratus Professor and Visiting Fellow in the Department of Nuclear Physics at ANU.  Along with John Jenkin, Ophel wrote a history of the ANU Research School of Physical Sciences, Fire in the Belly, which was published in 1996 for the university’s 50th anniversary. 

Title                 Influenza in surviving cells : a study in host-virus interaction

Author             David White was a renowned member of the Australian and international scientific communities, who was a pioneer in the field of Virology. David made major contributions towards elucidating the molecular biology and immunology of the influenza virus during his long career.


Title                 Radiative capture reactions in light nuclei

Author             Donald Gemmell was an experimental physicist whose work spanned across many fields. He produced important research results in nuclear, molecular, atomic, solid-state, x-ray, astro and biophysics – not to mention chemistry. He was one of the first scientists to use computers to assist in controlling, recording and analysing experiments.


You can search and browse to find a wealth of research in the ANU Library theses collection.