Vale Emeritus Professor Rigsby

31 March 2022
Bruce Rigsby and Bobby Stewart at Yitjingga/Port Stewart, Cape York Peninsula,
2007 (courtesy of Barbara Rigsby and family of Bobby Stewart).

Vale Emeritus Professor Bruce Rigsby, an anthropologist and much-loved colleague of the School of Social Science, who sadly passed away after a long illness on 19 March 2022.

 Professor Rigsby will be remembered as a scholar initially of North American Indian languages and then over decades from the early 1970s as a linguistic anthropologist working in Indigenous Australia. Most of his research in Australia was focused on Cape York Peninsula.

In 1975 Professor Rigsby took up the new Chair of Anthropology at The University of Queensland in what is now the School of Social Science. Over decades he built a distinctive program of teaching and research at UQ and influenced many who went on to careers in anthropology and related disciplines.

He worked at UQ from 1975 to 2000 as a valued member of the School and University – whose contribution was recognised by establishing an endowed prize in his name during this time.

 To quote from the Introduction of a volume assembled and published in his honour in 2016 (Land and language in Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf Country):

“It is difficult to do justice to even the Australian part of Bruce’s work, because he has worked on such a wide range of topics and across the boundaries of disciplines, in fundamental and in applied work.”

 Professor Rigsby will be missed as a colleague and collaborator among the many who have known him and greatly valued his professional and personal friendship.

He leaves behind an important and enduring legacy in the research of Social Science disciplines at UQ. We extend our deepest sympathy to Professor Rigsby’s family, friends, and colleagues.