Two of Australia’s richest people have donated $10 million to Melbourne University to enhance the teaching of history.

Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO this week launched The Little Foundation and The Hansen Trust.

The Trust will receive $8 million from The Little Foundation, in one of the largest ever donations to the study of history in Australia.

The Trust has the ambitious goal of fostering an innovative and vibrant approach to the teaching of history to encourage deeper student engagement with the subject.

An additional $2 million has been provided for the university to support other projects.

Ms Hansen – a former investment banker and a life-long lover and student of history - wants to raise the public visibility and value of history education.

“I want to encourage awareness of the significance of an education in history and nurture a passion and appreciation for its relevance in the wider community,” she said.

“It is my intention that The Hansen Trust will change the conversation about history. As a key discipline in the humanities, history teaches us to think innovatively, critically, imaginatively and morally; it helps us to enter into the lives of those who went before us and shows us that the skills required to respond to the challenges of our society won’t just come from laboratories, datasets and spread sheets.

“I hope this gift will also develop the well-rounded, engaged and creative students we need to navigate Australia’s future,” Ms Hansen said.