Curriculum vitae

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Personal Details
Full name: Robert Ian Levitus

Place of birth: Sydney, Australia

Date of birth: 30 January 1953

Nationality: Australian

Formal Qualifications
2004 Doctor of Philosophy (Anthropology) Australian National University

1980 Master of Arts (Prelim)(1st class hons) University of Sydney

1978 Bachelor of Laws University of Sydney

1974 Bachelor of Arts University of Sydney

2005 – 11 Senior Anthropologist, Anthropos Consulting Services

1999 – 2005 Visiting Fellow/Postgraduate research student/Research Fellow, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University

1997 – 98 Acting Head, Cultural Heritage Management Section, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

1996 – 97 Project Co-ordinator, Kakadu Region Social Impact Study

1992 – 96 Departmental Visitor, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Australian National University

1988 – 91 Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney

1986 Tutorial Fellow, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland

1982 – 85 Postgraduate research student, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland

1981 – 82 Research Fellow (History), Project to Monitor the Social Impact of Uranium Mining on the Aborigines of the Northern Territory, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies
Membership of Professional Organisations
1990 – 2011 Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

1988 – 90 Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies

1982 – 97, 2000 – 11 Australian Anthropological Society


2009 ‘Change and catastrophe: adaptation, re-adaptation and fire in the Alligator

Rivers region’, in J.Russell-Smith, P.Whitehead and P.Cooke (eds) Culture, Ecology and Economy of Fire Management in North Australian Savannas: Rekindling the Wurrk Tradition, Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing, pp.41-67.

2009 ‘Aboriginal organisations and development: the structural context’,

in J.Altman and D.Martin (eds) Power, Culture, Economy: Indigenous Australians and Mining. Research Monograph No.30, Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and ANU e-press, pp.73-97.

2007 ‘Laws and strategies: the contest to protect Aboriginal interests at Coronation Hill’, in J.F.Weiner and K.Glaskin (eds) Customary Land Tenure and Registration in Australia and Papua New Guinea: Anthropological Perspectives. Canberra: ANU e-press, pp.247-72.  

2005 ‘Land rights and local economies: the Gagudju Association and the mirage of collective self-determination’, in D.Austin-Broos and G.Macdonald (eds) Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia. Proceedings of a Workshop of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Sydney: Sydney University Press, pp.29-39.

2005 ‘Management and the model: burning Kakadu’, in M.Minnegal (ed.) Sustainable Environments, Sustainable Communities: Potential Dialogues Between Anthropologists, Scientists and Managers. Melbourne: The University of Melbourne, SAGES Research Paper No. 21, pp.29–35.

2005 ‘Historical background’, appendix to J.Altman, M.Gray and R.Levitus, ‘The

CDEP Scheme: Policy Options for Indigenous Community and Economic Development in Rural and Remote Australia’, Discussion Paper No.271. Canberra: CAEPR, ANU, pp.24–31. At

2001 ‘Seasonal movement in the prehistoric human ecology of the Alligator Rivers region, north Australia’, in A.Anderson, I.Lilley and S.O’Connor (eds) Histories of Old Ages: Essays in Honour of Rhys Jones. Canberra: Pandanus Publications, ANU, pp.361–80 (with S.Brockwell and A.Clarke).

1999 ‘Regionalisation of Northern Territory land councils’, Discussion Paper No.192. Canberra: CAEPR, ANU (with D.F.Martin and D.P.Pollack). Available at

1999 ‘The allocation and management of royalties under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act: options for reform’, Discussion Paper No.191. Canberra: CAEPR, ANU (with J.C.Altman). Available at

  1. ‘Local organisations and the purpose of money’, in J.C.Altman, F.Morphy and T.Rowse (eds) Land Rights at Risk? Evaluations of the Reeves Report. Research Monograph No.14, Canberra: CAEPR, ANU, pp.123–29.

1997 ‘Kakadu – the human landscape’, in J.Thorsell and T.Duffy (eds) Australia’s World Heritage. Glebe: World Heritage Publishing.

1996 ‘The Resource Assessment Commission and Coronation Hill 1990–91’, in J.Finlayson and A.Jackson–Nakano (eds) Heritage and Native Title: Anthropological and Legal Perspectives. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, pp.53–61.

1995 ‘Social history since colonisation’, in A.Graham, T.Press, D.Lea and A.Webb (eds) Kakadu: the Natural and Cultural Environment and its Management. Darwin: Australian Nature Conservation Agency and North Australia Research Unit, pp.64–93.

1995 ‘Aboriginal heritage’, in A.Graham et al (eds) Kakadu: the Natural and Cultural Environment and its Management. Darwin: ANCA and NARU, pp.15–63 (with S.Brockwell, J.Russell-Smith and P.Forrest).

1991 ‘The boundaries of Gagudju Association membership: anthropology, law and public policy’, in J.Connell and R.Howitt (eds) Mining and Indigenous Peoples in Australasia. Sydney: Sydney University Press, pp.153–68.

1997 Kakadu Region Social Impact Study: Report of the Aboriginal Project Committee, June 1997. Canberra: Supervising Scientist.


1985 Research and field organisation for K.McKenzie Something of the Times,

Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 45 mins.

Book reviews

Published in The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Australian Geographer, Australian Aboriginal Studies, ANU Reporter.
2003 Sacredness and Consultation: an Interpretation of the Coronation Hill Dispute, thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Anthropology Program, The Australian National University, x + 304pp., submitted December, passed without revision April 2004.
Unpublished Reports
2010 Mudginberri history project: report to Parks Australia. 54pp.

Draft history of Mudginberri buffalo station and abattoir, resumed for declaration of Kakadu National Park.

2010 No other river like it: life on the South Alligator River, Northern Territory, Australia, by Dave Lindner: progress report submitted to Parks Australia. 30pp.

Draft account of Lindner’s environmental knowledge and practical conservation work on the South Alligator since the 1960s.

2008 Cultural connections: Purnululu National Park – World Heritage area. Final report to Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia, 63pp.

Third and final stage of project begun in 2005. Analysis of various data sources including mythology, previous anthropological mapping and current testimony, plus discussion of associated issues concerning language groups, their territories and inter-relations, leading to findings on traditional connections to Park and Conservation Reserve.

2008 Mardigan people’s native title claim (QC07/1): anthropological report. Report to Queensland South Native Title Services, 122pp.

Report on native title claim group’s continuing cultural connection to claim area addressing matters set out in Queensland Government guide.

2007 Cultural connections: Purnululu National Park – World Heritage area. Report to Department of Environment and Conservation on research period July to October 2006, 51pp.

Stage 2 of project begun in 2005. Discussion of progress of research, analysis of models of traditional ownership put forward by two competing Aboriginal organisations, review of bases for attachments claimed by families, and discussion of some associated ethnographic and conceptual issues.

2007 Peer review of ‘A report on traditional Aboriginal land interests Yelarbon – Cecil Plains – Clifton – Warwick – Stanthorpe’ by Natalie Kwok. Report to Queensland South Native Title Services, 6pp.

Peer review of a preliminary native title connection report.

2005 Cultural connections: Purnululu National Park – World Heritage area. Report to Department of Conservation and Land Management on research period July to August 2005, 38pp.

A review of previously collected research materials complemented by some interview data concerning competing perceptions of traditional ownership and aspects of Aboriginal cultural attachment and use of Purnululu National Park, East Kimberley. First stage of a larger project.

2003 Briefing paper regarding the Minister’s ‘Discussion paper – proposal to strengthen the Aboriginal Benefits Account Advisory Committee arrangements’, 4pp.

Evaluation of reform proposals put by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs regarding administration of moneys due to Aboriginal interests under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act.

  1. Texts and visual resources for the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia. Report to the National Museum of Australia, 32pp + visual documentation.

Brief historical narratives on four indigenous regions, Aboriginal protest in southern Australia, and international indigenous rights, with supporting resources, for preparation of displays in the new National Museum.

1999 Social context of contested traditions: Jabiluka mine area. Report to the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (Northern Territory), 29pp.

Description of social and historical background to disputed Aboriginal concerns regarding sacred sites in vicinity of proposed Jabiluka uranium mine.

1998 A Jawoyn management boundary in Kakadu National Park. Report to Parks Australia North, the Northern Land Council and the Jawoyn Association, 55pp + maps.

Explanation of principles governing Aboriginal group attachments to land in the Kakadu region, with analysis of the conceptual difficulties and empirical uncertainties affecting their application across a boundary zone between northern and southern language groups. Traditional affiliations and management histories for thirty locations compiled from documentary and oral sources. Intended to provide ethnographic guidance for Park managers’ consultations with Aboriginal owners.

1996 Cultural resource management and the oral heritage of Kakadu National Park. Report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, 41pp + annotated bibliography.

A review of all research carried out to date in Kakadu that recorded Aboriginal knowledge, with annotated bibliography and proposals for reorientation of future research priorities. Report also on oral heritage training program carried out by author.

  1. Sites of significance in Kakadu National Park Stage II west of the South Alligator River. Report to the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, 6pp + map.

Field identification of Aboriginal sites of significance.

1996 Site documentation: Kakadu National Park Stage III (predominantly Gimbat), Kakadu National Park Stage II (west of the South Alligator River). Report to the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, 115pp.

Data on Aboriginal sites of significance extracted from existing field notes and tapes.

1992 Report on registration of Sickness Country, Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, 50pp + maps.

Statement of current Aboriginal knowledge of region of high sacredness including Coronation Hill, with historical analysis of previous anthropological modelling of traditional custodianship, inter-relation of concepts of sacredness, proposals for management regime, mapping of sites and area boundaries.

1990 Historical perspective: appendix to Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority submission to Mr Justice D.G. Stewart and Resource Assessment Commission regarding Kakadu Conservation Zone inquiry and report under Section 10(4) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, 37pp.

Analysis of historical reporting of Aboriginal concerns for sites in the Coronation Hill area, detailing inconsistencies and the elaboration of tradition. Appended to submission to Federal Government inquiries prior to final decision on mining at Coronation Hill.

1989 Mt Bundey Station 2nd Cavalry Regiment training area and field firing range. Consultant’s report on anthropological significance, Anutech environmental impact assessment project, 26pp.

Field survey of Aboriginal sites of significance for Environmental Impact Statement.

1987 Gagudju Association membership. Report to the Gagudju Association, parts 1–3, 178pp.

Formulation of new membership rules and comprehensive membership survey for Aboriginal association receiving mining royalties under Land Rights Act. History of Association’s establishment and membership determinations, Aboriginal principles of entitlement by traditional ownership, descent group recruitment and life history explained. Detailed survey of clan territories, extensive genealogical recording of relevant clan groups, some life history recording. Reform strategy proposed in terms of requirements of relevant section of legislation.

1982 Everybody bin all day work. Report to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service on the social history of the Alligator Rivers region of the Northern Territory, 1869–1973, 128pp.

Identification of main themes of Aboriginal – non-Aboriginal interaction and their impacts on Aboriginal life. Part of base-line data for Project to Monitor the Social Impact of Uranium Mining, and for Kakadu National Park management.

generally: various minor reports on aspects of Aboriginal history, culture and society in the Kakadu area to the Gagudju Association, Northern Land Council, Parks Australia North, Australian Legal Aid Office etc.


2005 Convened and part-taught one-semester course entitled ‘The Business of

Applied Social Research’, within the Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, ANU.

2004-5 Convened and part-taught one-semester course entitled ‘Development

Dilemmas for Indigenous Australians’, within the MAAPD, ANU.

2001-3 Guest lecturer for course entitled ‘Social Impact Studies in the Project Cycle’, within the MAAPD, ANU.

1996 Organised and taught a course for Aboriginal trainees on recording oral history and heritage, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.

1986 Tutored first and second year undergraduate Anthropology classes at University of Queensland.

2010-11 Member, Kakadu Research Advisory Committee

2004 Co-convenor (semester 1) and convenor (semester 2) of public seminar program at Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, ANU.

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