Professor Desmond O'Connor

Full Academic Status

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

After completing a First Class Honours degree at the University of Melbourne, he was awarded the first-ever Italian Government scholarship to be offered in Australia, which enabled him to complete his Masters at the University of Padua. He subsequently lectured at the University of WA before being appointed to the Italian Department at Flinders. He has published internationally on Italian-English lexicography, Italian language, Italian poetry, and is today most well known for his research and publications on Italian migration to South Australia. In 1990 he established the first course on Italian migration to be offered in an Australian university Italian studies department. He has supervised many Flinders postgraduates in this field. His teaching and research in Italian migration resulted in migration studies becoming a particular strength of the School of Humanities. At Flinders he has occupied numerous administrative positions, including Deputy Head of the School.

BA Honours First Class, University of Melbourne (1966)
MA First Class, University of Melbourne (1968)
PhD Flinders University (1997)
Honours, awards and grants
- Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta' Italiana, knighthood conferred by the President of the Italian Republic for "contribution to education and research, in particular migration studies" (2008).
- Faculty of EHLT award for "outstanding leadership in developing migration studies teaching and research in the School of Humanities" (2007).
- University of Rome "La Sapienza" award "in gratitude for his outstanding scholarship in the field of Italian studies and Italian migration research, which have distinguished his whole academic activity" (2006).
- Vice-Chancellor's staff award for "outstanding contribution to Flinders University" (2006).
- Centenary of Federation Medal "for service to the community as Head of the Languages Department, Flinders University" (2003).
Teaching interests
The history of the settlement of Italians in Australia with special reference to South Australia.

Italian language topics.

History of the Italian Language.

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Italian poetry.
Supervisory interests
Italian literature
Italian migration to Australia
Italian migration to South Australia
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Italian migration history (7), Linguistics (1)
Associate supervisor: Italian literature (3), Linguistics (1)
Expert for media contact
Italian migration to South Australia
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Italy
  • Migration
  • Italian migration to South Australia