Robert Foster

Associate Professor Robert Foster

Associate Professor

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD, but is currently at capacity - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Robert was appointed to the History Department in 2000, and his research focus has focussed on the history of Australia's First Nations people,, Comparative Indigenous History and general South Australian History. He has also worked as a consultant historian, especially in Native Title research. He has collaborated with Amanda Nettelbeck on a variety of projects dealing with the history and memory of frontier violence in Australia and Canada. He teaches courses on Australian Indigenous History, Australian History and Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide. Until recently he was head of the History Department. He is currently working on an ARC Linkage project entitled 'Reconciling with the Frontier: Accounting for Colonial Conflict'. In collaboration with the South Australian Museum, State Library of South Australia, History SA, State Records of South Australia and Reconciliation SA, the project seeks to map the extent of frontier conflict in Colonial South Australia and make this information available to the general public through an online 'Story Map'. In addition, the project will seek to gather stories of the frontier from Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2012 Award Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences' Award for Outstanding Student Feedback in Learning and Teaching
    2008 Achievement Shortlisted, Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Book Award for In the Name of the Law (Wakefield Press, 2007)
    2002 Achievement Shortlisted, NSW Premier's Award for Fatal Collisions (Wakefield Press, 2001)
    2002 Award Winner, John Tragenza National Community History Award for Fatal Collisions (Wakefield Press, 2001)
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    University of Adelaide Australia PhD
  • Research Interests

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Co-Supervisor Precarious Accounts: Britain 1700-1850 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Michael Henry Napier Heim
    2021 Principal Supervisor The Piano and Colonisation in South Australia Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Benjamin James Nicholls
    2020 Principal Supervisor South Australian Art Needlework 1876-1909. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jodie Lee Vandepeer
    2020 Principal Supervisor Examination of the relationship between white settlers and the local Aboriginal population in the Cooper Creek region. Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Madeleine Paige Sallis
    2020 Principal Supervisor Responses to Bushfires in Colonial South Australia Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Ms Elizabeth Mary Bor
    2020 Principal Supervisor Professor John Cleland and the 'Ultimate Absorption' of Aboriginal people during 20th Century South Australia. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Timothy James Wilkey
    2019 Co-Supervisor Documenting Suicides by Australian First and Second World War Veterans Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jessie Kate Lewcock
    2019 Principal Supervisor Australia's Pivot from the UK to the USA in the Twentieth Century Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Adam James Scorgie
    2019 Principal Supervisor The rise of industrial unionism in South Australia, 1908-22 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jack Peter Crawford
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor “I will not maintain you”: Understanding Economic Abuse in South Australia,
    1859-1893
    Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Claire Elizabeth Morey
    2018 - 2020 Principal Supervisor "Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out": The Acknowledgement of Indigenous First World War Service in Australian and New Zealand National Commemorations, 1918-2019 Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Rachel Brigitte Caines
    2016 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Commemorative Days and the Negotiation of National Identity Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr David Charles Milazzo
    2016 - 2020 Co-Supervisor In a State of War: Women's Experiences of the South Australian Home Front, 1939-45 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rachel Diane Harris
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor 'Plenty of Opal Back Then: Opal Pulkah': A History of Aboriginal Engagement in the Northern South Australian Opal Industry c.1940-1980 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Mike Harding
    2012 - 2018 Co-Supervisor More than Just a Roof over Their Heads: Migrant Accommodation Centres and the Assimilation of "New Australians" 1947-1960 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Karen Agutter
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor The Art of John Charles Dollman Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Walter Dollman
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor 'Those Women With Banners': A history of the Save Our Sons movement, 1965-1973. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Carolyn Maree Collins
    2011 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Death of a Spectacle: The Transition from Public to Private Executions in Colonial Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Steven Glenn Anderson
    2011 - 2013 Principal Supervisor 'Yet we are told that Australians do not sympathise with Ireland.' A study of South Australian support for Irish Home Rule, 1883 - 1912 Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Dr Fidelma McCorry
    2011 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Formidable Rivals: Canada, Australia, and the Pursuit of British Agricultural Migrants, 1896 - 1914 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jill Allison MacKenzie
    2010 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Abortion, Homosexuality and the Slippery Slope: Legislating 'Moral' Behaviour in South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Clare Parker
    2009 - 2010 Co-Supervisor Innovation and Difference: city planning in Adelaide from 1972 until 1993 within the historical framework of the politics of City/State relations from 1836 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Michael Llewellyn-Smith
    2009 - 2014 Principal Supervisor The Two Kingdoms: Lutheran Missionaries and the British Civilizing Mission in early South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Christine Joy Lockwood
    2007 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Dream-Phantasy of a Utopia The Making of the Methodist Overseas Half-Caste Mission of Croker Island: A Personal History Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Jennifer Caruso
    2007 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Orphans of Vietnam: A History of Intercountry Adoption Policy and Practice in Australia 1968-1975 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Joshua Forkert
    2006 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Captain Sweet's Colonial Imagination: The ideals of Modernity in South Australian Views Photography 1866 - 1886 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Karen Magee
    2006 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Gospel Power for Civilization: The CMS Missionary Perspective on Maori Culture Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Sarah Dingle
    2004 - 2008 Principal Supervisor The Narungga and Europeans: Cross-Cultural Relations on Yorke Peninsula in the Nineteenth Century Master of Arts Master Part Time Dr Skye Krichauff
    2003 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Disciplining Recreation in Colonial South Australia: Constraints, Controls and Conventions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Denis David Molyneux
    2003 - 2005 Principal Supervisor The Creation of the Torrens: A History of Adelaide's River to 1881 Master of Arts Master Part Time Sharyn Beth Clarke
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2017 - 2020 Advisory Board Member State Records Council Attorney General's Department Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    1999 - ongoing Member Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Australia
  • Position: Associate Professor
  • Phone: 83135616
  • Email: robert.foster@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83134341
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 5
  • Org Unit: School of Humanities

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