ARC project focus on how Indigenous nurses navigated protectionism and segregation

14 October 2020

Congratulations to UQ's Professor Tracey Bunda who joins Professor Odette Best from USQ for a $116,265 ARC project on the 'Historiography of Aboriginal Queensland Nurses and Midwives 1890s-1950s'.

Professor Bunda is Academic Director for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit.

Professor Tracey Bunda

This major ARC project aims to investigate the histories of Queensland Aboriginal women who trained as nurses or midwives from the 1890s - 1950s, countering existing assumptions that First Nations women could not access education and employment and were 'just domestics'.

Anticipated outcomes of this project include the generation of new knowledge in the field of Australian history, and the creation of cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary and community capacity to research innovative histories of Aboriginal women in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Australia.

For Aboriginal communities and the nation, a significant benefit expected from the project is a new understanding of Aboriginal women’s participation in the educated, paid workforce.

This research aims to identify how Indigenous women as nurses and midwives navigated through the acts of protectionism and segregation eras and had agency with recognised qualifications.

Professor Bunda and Professor Best will undertake 13 community visits throughout Queensland to meet with local Elders, pour through archives and conduct interviews.

Their project is timely as 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.