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Tom Austen Brown Research

Helping to build our knowledge of Australia’s human past
A passion for the field of archaeology that led to an endowment to support the advancement of archaeological research and teaching at Sydney.

About us

Tom Austen Brown researchers develop research in the field of archaeology, thanks to a generous donation by the late Tom Austen Brown, an avid amateur archaeologist. As a lawyer, his work required him to visit clients living on remote outback properties where he began collecting ancient Aboriginal artefacts. This inspired a passion for prehistory that led him to enrol in an arts degree at the University of Sydney, majoring in archaeology.

Our people

Tom Austen Brown is made up of University of Sydney academics, researchers and affiliates. We welcome the expertise of national and international researchers in our field.  

  • Dr Brit Assmussen
  • Dr Val Attenbrow
  • Dr Ian Gilligan
  • Professor Antonieta Jerardino
  • Associate Professor Lisa Nagaoka
  • Professor Marjorie Sullivan
  • Professor Peter Veth
  • Professor Steven Wolverton



The Tom Austen Brown Memorial Lecture

This annual lecture is made possible through the generosity of University of Sydney graduate Tom Austen Brown (LLB ’46 BA ’74).
In his early professional life, Tom was a lawyer but had the heart of an archaeologist, often searching for Aboriginal artefacts in the sand dunes and desert flats around Broken Hill, where he lived. Without realising it, he put together one of the most significant – yet unofficial – collections of Aboriginal stone artefacts in Australia. He completed archaeology studies at the University in 1973.
During his life, Tom gave $1.6 million to the University, and on his passing in 2009, left a $6.9 million bequest to the Discpline of Archaeology. Tom’s bequest has already created the Chair of Australian Archaeology, the first endowed chair of archaeology in the country to include Australia in its brief. There is also the Tom Austen Brown Grants Program for Prehistory.
Tom has helped create a future for Australia’s past.