It is with deep regret that the Academy informs you of the passing of Emeritus Professor Eric Richards FASSA FRHS FAHA, elected to the Academy as a Fellow in 1986. He was a leading specialist in the history of Australian, British and international migration, and an authority on the history of the Scottish Highlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Eric Richards was born in North Wales and was educated at the University of Nottingham. After migrating to Australia in the mid 1960s and making Flinders University his “academic home for life”, Professor Richards produced a range of books on British and Australian history, including The Leviathan of Wealth: The Sutherland Fortune in the Industrial Revolution (1973), The Last Scottish Food Riots (1982), Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil (2000), Britannia’s Children: Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600
(2004), and an edited collection, On the Wing: Mobility Before and After Emigration to Australia (2013). His book Destination Australia: Migration to Australia since 1901 (2008), won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2009.
During his time at Flinders, Professor Richards held visiting positions at universities in Britain and the United States and at the Australian National University. In 2014 he was appointed the Carnegie Trust Centenary Professor at the new University of the Highlands and Islands, based at Dornoch and Inverness. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Professor Richards was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for Services to the Arts and Australian Society in 2003.
In early 2017, the ANU held the inaugural Eric Richards Symposium in British and Australasian History in honour of Professor Richards’ work and career. Intended as a regular conference for scholars working on British and Australasian history, it is a testament to Professor Richards’ legacy and an indication of the high esteem by which he was held by those in the humanities community.
We extend our deepest sympathies to the Richards family.
Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin FAHA