Grace Karskens

Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2010
  • Section(s): History


Grace Karskens holds degrees in history and historical archaeology from the University of Sydney. After working on a freelance basis in history, historical archaeology and heritage, she completed her PhD in 1996 and then held Australian Research Council fellowships at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. In 2001 Grace was appointed to a lectureship in history at the University of New South Wales, and since then has taught Australian history, urban history and public history. Her research areas include Australian colonial history, Aboriginal history, urban history, historical archaeology, and urban environmental history. Grace is interested in promoting historical understandings and awareness to wide audiences and served on the boards of the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and the Dictionary of Sydney. Between 2017 and 2021 she worked collaboratively with a team of Darug researchers on The Real Secret River Dyarubbin project, for which she won the NSW State Library’s Coral Thomas Award.
Grace’s books include Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood, The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney and the award-wining The Colony: A History of Early Sydney. Her latest book, People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia, is a co-winner of the Ernest Scott Prize and the US Agricultural Society’s Henry A Wallace Award for best book 2020.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.