About

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Welcome to my blog. I am an Australian environmental and cultural historian and writer with a PhD from the Australian National University.

My research interests include the natural and cultural history of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica; oceans in the Anthropocene; nature, history and memory in rural regions; cultural heritage conservation; history in museums; the ecological humanities; and community-based history and storytelling.

I have written on many aspects of Australian environmental, cultural and political history, drawing on my experience as a public historian, researcher and curator in the heritage, museums and library sectors. I am currently writing a history of Australians in Antarctica for the National Library of Australia, and gearing up for a new book project on oceans, seas and shores with Erika Techera, Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Western Australia. Also thinking about future projects to do with place and belonging in the Anthropocene, human-animal relationships, and island environmental stories. So much to think about!

I am currently a Visiting Fellow at the ANU School of History, and a Research Editor with the Australian Dictionary of Biography. From time to time I also work as a senior parliamentary researcher, and I have a long-standing interest in the history of women’s political rights.

Recent achievements for Wild Sea

Longlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards, Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year, 2019

Longlisted for the NSW Premier’s History Awards, 2019

Reviewed in Nature: International Journal of Science; Science Magazine (US); The Spectator (UK); History Australia; Historical Records of Australian Science

Excerpt published in The Atlantic (US)

Recent projects and publications

Contribution to a paper on the ‘blue economy’ and local initiatives for the Blue Economy Challenge initiative coordinated by the University of Tasmania.

Presentations on Southern Ocean history at the Natural History Museum, London; Greenwich University, London; and Trinity College Dublin, May 2019

Presentation to National Youth Science Forum, January 2019

Presentation on Cook and his legacy of maritime exploration and scientific voyaging at the National Library of Australia to coincide with the Library’s Cook and the Pacific exhibition, 19 January 2019

Keynote address at 2018 Oceans Institute Postgraduate Symposium, University of Western Australia, 2 November 2018

(with Marian Sawer), ‘Australia: The Slow Road to Parliament’, in Susan Franceschet, Mona Lena Krook and Netina Tan, eds, The Palgrave Handbook of Women’s Political Rights, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019

‘Reflections on writing an ocean history’, Professional Historians Association NSW/ACT blog, 11 August 2018

Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean, NewSouth Publishing,  2018; University of Chicago Press, 2019

Presentation to Australian Historical Association annual conference, Canberra, July 2018

(with Andrea Gaynor), ‘“I’ve had dolphins … looking for abalone for me”: Oral History and Subjectivities of Marine Engagement’, The Oral History Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 44, no. 2, 2017, pp. 260-277

Review: Michael Veitch, Southern Surveyor: Stories from Onboard Australia’s Ocean Research Vessel, CSIRO Publishing, 2015, for The Great Circle, Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History, vol. 38, no. 2, 2016, pp. 93-95

‘Upwelling: The Rise of Ecological Consciousness in the Southern Ocean’, in Estelita Vaz, Arnaldo Melo and Cristina Joanaz de Melo, eds, Environmental History in the Making, vol. II, Springer, 2016

‘Carson, Rachel (1907-1964)’; Cook, James (1728-1779); ‘Science at the Poles’, Stephen K. Stein, ed, The Sea in World History: Exploration, Travel and Trade, ABC-CLIO, California, 2016