About

Welcome to my blog. I am an Australian environmental and cultural historian and writer with a Master of Arts in public history from Monash University and a PhD from the Australian National University.

My research interests include the natural and cultural histories 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. I am also planning some future writing projects to do with Antarctic sea ice, oceanic migrations and connections in the southern hemisphere, human-animal relationships, and island environmental stories.

I am currently an Academic Visitor at the ANU School of History and member of the Centre for Environmental History. 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

  • Shortlisted and Highly Commended, Australian Capital Territory Book of the Year, 2019
  • Longlisted, Australian Book Industry Awards, Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year, 2019
  • Longlisted, New South Wales Premier’s History Awards, 2019
  • International and Australian reviews including: Nature: International Journal of Science; Science Magazine (US); Harper’s Magazine (US); The Spectator (UK); The Polar Journal (UK); Natural History Book Service (UK); Global Maritime History; Blue Wolf Reviews; History Australia; Historical Records of Australian Science; Dictionary of Sydney; James Bradley, editor of Penguin Book of the Ocean, in The Australian
  • Excerpts published in The Atlantic (US); Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
  • Listed in The Australian Books of the Year 2018, 22 December 2018

Selected interviews for Wild Sea

  • ABC Conversations with Sarah Kanowski, 22 June 2018
  • Time to Eat the Dogs: On Science, History, and Exploration, podcast with Michael Robinson, Professor of History, University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, 3 July 2018
  • Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue, ABC Radio National, 9 June 2018
  • Radio Marinara with Bron Burton, Triple R community radio, Melbourne, 21 October 2018
  • New Books Network (Australia and New Zealand) with Jason Schulman, 7 September 2018

Selected publications

Ocean history

Co-author of multi-disciplinary journal article for Springer on ‘Ocean resource use: building the coastal blue economy’ (University of Tasmania)

Review: Frances Steel, ed, New Zealand and the Sea: Historical Perspectives, Bridget Williams Books, 2019, for Australian Historical Studies, Routledge

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

(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

Rural history

Review: Philip Goldswain, ed, Out of Place (Gwalia): Occasional Essays on Australian Regional Communities and Built Environments in Transition, in Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, Issue 3, September 2015

 ‘Cultural Landscapes in Country Victoria’, in C. Sagazio, ed, National Trust Research Manual, Allen & Unwin, Sydney 1992, 2007

‘History and memory in Australia’s wheatlands’, in Graeme Davison and Marc Brodie, eds, Struggle Country: The Rural Ideal in Twentieth Century Australia, Monash University ePress, Clayton, Vic. 2005, 03.1-03.17

‘The Unsettled Country: Landscape, History, and Memory in Australia’s Wheatlands’, in Lindsay J. Proudfoot and Michael M. Roche, eds, (Dis)Placing Empire: Renegotiating British Colonial Geographies, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Aldershot, UK, 2005, pp. 41-59

 ‘Story Trees’, in Mandy Martin and Sarah Ryan, eds, The Lachlan: blue-gold, Environment Studio, National Institute of the Arts, Australian National University, Canberra, 2003

Kimberley Webber and Ian Hoskins with Joy McCann, What’s in Store? A History of Retailing in Australia, Powerhouse Publishing in association with the New South Wales Heritage Office, Sydney, 2003

‘Cultural Landscapes and ‘Designed Landscapes’, in Richard Aitken and Michael Looker, eds, The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic., 2002

‘The Central Highlands and Melbourne’s Water Supply, Victoria’ in Monuments and Sites Australia, published by Sri Lanka National Committee of ICOMOS for the International Council on Monuments and Sites, 1996

Victorian Steampower: An Illustrated Social History, Victoria Press and Scienceworks, Melbourne 1994

Women and parliament

(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

‘Unfinished Business: Women and the Republic’, in Mark McKenna and Benjamin Jones eds, Project Republic, Black Inc. Publishing, Collingwood, Vic., 2013

Representation of Women in Australian Parliaments 2014 (with Janet Wilson), Australian Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 9 July 2014

Electoral Quotas for Women: An International Overview, Australian Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 14 November 2013