Dr Dermot Smyth

BSc Zoology, ANU; PhD Zoology, JCU

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow

Born in Dublin, Ireland, I emigrated to Australia with my family in 1959 at the age of 10. That experience of travelling halfway around the world on a ship to settle in a new country set in motion the trajectory of my life – my love of the sea, my interest in travel and cultures around the world and, later, my work supporting Indigenous land and sea management in Australia. 

During the 1970s, after studying zoology at the Australian National University and James Cook University, I undertook wildlife research in collaboration with Indigenous people in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and West Africa. On returning to Australia, this experience led to a 40-year career working on research, consultancy and education projects to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in land, sea and cultural/natural resource management in all Australian states and territories.

Research Interests

  • Innovation in Indigenous governance and management of protected areas, including collaborative governance of multi-tenure Indigenous Protected Areas and new pathways to co-management of national parks and marine parks;
  • Country-based Planning to enhance recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests in using and managing land and sea Country, irrespective of current legal ownership;
  • Supporting collaboration between Indigenous people and Western scientists to address contemporary management issues on Indigenous land and sea Country;
  • Developing undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Indigenous land and sea governance and management.
  • Supporting Indigenous Ranger groups to protect cultural and natural values if Country.

Current Research Projects

  • Collaborative planning and governance of multi-tenure Indigenous Protected Areas, including Sea Country IPAs.
  • Documenting the evolution of Indigenous land and sea management policies and initiatives in Australia.

Professional Positions, Memberships & Awards

  • Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Member, International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Link to Research Publications

Dr Dermot Smyth


T: +61 438 915 408
E: dermot.smyth@cdu.edu.au

Atherton, North QLD

Dermot Smyth Website