Australian Dictionary of Biography

Australian Dictionary of Biography

The Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB or AuDB) is a national co-operative enterprise founded and maintained by the Australian National University (ANU) to produce authoritative biographical articles on eminent people in Australia's history.

The ADB project has been operating since 1957. Staff are located at the National Centre of Biography in the History Department of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Since its inception, 4000 authors have contributed to the ADB and its published volumes contain 9,800 scholarly articles on 12,000 individuals.[1]


  • Volumes 1
  • Online 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


To date, the ADB has produced eighteen volumes of biographical articles on important and representative figures in Australian history, published by Melbourne University Publishing.

  • Volumes 1 and 2 (published in 1966–67) covered subjects who lived in the period 1788–1850
  • Volumes 3 to 6 (published in 1969–76) dealt with the period 1851–1890
  • Volumes 7 to 12 (published in 1979–90) dealt with the period 1891–1939
  • Volumes 13 to 16 (published in 1993–2002) dealt with the period 1940–1980
  • Volumes 17 (published in 2007) dealt with those who died between 1981 and 1990 with surnames beginning with A to K.
  • Volume 18 will cover people who died between 1981 and 1990 with surnames beginning with L to Z, and will be published in 2012.[1]
  • A Supplementary volume of Australians not covered by the original volumes was released in 2005.
  • An index to Volumes 1 to 12 was published in 1991.

In addition to publishing these works, the ADB makes its primary research material available to the academic community and the public.


On 6 July 2006, the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online was launched by Michael Jeffery, Governor-General of Australia, and received a Manning Clark National Cultural Award in December 2006.[2] The website is a joint production of the ADB and the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, University of Melbourne (Austehc).

The ADB project should not be confused with the much smaller and older Dictionary of Australian Biography by Percival Serle first published in 1949, nor with the German Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (published 1875–1912) which is also referred to as ADB in English sources.[3]


  1. ^ a b About the Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. ^ Launch of Online Edition of the ADB
  3. ^

External links

  • Australian Dictionary of Biography
  • National Centre of Biography
  • Melanie Nolan and Christine Fernon (2013). The ADB’s Story. Canberra: ANU E-Press.