All ANU theses digitised – the 1970s

02 Dec 2019

To celebrate the digitisation of all ANU theses, we are looking at a selection of theses available through the Open Research repository.

Let's look at some ANU theses from the 1970s!


Emeritus Professor Marian Sawer is a political scientist who co-founded the Women's Caucus of the Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA) with Carole Pateman. In 1975, Marian was awarded her PhD from ANU for her thesis The question of the Asiatic mode of production: towards a new Marxist historiography. In 1994, Marian was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to women and to political science.


Emeritus Professor John Molony was a celebrated Australian historian and former Manning Clark Professor of Australian History at ANU. His historical subjects were incredibly diverse, having published works on Captain James Cook, Ned Kelly, the Australian Catholic Church and White Australians.

Professor Susan Magarey is an Australian historian and author. She is celebrated for her significant contributions to Australian history, most notably for her prolific historical works on Australian women and women’s studies around the world. The Magarey Medal for Biography is awarded biennially to the female author who has published the best biographical writing on an Australian subject. 


Professor Desmond Ball was an academic and one of Australia’s most influential defence and strategic policy experts.  He was described by former US President Jimmy Carter as “the man who saved the world” from potential holocaust, thanks to his analysis of the United States nuclear defence plans during the Cold War.

Professor Susan Wilson is a statistician and a professor at the ANU College of Science, known for her statistical modelling in relation to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In recognition of her contributions to the field she was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the International Biometric Society in 2012, the 20th person so-honoured in its 65-year history.

Raymond Whitrod was an Australian criminologist, well known for his resignation as Queensland Police Commissioner in protest of corruption. Ray also founded the Victims of Crime Service (now Victim Support), which was an Australian first. He was considered a world leader in changing the way police treat victims of crime, and in safeguarding their rights. 

Emeritus Professor Patrick Weller is a political scholar and author of dozens of books on Australian politics including First Among Equals, Malcolm Fraser: Prime Minister, Don’t tell the Prime Minister, Cabinet Government in Australia, and Learning to be a Minister.

Marilyn Renfree is an Australian zoologist and physiologist whose main research focus is on reproductive and developmental biology of marsupials. Her research is known internationally for changing the way the field thought about mammalian development and reproduction.


Susan Ryan is an Australian politician who was the first female Labor Party Minister. Susan served in several ministerial roles including the inaugural Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women. She was involved in creating the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) and the Affirmative Action Act (1986). Susan was the 2018 ANU Alumna of the Year.


Yang Hi Choe-Wall is a writer and academic with a special interest in Korean literature during the Chosŏn period. She worked in the ANU Library managing the Japanese collection during the 1960s, and was a lecturer in Korean in the 1980s and Associate Professor during the 1990s.

Anthony Fearnside is an Australian forester who received an Order of Australia Medal in 2015 for services to the community in the Australian Capital Territory. He spent 17 years as the Chief Fire Control Officer with the ACT Bush Fire Council.


Professor Rolf Zinkernagel is an experimental immunologist who was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine along with his ANU colleague Peter Doherty, for their work on cell mediated immune defence. Rolf and Peter carried out their work in immunology together at the John Curtin School of Medical Research.   

Epeli Hauʻofa was a social anthropologist who specialised in the study of the South Pacific. From 1978 to 1981 Epeli served as the Deputy Private Secretary to His Majesty the King of Tonga.


Rosemary Purdie is a Canberran botanist and ecologist, and former Commissioner for the Environment for the ACT Government. Rosemary’s work has contributed to an increased knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity through extensive botanical collecting.

Jeremy Mould is an astronomer and former Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU. Mould and his team on the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project were able to measure the age of the Universe –  almost 14 billion years old.

Dr Luise Hercus was a German-Australian linguist, whose work on Australian Aboriginal languages make up much of the primary resource materials studied today. Luise documented 56 Indigenous languages in great detail, along with history, music and oral literature of those communities.

Dr Allan Hawke is an Australian diplomat and public servant, who served as Chancellor of ANU from 2006-2008. Allan held many senior appointments in the public service including Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Keating, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and High Commissioner to New Zealand.


Dr Beverley Boissery is a historian and author living in Canada. Her critically acclaimed 2005 children’s novel Sophie’s Rebellion, was based on the 1838 Lower Canadian rebellion examined in her PhD thesis.

Emeritus Professor Dr Satendra Nandan is a writer, academic and former Fijian politician. Dr Nandan served in the House of Representatives between 1982 and 1987, before becoming a Fellow to the Humanities Research Centre here at ANU.


Professor Ursula Kees is a researcher who spent 34 years studying infant cancer at the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Laboratory.

Meredith McKinney is a medieval Japanese literature scholar and translator, who specialises in translating classical and modern Japanese literature.


Dr Ian Brunskill is a defence scientist, with a focus on military operations research and analysis. Earlier this year, Ian received the honour of being the 5,000th thesis we digitised as part of this project! You can read more about his achievements in this commemorative article on the ANU Library website.

Dr Bruce Stillman is a biochemist and cancer research. Bruce was good friends with Ian Brunskill (see above), receiving his PhD from the John Curtin School of Medical Research in the same year. You can see a picture of Bruce and Ian on a camping trip in 1977 on the ANU Library website (scroll through the photo gallery).


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