PhD scholarship opportunity – Uni. Sunshine Coast

Contrasting Histories of Coastal Barrier Evolution: Indigenous and Scientific Narratives of the Origin and Evolution of the Younghusband Peninsula (South Australia)

A PhD scholarship is available for an Australian research Council (ARC) Discovery project examining the geomorphology and evolution of the Younghusband Peninsula in South Australia. This PhD research involves the compilation of Indigenous stories explaining the origin and evolution of natural coastal barriers (barrier beaches) with special focus on the Younghusband Peninsula (SA). This process will involve the collection and critical analysis of oral accounts, some obtained directly from living knowledgeholders; from information in various archives; and from surveys of field sites. Key incidents in barrier evolution will be identified and compared with similar transformative events identified through scientific studies. This research builds on the demonstration that numerous Australian stories about coastal change have endured more than 7000 years and that these stories contain many details that agree with those obtained from science-based narratives. This PhD project is well suited to someone with experience of working ethically with Indigenous Australians (or other groups of people in non-western contexts) and/or having a history or anthropology background and/or someone with experience of the evolution of soft-sediment coasts.

The candidate will be supervised by Prof Patrick Nunn (Quaternary geology, coastal geography, oral history) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) and will join a multi-disciplinary, international team led by Professor Patrick Hesp (coastal & aeolian geomorphology) and including Dr Graziela Miot da Silva (marine geology; oceanography), Prof Colin Murray-Wallace (Quaternary geology), Dr Tora Tamura (Geology, dating), Prof Sergio Dillenburg (Quaternary geology), Dr Ian Moffat (geophysics, archaeology), Prof Robert Bourman (coastal geology and geomorphology), Dr Christopher Wilson (archaeology), and Dr Roger Luebbers (coastal archaeology).

This PhD scholarship is for three years full time and tenable in the School of Law and Society at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland). The candidate should preferably have a Masters degree in an appropriate discipline. Candidates with a first-class Honours degree will also be considered. Previous experience working with coastal systems and/or Indigenous knowledges will be advantageous. This offer is open to any appropriately qualified student.

This scholarship includes a tax-free living stipend of AUD$28,854 per annum for 3 years with the possibility of a 6-month extension in approved circumstances. The rate is indexed annually commensurate with the RTP base stipend rate. The scholarship also includes a $2000 allowance for relocation, publication and thesis printing. No tuition fees are payable by Australian students and are waived in this instance for international students. The PhD begins at the start of 2023 or by negotiation.

Interested candidates should send a CV, motivation letter, and the names and email addresses of two referees via e-mail to Prof. Patrick Nunn at

Applications close 30th September 2022 at 17.00h AEST.