Vale Emeritus Professor John Mulvaney AO, CMG FAHA

1925 – 2016

John Mulvaney, the first university-trained prehistorian to make Australian archaeology his subject, has died at age 90.

John Mulvaney had a long and distinguished career and is justly described as the ‘Father of Australian Archaeology’. He was the Foundation Chair in Prehistory in the Arts Faculty at the ANU (1971), a former Commissioner of the Australian Heritage Commission and an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (since 1969). In 1982, John was awarded the Companion in The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), in 1991, he received an Order of Australia Medal (Australia’s highest Order) and in 1999 the British Academy awarded him the Graham Clark Medal.

In 2004, the Australian Archaeological Association awarded John Mulvaney the Rhys Jones Medal, Australian Archaeology’s highest honour, as an acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to Australian archaeology, to AAA, the academic discipline, and to increasing public awareness of the discipline and the importance of Australia’s cultural heritage. Also in 2004, the Association established the John Mulvaney Book Award in his honour to further recognise his contribution and commitment to Australian archaeology over a lifetime of professional service.

On behalf of its members, the Australian Archaeological Association would like to express its sincerest condolences to John’s family, friends and colleagues.

Fittingly, there have been numerous additional tributes to John Mulvaney from leading institutions across Australia. Linked below are a selection of these:

In addition to writing his own autobiography (Digging Up a Past), John Mulvaney was interviewed at numerous times throughout his career.

Two key interviews that will be of interest for anyone who would like to learn more about his career in his own words:

In 2000, John Mulvaney was interviewed by Pamela Jane Smith, which can be downloaded here.

In 2012, John Mulvaney interviewed by Bronwyn Hanna in the Burra Charter oral history project for the National Library of Australia, which can be accessed here.

John Mulvaney