Passing of ANU historian John Molony

Professor John Molony at the second Australian National Word Festival, University House, ANU (Image: ANU Library)
Wednesday 26 September 2018

One of the finest historians of his generation, celebrated for a diverse body of work spanning bush rangers, colonial Australia, and ancient Europe, Emeritus Professor John Molony has died at the age of 91.

Enjoying a long and successful career in academia, John rose from a research assistant in the rapidly expanding ANU of the early 1960s, to become head of the Department of History. From 1982 to his retirement from ANU in 1990, he held the Manning Clark Chair of Australian History.

Current head of the ANU School of History Frank Bongiorno recalls a life of exemplary achievement and service.

“John distinguished himself as a superb teacher, an outstanding researcher and writer, and a generous contributor to the wider university community. He wrote acclaimed books in Australian history, but also published in Italian and Irish history, and was a remarkably versatile teacher who was at home in both European and Australian history, and in the medieval and modern worlds. John was an academic leader and great scholar-citizen who took seriously the idea of service to university and community.”

Following his retirement from ANU, John was appointed an Emeritus Professor by the University, and held further positions at University College Dublin, and the Australian Catholic University.

In retirement, neither his scholarship nor his association with the ANU faded. He continued to publish, his final book about James Cook released in 2016.

Frank Bongiorno continues, “He was one of the giants of History at the ANU, and was still contributing to our intellectual life – especially through his work with the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Emeritus Faculty – right to the end of his life. His passing is a great loss to our university, the historical profession and the Canberra and Australian communities.”    

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Updated:  26 September 2018/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications