Vale Professor Sylvia J. Hallam

UWAP is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Professor Sylvia Hallam FAHA.



Sylvia Hallam was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire in the UK on 17 August 1927. A pioneer in Australian archaeology, she was awarded a MA and PhD from Cambridge University and a Bachelor of Divinity from Murdoch University.



Sylvia had a long and distinguished career as an archaeologist and historian, and laid the foundations for research and teaching in archaeology at the University of Western Australia. Her seminal 1975 book Fire and Hearth: A Study of Aboriginal Usage and European Usurpation in South-western Australia wove together evidence from archaeology and historical sources to show how Aboriginal people used fire to transform their environment. Sylvia published on a wide range of other topics including landscape archaeology, the colonisation of new continents, Aboriginal peoples’ cultivation of plants, and the role of women in Aboriginal society and demography. In later years, she returned to the archives to collaborate on the Aboriginal volumes of theBicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians (1989, 1990). Professor Hallam was a tireless advocate for archaeology and heritage in Western Australia. In retirement, she campaigned vigorously to preserve the unique rock art and archaeology of Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) and for recognition of its international importance. 

In 2014, UWAP released a revised edition of Sylvia Hallam's Fire and Hearth: A study of Aboriginal usage and European usurpation in south-western Australia. This classic work was originally published in 1975, and our recent edition was supported by The Staples Fund, established in 1984 by Charles and Joy Staples,

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