Conceived in the late 1970s as a contribution by the Australian historical profession to the Bicentenary of European colonisation, Australians: a historical library, in ten volumes, is available in most larger libraries, and is now available in a digitised version on the Academy’s website. Illustrations were central to the project, not least the maps in the Historical Atlas.
Over four hundred writers contributed to the project, including geographers, demographers, economists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and political scientists, as well as historians. Many are fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences, some of them now deceased, including Ken Inglis (1929-2017), who developed the notion of the ‘slice history volumes’ (1838, 1888, 1938) and who, more than any other individual, made this collective scholarly project happen. An account of the project, including debates about its shape and content, is to be found in The Guide and Index by Oliver MacDonagh, the chair of the management committee. Published by Fairfax, Syme and Weldon in 1987 and 1988, the ten full-colour volumes were printed in Adelaide by the Griffin Press and sold by subscription.
The Australians is made available on this website as an academic resource with permission of copyright holder Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd.