Emeritus Professor David Trigger

Emeritus Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


David Trigger works on the different meanings attributed to land and nature across diverse sectors of society and in different countries. His research encompasses academic studies of how land and sense of place inform the cultural identities of citizens with diverse ancestries. His research is mostly focused on Australian society. In Australian Aboriginal Studies, Professor Trigger has carried out more than 35 years of anthropological study on Indigenous systems of land tenure, including applied research on resource development negotiations and native title claims. In collaboration with colleagues he has in recent years sought understanding of the overlaps and divergences of senses of place among those with Euro-Australian, Asian and Aboriginal ancestries. This work includes projects focused on a comparison of pro-development, environmentalist and Aboriginal perspectives on land and nature. Of particular interest are the issues of ‘nativeness’ and ‘invasiveness’ as understood in both nature and society, with implications for issues of land, cultural identity and environmental management.

Research Interests

  • Land, identity, indigeneity and cultural change
    Professor Trigger's interests encompass the relationship between land and cultural identity. His applied research focuses on negotiations over the legacy of colonialism in Australian society.

Research Impacts

Professor Trigger is a leading scholar in applied anthropological research on Indigenous land negotiations in Australian society. His impact is made directly through participation as an expert witness and researcher in native title claims, heritage matters and agreement making between Aboriginal groups and other land users. This work involves collaborations with legal practitioners and other professionals in the area of economic development and environmental management. Indirectly the impact of his work is through publishing the results of research and teaching students. He has a large number of research higher degree scholars for whom he provides supervision.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Supervision



Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Trigger, David, Babidge, Sally, Oertierra, Anna, Ross, Annie and Hafner, Diane (2012). Cars, museums, collecting: objects and the nature of heritage. In: Culture and context in a material world: Australian Anthropological Society Conference 2012. Australian Anthropological Society Conference, St Lucia, Qld, Australia, (115-116). 26-29 September 2012.

  • Trigger, D. (2005). Mining projects in remote Aboriginal Australia: Sites for the articulation and contesting of economic and cultural futures. In: Diane Austin-Broos and Gaynor Macdonald, Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia : Proceedings of a Workshop of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia Workshop, Sydney, Australia, (41-62). 30 November - 1 December, 2004.

  • Mulcock, Jane, McNamara, Beverley and Trigger, David (2005). Teaching multidisciplinarity: Lessons from an Honours practicum. In: Monica Minnegal, Sustainable Environments, Sustainable Communities: Potential Dialogues Between Anthropologists, Scientists and Managers. , Melbourne, Australia, (15-22). 2 October, 2004.

  • Trigger, D. and Mulcock, J. (2003). Native vs exotic: Cultural discourses about flora, fauna and belonging in Australia. In: E. Beriatos, C. A. Brebbia, H. Coccossis and A. G. Kungolos, Sustainable Planning and Development: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Planning and Development. 1st International Conference on Sustainable Planning and Development, Skiathos Island, Greece, (1301-1310). 2003. doi:10.2495/SPD051272

  • Trigger, D. S. (2002). Large-Scale Mining in Aboriginal Australia: Cultural Dispositions and Economic Aspirations in Indigenous Communities. In: , , (189-193). .

  • Trigger, D. (2002). Large-scale mining in Aboriginal Australia: cultural dispositions & economic aspirations in Indigenous communities. In: International codes, technology and sustainability for the minerals industry : CMMI Congress 2002. International codes, technology and sustainability for the minerals industry : CMMI Congress 2002, Cairns, Queensland, (189-194). 27-28 May, 2002.

  • Trigger, David S. (1995). Some aspects of cultural diversity throughout indigenous Australia. In: Frank McKeown and National Native Title Tribunal, Native title : an opportunity for understanding : proceedings of an induction course conducted by the National Native Title Tribunal to increase awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other cultural perspectives in the native title process. National Native Title Tribunal Induction Course to increase awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other cultural perspectives in the native title process, Nedlands, WA, Australia, (25-39). 1-3 December 1994.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision