ANU Library receives significant donation from the Lal family

16 Feb 2024

The ANU Library is appreciative to have received a generous donation from the family of Professor Brij Vilash Lal, AM, OF, FAHA (1952-2021), an ANU PhD graduate and former Deputy Director, School of Culture, History and Language at ANU. 

Brij was a passionate academic who spent much of his professional life researching and writing from the Coombs Building in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. He has been described by the Australian Academy of Humanities as one of the most outstanding Pacific Island Historians and an eminent scholar of the History and Culture of Girmitiyas and Indian Diaspora. 

He was also a participant historian who worked tireless for Democracy in Fiji, taking a principled opposition to military coups, autocratic rule and loss of freedom of speech through a lifetime of research, writing, and community engagement, even after he and his wife, Padma, were exiled from Fiji, their country of birth in 2015. 

The donation includes over 200 books relating to the social, political and cultural experiences and contexts of Girmitiyas and Indian diaspora in the pacific, particularly Fiji, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

University Librarian, Roxanne Missingham has said “Brij was an exceptional scholar and the library is deeply grateful to the family for the donation”.

Works included in the donation can be found and accessed in the Menzies branch of the ANU Library. For more information, please email 

You can find out more about Professor Lal's career, areas of research, and the books donated to the Library in an interview with ABC Radio and ANU Library's Jacky Clements.